The Data Chief | Episode 52

Prudential Financial’s CDO Kjersten Moody on Continuous Learning & Collaboration to Drive Impact with Data

Kjersten Moody

Chief Data Officer

Prudential Financial

Current EpisodeEP52: Prudential Financial’s CDO Kjersten Moody on Continuous Learning & Collaboration to Drive Impact with Data

Episode Overview

What does it take to turn a new position that never existed into one that delivers transformation for an entire organization? As the first Chief Data Officer at Prudential Financial and the initial Chief Data Analytics Officer at a prior career stop at State Farm, Kjersten Moody knows the answer. Tune in to learn how being a constant learner has consistently allowed her to see challenges as opportunities for growth.

Key Moments: 

  • 00:00: Getting to know Kjersten
  • 04:08: How did Kjersten’s role model influence her life and career?
  • 06:50: Kjersten’s career path
  • 12:55: When did Kjersten shift from more tech to data?
  • 17:51: Kjerten’s recommendation to work internationally
  • 22:02: What leadership lessons did Kjersten learn from her international experience?
  • 27:49: Kjersten as the initial CDAO at State Farm and first CDO at Prudential
  • 32:28: Prudential’s thinking differently about strategy and data
  • 36:19: The role a good culture can play to support transformation
  • 39:07: Did Kjersten know about the culture of openness at Prudential before joining?
  • 42:33: How has Kjersten elevated data science at Prudential? 
  • 45:49: How can data science help with underwriting?
  • 47:38: Meeting stakeholders in a place that’s helpful to them
  • 51:14: What’s next for Kjersten’s team?
  • 54:39: Lightning Round

Key Takeaways: 

What advantages are there in fostering learning throughout your life? (04:08)

Perhaps it is accurate to suggest that a “lifelong learner” is likely to become interested in challenges and overcoming them rather than being discouraged upon encountering them. It’s clear to see this characteristic has led to Kjersten’s success and is one for all of us to emulate.

What can be gained from an opportunity to work internationally? (15:43) 

Kjersten suggests she learned a great deal about the nuances of language and nonverbal communication in different cultures due to her international work experience. Someone else may have found cultural differences confusing and shied away from international work. Kjersten leans into these sorts of challenging experiences. We can all benefit from such an approach, where different cultures are experienced and appreciated, “preconceived notions” are broken down, and stronger, more compassionate character takes their place.

How does a cooperative culture help digital transformation? (36:18))

Change can be difficult at any institution. When an organization has an established culture that readily allows for change, however, these transformations can be much more achievable. Kjersten clearly describes how the cooperative culture at Prudential has set up the company to change and work together through any challenges that may arise.

How can data be used to drive change at a business? (49:33)

Data must be part of a comprehensive, unified strategy, where all relevant parties understand this data as a baseline to drive change. To help a company evolve, all stakeholders need to be at the table and work toward a singular purpose.

Key Quotes: 

I've always been personally very interested in the intersection of people, of business, and technology, which I think naturally leads one to a data career.

My family has always been very important and very influential [and] in particular, my father. He was the first person in his family to graduate from high school. And he went on to get a PhD from the University of Chicago in theoretical population genetics. So he was a professional mathematician. He was a professor, and… really from birth onwards, he instilled a sense of curiosity, which inevitably led to being a lifelong learner and – in many ways – challenger [and] believing that there are really no practical limits to the types of questions that could be asked or the opportunities that I could seek.

... People ask me the question, ‘should I think about an international work experience for myself and for my family?’ And without any hesitation, my answer is always ‘yes.’ It is not easy. If you do it right, you will be challenged with preconceived notions that you have.

… The cultural reflex is collaboration and partnership. And so when there are legitimate, very serious questions that need to be worked through, the culture supports that and there's a consistency to how the different roles and the different seats at the table in that conversation are approaching that same conversation together.

We're very careful to make sure that we're part of the business change program because that business change program is really bringing together all the components needed to deliver that business impact from data science, software engineering, risk compliance, [and] the HR dimension to it as well for kind of the people engaged in old processes and how they start to engage in new processes.



Kjersten Moody is the Chief Data Officer of Prudential Financial.  Her mission is to deliver leading data and analytics capabilities that will inform business strategy and contribute meaningfully to Prudential’s business results.

Kjersten has over twenty years of experience working with business teams and leaders to effectively use technology, data, and analytics to improve or transform businesses. As a member of the Prudential’s Global Technology Senior Leadership Team, she is responsible for Prudential’s enterprise data and analytics function.  This includes the enterprise data strategy, data management and governance, data and modeling platforms, master data management, automation, BI, and data science.

Kjersten holds a BA in Economics with Honors from the University of Chicago.”