#47 LPL Financial’s Cara Dailey on Data Enablement and Balancing Data Defense with Offense

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With every passing year, a new batch of data tools comes available, and a new crop of data professionals enters the job market. The Chief Data Officer has evolved into a position that acts both on the offensive and defensive sides of these changes. Our guest today, Cara Dailey, the EVP, and CDO at LPL Financial has helped shape and define the role of data leaders in the C-suite as she’s moved through her career. Her experiences at companies like Nike, Bank of the West, and Silicon Valley Bank have led her to embody a spirit of data enablement – rather than governance. She also begs the question, “Is all data created equal?” Tune in to find out on this episode of The Data Chief.

Key Takeaways

  • Great CDOs balance offense and defense. Primarily, the role of the CDO started with the idea that organizations needed someone focused on protecting the data, keeping it safe and secure. Now, as the world has evolved, so has the role. Modern data leaders need to also be able to impact their organization by bringing value through performance data analytics for clients, customers, and employees. Cara posits that it’s not enough to simply protect; you must also ask yourself what are you actively contributing?
  • Focus on data enablement. The best data executives can think of themselves as part of a data enablement forum, inviting a collaborative attitude in the increasingly important world of data governance. Make it such an integral part of the program you’re creating as the data leader. Think of yourself and your team as the data glue that holds the organization together.
  • Not all data is created equal. While data is a powerful tool for decision-making, it’s important to remember not all data needs to or even should be valued the same. In highly regulated environments, absolute accuracy may be required. But for internal use cases like improving a product or process, directional indicators are just as good.



Cara Dailey is executive vice president and chief data officer, Business Development. In this role, Ms. Dailey is responsible for the firm’s enterprise data and analytics capabilities. This will include an enterprise data & analytics  strategy, a robust data governance and data product management function focused on delivering data internally  and externally to fuel growth objectives and continue to bring advanced analytics capabilities to our advisors and  employees in a scalable way. 

Most recently, Ms. Dailey served as chief data officer at Silicon Valley Bank. In that role, she was responsible for  the enterprise’s data strategy and the implementation of data and analytics capabilities. Prior to that, Ms. Dailey was head of Nike’s enterprise data management where she was responsible for driving company-wide enterprise  data strategy. She has also held high-level positions at BNP Paribas (Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank),  GE Capital, and Oracle, giving her a broad perspective into foundational data and analytics capabilities, the  business outcomes it drives and modern toolsets, as well as the people who use them.  

Ms. Dailey earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Computer Science at  Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She is also an advisory board member to the Women’s Business  Collaborative (WBC), which is focused on the advancement of female leaders and achieving gender and diversity  parity.Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Cara on The Data Chief


Episode 50