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Paula E. Payton


A behavioral scientist, Paula Payton is an expert at harvesting consumer and market insights from data to shape better product, digital, and retail experiences. As a faculty member with Columbia University's School of Professional Studies’ Applied Analytics degree program, she teaches Analytics + Leading Change, as well as the Integrated Capstone project, the culminating educational experience for students in the program. Her research interests concern generating behaviorally anchored insights and developing executable strategies for organizations to reach and serve their consumers. Payton is currently spearheading global research on how enhanced organizational agility in data-driven retail companies drives sustained financial performance.

Payton’s work uncovering market trends, emerging technologies, and behavioral shifts have been leveraged by retail, fashion and consumer goods companies. She has consulted for companies such as Arcadia, Luxottica, Walgreens, Best Buy, Dollar General, H. E. Butt Grocery, Buehler’s, Sprint, Intercontinental Group of Department Stores, Cisco, Intel, Avon, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Pepperidge Farm, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, S. C. Johnson, British Airways, and General Electric. Most recently, she has been part of the senior leadership team of a tech start-up, commercializing innovative technologies and new data streams to positively impact health and wellness.

Payton has held key roles in higher education as an administrator, researcher, and instructor. She has taught executive, graduate, and undergraduate courses for INSPER Institute of Education + Research (Såo Paolo, Brazil), Lundgren Center for Retailing (University of Arizona), Kelley School of Business (Indiana University), and New York University School of Professional Studies (NYU-SPS). As a former academic director of NYU-SPS’ Strategic Communication, Marketing, and Media Management Department, she was responsible for all integrated marketing, public relations/corporate communication, and media management graduate degrees and programs, bringing her background in consumer insight, digital innovation, and brand strategy to bear upon the position. Prior, she worked in senior staff and consulting roles for at-retail marketing (POPAI) and retail/consumer goods (RILA) trade associations, where she co-chaired marketing and innovation working groups of senior executives in the industry. She began her career at an agency, using marketplace and consumer insight to help Fortune 100 companies build brands and customer experiences profitably.

In addition to earning a B.A. and M.A., Payton has completed postgraduate diplomas in marketing strategy (Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management), and data science (Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health). She is currently studying operations and digital supply chain management through MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • B.A., University of Vermont