Skip to content


11/13 – This isn’t goodbye…

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! The last day of the INFORMS Annual Meeting is here already. There’s a ton of stuff I didn’t have time to check out, but luckily attendees will have three extra months to explore the majority of the meeting’s content. This shooooould be enough to keep me busy until INFORMS holds more events, but I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s talk about my Friday schedule.

Attending yesterday’s presentation from Edelman Award winner, Intel, has inspired me to add the Wagner Prize winner’s presentation to my schedule for the day. The Wagner Prize “rewards quality and coherence of analysis used in practice”, and many of the past projects seem similar to what I’ve seen from Edelman Award finalists, albeit with more limited impact. For anyone working in practice, there’s a ton to learn from projects of this variety. On the business side we’re always looking for “case studies”, and each of these projects is effectively a case study. INFORMS does a great job selecting finalists for these awards.

My final #INFORMS2020 session will be Richard Tapia’s keynote, “Underrepresentation in STEM: A Danger to the Health of the Nation”. I was really happy to see that this made the list of plenaries and keynotes for the meeting, because it shows that the INFORMS community considers diversity, equity, and inclusion to be a genuine priority rather than an afterthought. I’m looking forward to hearing what Dr. Tapia has to say, and I hope to take away a few facts that will help me spread a message of inclusion in future conversations.

For anyone following along this week, I hope you had as much fun as I did! Thanks for joining me.

11/12 – Variety is the spice of life (and my Thursday schedule!)

The INFORMS Award Ceremony last night was fantastic! Congratulations to all of the award winners! I didn’t realize going in that they also planned to have Jorge Cham as a special guest, which was a great surprise. Luckily, I’ve set up my Thursday schedule to keep the excitement flowing (and it even features another INFORMS award winner, but we’ll get to that later).

I’m starting the day with what I expect will be a popular keynote, Linda Burtch’s “The New Normal? COVID-19’s Impact on the Analytics Landscape & Developing Trends”. It’s obvious that COVID-19 has profoundly changed our lives this year, but I thought it would be interesting to hear from an expert about how it has affected our space outside of what I’ve been able to pick up anecdotally.

After more time in the networking lounge, I’ll attend a technology workshop with JMP. Their advanced analytics software seems like it could be a difference maker for me in my role, so I thought it would be worthwhile to attend a demo to evaluate it further. The technical session I’ll be attending later also seemed relevant to my role, since globalized information systems are a necessity for the functioning of a large financial organization in the modern world.

Finally (told you I’d get to it later!), I’ll be attending the reprise of Intel’s Franz Edelman Award-winning project, “Intel Realizes $25 Billion by Applying Advanced Analytics from Product Architecture Design through Supply Chain Planning“. The title speaks for itself, and in my short time as an INFORMS member I’ve already started to become familiar with the prestige associated with the Edelman Award. Past winners and finalists have accomplished some truly incredible things. Should be a great day!

11/11 – Big night at the INFORMS Annual Meeting!

I’m happy to report that Tuesday evening’s keynote from Simon Lee, “What We Wish Application Engineers Knew About Analytics”, lived up to expectations! I was also able to ask a question in the chat at the end of the presentation about whether or not he believed it could be useful to set up a liaison between analytics and IT departments, particularly in large organizations. The idea is something I’d been thinking about suggestion at my organization, so it was great to hear feedback from a Chief Analytics Officer.

On 11/11, I’ll be starting off in the networking lounge. I’d been looking to set up a time to connect with people I’ve spoken to at the meeting, and the easiest spot seems to be the scheduled networking block starting at noon. I’ll also spend time checking out more booths in the exhibit halls and attend a few more sessions with topics that blur the lines between business and advanced analytics.  

And last but not least, the highlight of my Wednesday schedule, the INFORMS Award Ceremony. Because of the variety of awards being given, I think it will be an amazing chance to learn more about INFORMS as a whole. I’m also a competitive person, so I’ll be scouting out an award or two that I can add to my list of goals to accomplish as an INFORMS member. Don’t tell anyone though – it’s a secret!

11/10 – An intriguing keynote to break up technical sessions

My busy Monday is over! No regrets on the full schedule though – I think it helped make the meeting more immersive. I challenged myself to spend most of my time between sessions popping around the networking lounge, and between that and the WORMS Business Meeting, I now have a few people I plan to keep in contact with over the next year.

On Tuesday, my schedule is pretty similar to Monday’s. I’ll be networking and attending sessions on financial technology and business applications of machine learning before and after I watch Simon Lee’s keynote, “What We Wish Application Engineers Knew About Analytics”. Based on my experience working with a diverse group of financial analysts, economists, mathematics/statistics people, and computer programmers, this topic really resonated with me. I think my role sort of bridges the world of programming and analytics, and I thought this would be a great chance to learn about how other professionals are tackling the communication challenges inherent with interdisciplinary teams. The topic also hints at the debate in the OR/MR/analytics space about what our collective profession is called (or even whether it can truly be summarized by one term). Programming is not inherently analytics, but a significant amount of analytics in practice requires programming knowledge. I wasn’t necessarily expecting INFORMS to confront topics like these, but I’m glad for it – plus after some technically heavy sessions, a qualitative session should be a good change of pace. Let’s do it!

11/9 – Day one is in the books. Psyched to see what day two brings!

Wow, I had a great time at my first day of the INFORMS Annual Meeting, and I hope you did too. I think especially since it is my first INFORMS meeting, the virtual format seems pretty natural, and I thought the platforms and spaces provided an engaging experience. I would of course like the chance to meet people in person, but I’m glad I took a chance this year too.

For Monday’s schedule, I plan to start the day in the networking lounge. The half hour of scheduled networking where a bunch of people should be in the lounge seems like a good time to meet new people. I’m hoping to use that time to set up additional times to meet and chat with different people over the course of the week. Building out my session schedule (or “playlist”) should be doubly useful, since it makes it easy to know when I’ll be free for more networking.

Otherwise, I’ll be attending two sessions focused on technology and data analytics in the financial sector, followed my Elad Hazan’s keynote, “Optimization and Machine Learning”. I chose these sessions primarily because I hope I’ll be able to take concepts and ideas and apply them to my job – even if indirectly.

My final stop of the day will be the WORMS Business Meeting, where I hope to fulfill one of my main goals in attending #INFORMS2020, expanding my network of women in analytics. I’m happy that INFORMS offers opportunities like this Business Meeting, and I’m looking forward to discovering more about INFORMS’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion during my time as a member.

11/8 – My schedule for the opening day of #INFORMS2020

The day has finally arrived! I’m not totally sure what to expect from my first virtual meeting experience, but there seems to be a lot of worthwhile stuff to check out and the schedule is packed. To start to plan out my experience, I’ve made a rough itinerary and begun to add sessions to my session playlist, which I found after clicking through to “Sessions” from the meeting welcome page.

As I’d guess is true for a lot of other attendees, I want to make time to attend the official Welcome and the Opening Plenary with Sheldon Jacobson. It feels like the right way to start the meeting, and, as a new member, I’d like to hear from the INFORMS President.

I also planned to make time to check out the Exhibit Hall and see what sorts of different vendors are there. I’ve seen that there are Technology Workshops and Technology Tutorials on the schedule, so if I find vendors I’m interested in I plan to attend one of those sessions.

Finally, I’ve picked a technical session to attend: “Affecting operational change with data-driven models”. Given my interest in becoming an analytics leader in the financial sector, the subject matter felt very appropriate. Although I’m not sure I’ll be hearing a lot of case study material, I’m expecting the talks will give me good ideas for avenues to pursue on my own time after the conference ends. That’s why I’ve been excited for this event – in the era of COVID-19, it’s harder to be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. This should be a great way to connect with a huge pipeline of ideas and talent. Can’t wait!

11/6 – Excited to Attend My First INFORMS Annual Meeting

For those of you who have been following along, I’m happy to say that the week of #INFORMS2020 is finally here. Over the course of the meeting, I’ll be posting plenaries and keynotes, sessions, workshops, and other events that I plan to attend to my Twitter account (@izabel_informs). If any are of interest to you, I encourage you to attend as well – hopefully we can get some discussion going afterwards in the Networking Lounge. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter with any questions!

As someone relatively early in her career, I’ve decided on three main goals for the meeting. First, I want to understand where the advanced analytics field is headed in the longer term so I can start to plan my future in greater detail. The talks and sessions I’ll be attending should be a great start. Second, I want to understand what sort of technologies exist that could improve how we do business, particularly in the financial sector. In addition to the possibility of discovering ways to improve my organization’s analytics capabilities in the short term, understanding the boundaries of what’s currently possible allows us to differentiate between when emerging technologies offer significant breakthroughs vs. when they may underdeliver on promised benefits. I think developing this understanding will be important to my growth as a leader within my organization. Finally, I want to expand my network in the space. The WORMS Business Meeting sounds like a great chance to meet some inspiring #womeninSTEM, and I’ll be in the Networking Lounge when I’m not attending sessions. Although I am a proud Brazilian, especially when the World Cup comes around, I know I have a lot to learn from my peers around the world. Plus, you can never have too many friends 😊.

See everyone on Sunday!

[themify_hr width=”100%” color=”dark-gray”]

I’m 27 and I’m Associate Data Scientist at PREVI in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Help me by answering a couple of questions, then keep scrolling to learn a little more about me.

Skill set
Computer programming (C, R, Python), mathematical statistics, data visualization/storytelling

Personal Goals 
My immediate professional goal is to become a Project Lead. My division is called “Integrated Analytics” and is a subset of PREVI’s IT department. In the longer term, I have my sights set on building a reputation as a transformational leader in Brazil’s financial sector. Transformation for me means using analytics to bring the right information to the right people in real time.

2020 Annual Meeting Goals
I’m interested in comparing my current career progress with other analytics professionals to help define my goals going forward. Since my team is relatively new at our company and I want to move up in our team structure, I want to bring back ideas on how to improve our processes and show our value to our leadership. I’m also looking for how others have approached education and professional development and what others in the finance industry are seeing and thinking about right now.

I’m excited about the future of this profession and want to make sure I’m making the right steps forward for my career. Part of that is realizing how many subdisciplines exist within O.R. and analytics, the applications are nearly endless! I could potentially see myself branching away from the finance sector at some point but would want to explore where that might lead.

What’s hard right now?
Managing the desire to start a family with the desire to keep advancing professionally. This dissonance is particularly pronounced because I’m considering a master’s degree, which will make finances tighter, even without children in the mix. Because of this, I’m also considering if a professional certification could help advance my career at a lower cost than pursuing a degree.

Favorite color
Emerald green

What do you always have with you?
A black ballpoint pen. I writes notes on my arms, and, if I don’t have a pocket, I’ll just stick the pen in my hair.

Personal Motto
Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

I love Samba dancing, surfing, and lounging on the beaches whenever the weather lets me. When inside and not working, you’ll find me reading about current events and industry news or playing computer games.

Izabel stylized headshot

Join Me for 2020 Annual Meeting