Learn More About Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio
Organizations have access to more data than ever before. But knowing more about customers and employees doesn’t always make it any easier for leaders to make decisions. How can leaders improve their talent and innovation processes using the data already at their fingertips?
Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio (pronounced “CHECK-ee dee-MEG-lee-oh”), a prominent expert in behavioral and data science, leadership and inclusivity, says, “Leaders require data to illuminate the path ahead, because without data, uncertainty can rattle the business and bring decision-making to a halt.” With over two decades of experience in big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and a deep expertise of the interplay between race, gender and leadership, she emphasizes, “Data gives a solid foundation to help leaders identify and select opportunities, build consensus, break silos, and wire their businesses for agile, optimal centers of talent and innovation.”
Cecchi-Dimeglio serves as the co-founder and Faculty Chair of the Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minority Attorneys at Harvard Law School and holds the position of Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Center on the Legal Profession. Leveraging her expertise, she guides organizations in forming decision-making tactics that are rooted in facts and inclusive by design.
The founder of People Culture Drive Consulting group (PCD Consulting), a strategic data-driven and behavioral-science consulting firm with offices in the U.S, Europe and the U.K, focusing on improving organizations’ decision-making processes to level the playing field, Cecchi-Dimeglio is truly an “architect of data.” Having partnered with Fortune 500 companies, governments and large non-profits, across the world to design and implement behavioral interventions, foster inclusive leadership and create truly diverse teams, she blends academic rigor and practical experience to holistically analyze the data available to an organization. After identifying patterns and barriers that exist in the data, leaders are equipped to confidently construct new processes that align with strategy. These procedures are designed to flex and scale no matter how the business environment changes, providing a sure path forward into an unclear future.
“When you’re strategically moving a company into the next 30 years, you need to understand the data in front of you in order to ensure that your employees’ decisions are leading to the outcomes you want,” explains Cecchi-Dimeglio, whose Forbes column provides essential guidance on leadership strategy, communication and AI. “Decision is a compounding effect, so collectively, you’ll get better decisions over time.”
Cecchi-Dimeglio’s frameworks leverage scientific insights and data, showcasing the potency of nudging in strategic problem-solving and leadership decisions. She sheds light on nuanced cues that employers can use, promoting positive employee actions that align with company goals. An inventor who holds several patents for software and SAAS tools that help de-bias performance reviews, her scalable strategies directly tie results to tracked data, instead of “gut feelings,” taking the weight of decision-making off leaders’ shoulders and giving them confidence as they move forward. Cecchi-Dimeglio offers advice for leaders to create their journey to success.
Safely Leveraging AI for Inclusive Decision-Making
As the co-founder and Faculty Chair of the Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minority Attorneys at Harvard Law School and affiliated faculty at Harvard Kennedy School, Cecchi-Dimeglio has a long track record of helping organizations harness the power of data to foster inclusivity. This is on full display in her new book, “Diversity Dividend: The Transformational Power of Small Changes to Debias Your Company, Attract Diverse Talent, Manage Everyone Better and Make More Money” (MIT Press, September 2023), which takes a systemic approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, breaking down the “people life cycle” in organizations and providing science-backed solutions that drive successful DEI outcomes. Called a “game-changer” by renowned leadership expert Amy Edmondson, it’s received high praise from business leaders, academics and lawyers, including executive board members of Shell, London Stock Exchange, the World Bank and the UN. Elizabeth L. Hillman, President & CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum says, “Read this tour de force to learn everything from AI,” and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, member of the Board of Directors of Estée Lauder Companies, The Economist Group, Bronfman E.L. Rothschild LP and Christies International, recognizes, “Paola’s book is full of actionable insights for leaders seeking to enhance innovation, productivity, and employee satisfaction.”
Tackling one pain point at a time – from hiring and recognition to the pay gap and promotions – Cecchi-Dimeglio describes the interventions and experiments organizations can use to effectively “de-bias” their real-world and AI systems, retain a diverse student body in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action, and raise the presence of women and underrepresented groups in tech.
“Businesses often rely on AI to de-bias their hiring processes, but we cannot simply delegate to algorithms and hope for the best,” Cecchi-Dimeglio warns. “While blatant algorithm bias sometimes makes the news, most of the discrimination carried out by algorithm-fed AI never gets on anyone’s radar. Ethical oversight of emerging and experimental tech calls for better ‘teaching’ and testing of these consequential tools. Everything is new, but novelty cannot excuse the bias.”
Empowering and encouraging, Cecchi-Dimeglio helps leaders move their organization into a future where decisions are informed by data, biases are minimized, and all employees feel invited to contribute their best ideas. Always looking ahead, she offers sound advice to visionary leaders:
“Buckle up! You’re going to be amazed by what AI has coming.”
Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, Ph.D., is an award-winning expert on behavioral and data science, Big Data & AI, leadership and strategy, gender and diversity, and the legal profession. She serves as faculty Chair of the Executive Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minority Attorneys (ELRIWMA), which under her leadership has become a leading research initiative on diversity research and interventions since she co-founded it in 2014 at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School, in the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP).
Cecchi-Dimeglio has authored over 60 articles, which have appeared in leading scholarly journals and the popular press, and has published several books, including “International Franchising” and her new book, “Diversity Dividend.” Her research has been featured in Business Insider, Harvard Business Review (HBR), MIT Sloan Management Review, The American Lawyer, and at legal websites, including Bloomberg Law and Thomson Reuters Legal. She has been cited in numerous newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times and the Washington Post.
Cecchi-Dimeglio is a monthly contributor to Forbes (Forbes.com). For three years, she was a columnist for Thomson Reuters, writing on AI/Big Data and gender and diversity, as well as “Dear Dr. Paola,” a monthly column. Her research and articles have won awards from federal agencies and others, including an award from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for her behavioral and data visualization tools, and the 2017 Azbee Awards of Excellence National Winners.
She has advised the U.S., E.U. and U.K. governments, and the U.N. and the World bank on various topics related to her expertise. More recently, she has advised the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on AI and Algorithmic Fairness and on its HIRE Initiatives. She is the chair of the Metaverse Focus Group of the International Telecommunication Union for the U.N.
In addition to her work in academia, Cecchi-Dimeglio founded and is heading People Culture Drive Consulting Group (PCD Consulting) a strategic data-driven and behavioral-science consulting firm with offices in the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. She has advised leading tech companies, Fortune 50 and 500 Companies, non-profit organizations and global law firms around the world on improving their strategic planning, decision-making, talent strategy and data planning.
Cecchi-Dimeglio serves as a non-profit board member for the Behavioral Insight Institute and the Heart Fund, organizations that support access to health care, education and legal services. She is also a senior advisor to the European Association of Judges for Mediation (GEMME).
Cecchi-Dimeglio earned a J.D., LL.M., M.Sc., and a Magistére-DJCE degree in Common and Civil Law. She also has two Ph.Ds. in Social & Economic Sciences (Summa Cum Laude), which involved study at universities in France, Belgium and the U.S. (Stanford University). She has held a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School. Before joining Harvard, she practiced law for Landwell & Associés (now PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.) and Baker & McKenzie.
Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, a renowned behavioral and data scientist and lawyer, is a leading expert on leadership, inclusivity and harnessing AI and Big Data. With a solid track record in guiding organizations through the complex world of data-driven decision-making, Cecchi-Dimeglio helps leaders navigate uncertainty by leveraging data for agile innovation and talent management. As a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Center on the Legal Profession and co-founder of the Leadership Research Initiative for Women and Minority Attorneys at Harvard Law School, she advises on creating scalable strategies rooted in facts and inclusive by design. Founder of People Culture Drive Consulting group (PCD Consulting) a strategic data-driven and behavioral-science consulting firm with offices in the U.S., Europe, and the U.K., her visionary thinking equips leaders for a future where decisions are unbiased, informed by data, and where everyone contributes their best ideas. Her expertise is vital for organizations looking to step into a future where decisions are informed by data, biases are minimized, and innovation thrives. Topics include, but are not limited to:
- Safely Leveraging AI for Inclusive Decision-Making
- Becoming the Architect of Your Organization’s Data
- Building Data-Informed Decision-Making Skills Organization-Wide
- Harnessing Strategic Nudges for Organizational Success
- Best Practices for De-Biasing AI Systems