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The team behind Wharton People Analytics' 10th annual conference on March 29 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia (Photo from Wharton People Analytics).

Wharton People Analytics hosted its 10th annual conference discussing topics such as algorithmic bias and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The conference was held on March 29 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. Wharton People Analytics is a research center at Wharton that focuses on how human analytics can apply to the workplace.

The event’s speakers featured a diverse group of industry experts, researchers, and academics, who discussed the future of people analytics. David Pottruck Professor of Management and Deputy Dean of The Wharton School Nancy Rothbard delivered the opening remarks. 

“The program helped to serve individuals and organizations alike," the executive director of Wharton People Analytics, Laura Zarrow, said. "The attendees could come away with things that could impact their day-to-day work, their wellbeing, their approach to leadership and decision making, their practice of people analytics — but also inform how organizations can help make work better for employees."

The event was organized by Zarrow alongside Wharton People Analytics faculty co-directors Matthew Bidwell and Cade Massey. They worked in conjunction with the Wharton People Analytics student leadership team, led by second-year Wharton MBA student and conference chair Courtney Elliott.

Zarrow added that a recurring theme throughout the day was the question of how to handle algorithms and artificial intelligence responsibly. The main change from past conferences, aside from being back in person, was that the event had been scaled back to be a more intimate experience. 

The event included special networking lunch events, and Zarrow said it was exciting to see attendees engaged in the process of connecting with each other. Key speakers at the event included former Vice President for People Analytics at Google Prasad Setty, Senior Vice President of Research & Analytics at Slack Christina Janzer, and Vice President of HR Business Insights at Microsoft Dawn Klinghoffer.

The conference also featured a case competition and white paper competition, with the winners of each competition presenting at the conference. 

Wharton People Analytics partnered with Teach for America for the case competition, with the winning team winning a share of a $25,000 cash prize and having the opportunity to present at the conference. This year, the winners were University of Southern California Marshall M.S. in business analytics students, Seongyeong Park, Chaiyapuk Titinanapun, Pooja Gotur Sathyanarayana, and Prerna Sanjay Kothari.

“People analytics is a niche area, a new area in the analytics market, so for me it was a really wonderful experience to network with the people there," Park, a member of the winning team, said. "I could meet someone who used to work at Google, someone from Slack — I met a lot of people who are doing people analytics in a different industry."

Titinanapun said the case competition was on Teach for America’s recruitment process. Applicants were provided with an organizational question and a dataset and then tasked with deriving the most innovative and impactful insights. 

Park also said that she enjoyed getting feedback from those with many years of experience in the field and appreciated having the opportunity to learn from those at the conference. 

In addition, the white paper competition was an opportunity for researchers to offer insights into advancing practices within the greater analytics community. The winners were University of Washington professor Heather Whiteman and cofounder and CEO of Performica Alex Furman, who also presented at the conference.