ourPeople

  • Vishal Sharma
    Vishal Sharma Managing Principal

    Vish founded Sharma Strategy Group in 2010 leveraging his relevant mix of operational and strategy consulting experience.

    Prior to starting SSG, Vish spent 6+ years at The Boston Consulting Group, which he left as a Principal to lead operational and financial improvements at Clear Channel as SVP, Strategic Initiatives. Before that, he dreamed of working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    Overall his work has spanned analysis within Consumer Goods, Tech, Media, Telecom and Travel. He has deep experience across multiple functional areas including corporate and international strategy, operational effectiveness, retail performance enhancement, sales force effectiveness, consumer insight and strategic sales process improvement. But he has yet to get to count down an actual rocket launch.

    The space age’s loss is our gain as Vish applies the mind of a rocket scientist to our client’s needs.

    Vish holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where he was elected an Edward Tuck Scholar. He also holds a BE from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi where he graduated at the top of his class.

  • Diana Hartford
    Diana Hartford Managing Principal

    Diana leads SSG’s Innovation Practice leveraging her broad-based experience in strategy and operations and her deep expertise in design-based consumer goods innovation. She is also a Culinary Institute of America Certified Chef. That means she can find solutions, create innovation and whip up something to make your mouth water.

    Prior to SSG, Diana spent 10+ years in Food & Beverage global at Darden and PepsiCo so she knows all the things that people love to eat. As Director of Brand Innovation at Pepsico she was at the cutting edge of the newest and most delicious food trends and developments. With her experience in emerging markets she quickly became a CPG specialist for BRIC and Turkey. She has been a sought after CPG innovation consultant ever since.

    It’s no surprise that Diana takes her food seriously. It’s a passion she now shares with her infant son, who is quickly becoming a foodie in his own right.

    Diana received a B.S. in biology and psychology from Boston University and holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. These, combined with her certification from the Culinary Institute, means she can innovate and evaluate at level you’ve never seen and will also make you something to eat when you’re not looking.

  • Amy Haller
    Amy Haller Chief Operating Officer

    Amy brings a wealth of experience to her role as Senior Principal and Chief Operating Officer. She also brings a love of ABBA. We didn’t have that before.

    Before joining SSG, Amy spent almost 20 years at Deloitte Consulting issue-to-impact development and execution for Fortune 100 accounts in retail, consumer and industrial products, technology, and oil & gas markets.

    Amy received her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and might be a time traveler as she woke up on August 5, 2002 in both Auckland and Hawaii. She claims this was due to the International Date Line, but we remain hopeful she will one day fess up and teach us the secrets of space-time.

    Amy has chaired the North Texas chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention since 2013 and has been a member of the Dallas Mayor’s Star Council and Leadership Texas.

    One time she hit Martina Navratilova.
    So, tread lightly.

  • Arup Bhattacharjee
    Arup Bhattacharjee Senior Principal

    Arup joins SSG with a lot of experience under his belt and a lot of miles behind the wheel. In one summer alone he spent 4200 miles on the road with his family touring the United States National Park system. In between this epic road trip and other adventures in Galapagos and Patagonia, he served as VP in Fidelity Investments’ workplace retirement business. There he designed and implemented a new 401k offering for Fidelity’s Financial Advisors.

    Prior to his position at Fidelity, Arup worked for BCG across multiple industries including telecom, hospitality and the public sector working on large-scale business transformation and cost optimization problems.

    He brings a passion for product strategy, operations strategy and product management as well as a desire to discover a way to enjoy the most satisfying meal while consuming the least number of calories. He refers to this as the ultimate optimization problem and is determined to solve it no matter how many meals it takes him. Arup is also an expert at customer experience and growth strategy, business transformation and creating stories to share with his young son and daughter.

    Arup’s drive and determination make him an invaluable part of SSG and we are happy to have him as part of the team.

  • Vivek Narasimhan
    Vivek Narasimhan Senior Principal

    Vivek is a Principal with years of consulting experience in strategy development and execution. He has worked across multiple sectors including Consumer Goods, Tech, Telecom, Energy and Financial Services. He’s also ridden across India and the Himalayas on a motorcycle so it would be best not to complain about being stuck in traffic around him.

    Consumer analytics and interpretation come naturally to Vivek and he enjoys studying demand across varying geographies and categories to unlock insights hidden deep in the data. Aligning these findings and crafting implementation strategies with Marketing and Commercial leads has enabled him to help some of the world’s largest brands.

    Prior to SSG, Vivek was a Manager with Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy and Operations practice with a focus on business model transformation, cost reduction and process optimization. He has previously worked with Altman Vilandrie & Co. and Ernst & Young. Then he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

    Vivek holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and continues to perform volunteer work in Africa.

  • Tanya Thomas
    Tanya Thomas Principal

    Tanya leads large strategy consulting projects at Consumer Good clients employing her expertise in analytics, demand science, consumer experience and more. Tanya also moves, on average, once a year. She has lived and worked all over the globe, from India to Singapore and all across the US.

    Perhaps it is the ever-changing view that helps Tanya analyze global consumer data with a fresh perspective and glean insights that others missed. By answering the question “What do consumers really want?” Tanya has found new ways to let the data speak. This combination of analytics and her deep Demand Science expertise has helped unearth pragmatic solutions for many global brands.

    Prior to SSG, Tanya worked as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) with Consumer Goods, Tech and Telecom clients. Previously, Tanya was a software engineer at the German firm Continental Automotive based in Singapore, where she managed the development of automotive platforms for clients.

    Tanya holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (B. Eng.) from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and is probably really good at packing.

  • Kirsten Myers
    Kirsten Myers Principal

    Kirsten is a marketing leader with more than 15 years of brand strategy, innovation and consumer insights experience in the consumer packaged goods, restaurant and retail industries. In her role as principal at SSG she manages consumer strategy, organizational design, innovation strategy, ideation and concept development, and research analytics. At home, she manages two children where she is constantly innovating new strategies to keep them organized and entertained.

    Kirsten’s marketing career has included roles as Director of Marketing at Frito Lay, Brand Manager at Darden Restaurants and Director of Consumer Insights at Yankelovich Partners. As an innovation and consumer insight expert, she recently helped a major consumer brand generate $75MM in topline growth and enter into new sub-categories and store aisles.

    Kirsten received her MBA from the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, and her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Miami University.

  • Stan Cavin
    Stan Cavin Principal

    Stan possesses a wealth of consulting experience in CPG, Foodservice, Retail and Tech and, as a principal at SSG, he works closely with clients to drive sales growth and commercial excellence through sales force effectiveness, price optimization, customer profitability and bid modeling, among others. This sounds like Stan has a lot of balls in the air but juggling these tasks is child’s play compared to raising four children.

    Prior to SSG, Stan served as a senior manager in A.T. Kearney’s Retail and CPG practice where he helped fortune 100 clients with strategy, operational improvement and corporate restructuring projects across marketing, store operations, supply chain and procurement functions. He also previously served in business development and project engineer positions at Vector Cantech, Inc., and as a research scientist at NovoDynamics, Inc.

    Stan believes in metrics that matter and can also help you build Finance capabilities by bridging the gap between analytics and technology implementation. On top of all this he coaches his daughter’s basketball team.

    Stan holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan, where he also received Masters and Bachelors degrees in Computer Engineering. Wish him luck. Two of those kids are twins. That’s a special kind of tired.

  • Scott Strang
    Scott Strang Senior Project Leader

    Innovation strategy, organizational transformations, robot boats and getting dogs to point at things on a competitive level — is there anything Scott can’t do?

    A man of many talents, Scott uses his extensive knowledge and understanding of consumer demand to hunt through the weeds and flush out solutions for his clients every day. Then, every night, he goes home and teaches his dogs to do the same thing.

    As someone who once spent time in an MIT lab researching and designing an autonomous kayak, it may come as little surprise that he is also a natural when it comes to shining a light on R&D insights.

    Scott also uses his diverse set of abilities to aid clients with innovation strategy, organizational transformation and finance design.

    But can he climb a mountain? Of course, he can. After viewing the mountains while hiking through Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Dolomites, Alps and Glacier National Park, he figured the next logical step was to climb them. So, he did.

    It doesn’t matter if you need a business problem solved or a boat that will row itself across the lake to teach a dog to climb a mountain, Scott brings his knowledge and passion to every project he encounters.

  • Andrew Koff
    Andrew Koff Project Leader

    Andrew joins Sharma directly out of MIT where he earned his Masters degree. His Master Thesis was titled Tip Clearance Effects on Multistage Axial Compressor Performance and Flow Structure for Small Core Compressor Application. He is also an exceptional bowler.

    The first time he bowled, he broke his arm. But then he got better. He currently holds the record for the youngest person to ever bowl a 299 in addition to 3 World Championship titles and 26 medals in international competition as a member of Team USA.

    Andrew is passionate about leveraging multidisciplines and out-of- the-box thinking to solve problems and make an impact and is looking forward to applying his engineering and technical thinking to problems in different industries. And most likely getting a few frames in between all that.

  • Aaron Zarenczanski
    Aaron Zarenczanski Project Leader

    Aaron comes to us by way of New Mexico, Brazil, Saipan and Neverland.

    As a child, the movie Hook ignited a passion in him for TV and movies. His interest quickly grew beyond the Peter Pan tale to include international films including the Italian film 8 ½ which we hadn’t heard of either.

    Aaron chased the dream to Hollywood by pursuing a career in the industry where he became a producer and executive of development and strategy with a production company working on such titles as Return of the Living Dead.

    But one day, he started to missed the structure of the professional world and he realized that he had to leave Rufio and the other Lost Boys behind and follow his other passion. So, along with degrees from Insper in Sao Paulo and UCLA, he has brought his cinematic creativity to SSG.

    Aaron also enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding and sleeping under the stars.

    Just like a true Lost Boy.

    Bangarang!

  • Sara Ding
    Sara Ding Project Leader

    Hailing from Beijing & Changsha, Sara has constantly fed her craving for knowledge. This had given her both a breadth of knowledge and a fondness for Batman. Much like her favorite super hero, Sara is always looking to improve knowledge and physical skills.

    In between her time at USC and her graduate studies she served several internships to optimize her learning and indulge her curiosity. This experience led her to choose the management science and engineering program at Stanford combining quantitative analysis, technical skills and qualitative insights.

    She’s passionate about problem solving and loves applying her skills to provide clients with solutions. Her other passions include running and performing on the stage as well as volunteer work with the homeless and children. Her latest personal goal is to learn how to skateboard and, possibly, secretly fight crime.

  • Cristina Logg
    Cristina Logg Associate Project Leader

    Cristina joins us from the beaches of California by way of the State Department. She holds a Masters in City Planning from MIT, an MA in conflict resolution from Georgetown, and a BA in international affairs from George Washington. If you find yourself in a heated argument about which train you’re supposed to take in London, she’s the one you want around.

    Cristina’s time at the State Department involved processing Freedom of Information requests and generally safeguarding our liberties so we’re pretty sure she can keep a secret. Her talents include Statistical Analysis, Data Visualization, petting cats and throwing ceramics. She is not a fan of throwing cats or petting ceramics and she wanted us to make sure we got that last bit right.

    In addition to creative problem solving and a desire to help her clients, Cristina brings a passion for street food, Old Fashioneds, and the Northern California ocean.

    So if you’re looking for where to get the best baked potato with a cup of vin chaud in Paris, the freshest sautéed noodles with smoked pork and chili sauce in Singapore or the tastiest Old Fashioned in Boston, Cristina is the one to talk to.

  • Yi Liu
    Yi Liu Associate Project Leader

    World travel. High finance. Fashion school. Yi’s life reads like a tale out of Hollywood. His passions and pursuits have taken him around the world from China to Canada to MIT. He’s also studied in Paris and LA and worked in Vancouver, NYC and Tel Aviv and immersed himself in dozens of cultures.

    Prior to discovering his passion for management consulting and joining us here at SSG, Yi was focused on finance and fine art.  His art skills took him to fashion school and even prompted him to study and perform improv. He has the skills, talent, and experience to find creative solutions for our clients and probably be a super spy.

    He’s called some of the world’s greatest cities his home, loves to ski, designed a costume that fits into any number of cultures and come up with a story at the drop of a suggestion from a hat. He also loves to ski. So, yeah, we’re definitely thinking super spy here.

  • WENDY YU
    WENDY YU Senior Associate

    She’s lived in some the world’s busiest cities. She graduated from Cornell. She’s forgotten more about baby yogurt than most of us will ever know. How does Wendy find a balance to all this craziness? Vinyasa yoga. So, if she ever seems bent out of shape, know that she did that on purpose.

    While Wendy’s true passion lies in teaching, branding and studying CPG trends we also know that she won’t say no to some time on the slopes or a chance to review a new restaurant on Yelp.

    In the past, Wendy has put her passion and skills to work for Hain Celestial, Kantar Consulting and Four Seasons. And since joining SSG, we’ve watched her bend over backwards to solve problems for our clients. She calls it Arda Baddah padmottanasana. We call it dedication.

  • Ankur Gupta
    Ankur Gupta Senior Associate

    Ankur is SSG’s Intercontinental Champion. He began his quest for the title by collecting degrees from India, Sweden and finally Cornell in the US. In addition to this sweep, he’s lived in South Africa and climbed Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro and several mountains in the Himalayas.

    His hobbies include running marathons, guitar, squash, brewing his own beer and the study of behavioral economics. And, while he is currently only a novice saxophone player, he possesses both a masters of public administration and a masters of environmental engineering and sustainable infrastructure.

    Ankur enjoys using his skills and talents to find creative solutions for clients so feel free to ask him for an innovative solution, hot licks, a cool solo, a quick run or a cold beer that could really mess with your head.

  • Phoebe Jiang
    Phoebe Jiang Senior Associate

    With a passion for ancient civilizations and an affinity for modern science, Phoebe swears to us she won’t use her knowledge to build a time machine. While we realize that’s exactly what someone who was building a time would say, we are thankful she brought her skills to Sharma.

    Phoebe’s desire to become a scientist and healthcare worker brought her from her home in Guangzhou to the US where she studied Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy. During her studies she researched Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and totally not how to build a time machine to visit Ancient Egypt she swears.

    Phoebe soon fell in love with consulting when she was introduced to case practicing at Northwestern University while pursuing her Masters. After that, she never looked back. We’re excited to have her here at Sharma where her skills in business process improvement, data analytics, opportunity assessment and more can be put to use serving our clients and not threatening the space time continuum.

  • Pallavi Geethika
    Pallavi Geethika Senior Associate

    Despite Destiny’s Childs’ mother, Destiny’s, advice, Pallavi loves hiking in search of waterfalls. One of her current goals is to visit all 63 major National Parks in the near future. This means that she’s always looking for a ride to the next one on her list.

    Pallavi loves a good road trip and makes a great passenger. She can carry on a conversation in 6 languages, sing classical Indian songs or play the movie quote game for miles on end.

    She earned her Economics degree from the University of Chicago and still resides in the city. When she’s not out shirking Beyonce’s words of wisdom, she’s sticking to the rivers and the lakes that she’s used to. She spends her time exploring Chicago and cataloguing the best coffee shops, restaurants, bookshops and live music venues the city has to offer.

  • Jessica Cheng
    Jessica Cheng Senior Associate

    Economist. Consultant. Chameleon? Jessica Cheng has always been adaptable.

    Before Covid, you could find her enjoying the view from the top of a mountain or crossing streams while hiking through nature. She enjoyed jet skiing in Mexico or praying at a temple in Japan while travelling the world. But when Covid changed everything, she quickly pivoted and took her hobbies indoors.

    She traded Mountain climbing and hiking through rivers for baking bread. She scaled the greats like Mt. Sourdough and Ciabatta Peak. She traded Jet Skiing in Mexico and praying at temples in Japan for coffee tasting and found thrills and relaxation in caffeine’s warm embrace. And she traded traveling the world for not traveling the world—just like everyone else.

    This extraordinary flexibility is just one of the many skills Jessica brings to her work at Sharma. With her degree in economics from the University of Chicago, a CAMP certification and years of experience, Jessica is ready to put her passion to work for our clients.

  • Shannon Kollasch
    Shannon Kollasch Associate

    You might find Shannon dancing in a ballroom, playing violin in Chicago’s Chinatown, or hard at work at a non-profit to decrease educational inequality. Her energy is endless. Is this some weird mad science type side effect from her time at Northwestern University where she was working on sustainable energy? Probably.

    This new secret form of energy has helped her in her passion for growing organizations and helping them operate better. In college she grew her cooking class from 10 to 250, developed mentorship avenues in her materials science club, all while testing new methods for creating high-performance solid oxide fuel cells and watching parakeet videos.

    Shannon brings that same boundless energy to her work at Sharma helping clients solve problems, optimize processes, grow their business, or work on their salsa.

    As long as she uses her powers for good, her secret is safe with us.

  • Defne Talu
    Defne Talu Associate

    Armed with a degree from the University of Chicago, Defne has hunted terrorists, is handy with a sword, and recently started weightlifting. That is why we ask that nobody make any sudden moves.

    Defne’s past takes her from Turkey and New York to fencing state champion and beyond. Along the way she’s learned four languages, developed a passion for baking, and played three years of professional volleyball. She has used her skills to aid banks, consulting groups, and even did some instructing of her own while at the University of Chicago. This includes working with the World Bank on how to apply economic tools to the fight against terrorism.

    With a toolbox that includes an expertise in épées, a flair for finance and a simply wicked serve, Defne is a welcome asset to the Sharma team and one that we are all extra especially nice to—just in case.

     

  • Sergio Castillo
    Sergio Castillo Associate

    Man of action. Volunteer. Chesapeake Bay Retriever wrangler. Sergio’s winding path to SSG includes time in the OR and more than a few ambulance rides.

    With his eyes set on working at the UN, Sergio began his education in political science and business administration. But, once he began working as an EMT, he turned his focus to emergency medicine and studied neurobiology, biochemistry, virology at the University of Pennsylvania. He even spent time in the OR assisting an oculoplastic surgeon.

    Soon after he took his passion for business to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business where he double majored in Management Studies and “Science, Technology, engineering and Mathematics.”

    All of this means that Sergio knows how the consumer mind works. And, if it’s not working, he can peek inside and see why.

  • Alex Sharma
    Alex Sharma Social Director

    Alexander Hartford Sharma has joined SSG as the group’s social director and CMO (Chief Mischief Officer). Alex was born into the business and has already shown the extreme curiosity and concentration required to develop sound strategy. He also enjoys banging on keyboards.

    A social butterfly from Day 1, Alex has always had the ability to put people at ease and make them smile. And, even though Grandmas are his favorite, he has a smile for everyone.

    A foodie at heart, he loves strawberries and refuses to eat salmon unless it is accompanied with curry as nature intended. A frequent flier, Alex has traveled extensively and already dined at a Michelin starred restaurant. About the only thing he loves more than his food, is a ride in the great outdoors in the Baby Bjorn with Vish.

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