AIDA is governed by a Board of Directors. The directors are elected by the members in accordance to our bylaws.

2024 Board of Directors

In alphabetical order of their first name.

Atanas Iliev

Atanas Iliev is passionate about exploring. Exploring innovative AI and data platforms, as well as prompt engineering. In 2023, he joined the AIDA User Group and started providing weekly updates for the group. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2024, and the group newsletter was launched. He is member of Open Data Contract Standard (ODCS) at the Linux Foundation project Bitol and part of the Technical Steering Committee.

Before diving to data and AI, Atanas gained over 10 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, working for some of the largest companies in Europe and worldwide. During this time, he supported the technical teams with the requirements of both residential and business customers.

In his free time, he enjoys travelling with his wife and children. They love spending time together in nature. He currently resides in Berlin, Germany.

Jean-Georges "jgp" Perrin

Jean-Georges Perrin

Jean-Georges “jgp” Perrin is the chief innovation officer at AbeaData, focusing on building innovative and modern data tooling. He is also chair of the Open Data Contract Standard (ODCS) at the Linux Foundation project Bitol, president of AIDA User Group, and author of multiple books, including Implementing Data Mesh (O’Reilly) and Spark in Action, 2nd edition (Manning). He is passionate about software engineering and all things data.

His latest endeavors bring him to more and more data engineering, data governance, industrialization of data science, and his favorite theme, Data Mesh. He is proud to have been recognized as a Lifetime IBM Champion, a PayPal Champion, and a Data Mesh Learning MVP. Jean-Georges shares over 25 years of experience in the IT industry as a presenter and participant at conferences and publishing articles in print and online media. His blog is visible at

He enjoys exploring Upstate New York and New England with his wife and kids when not immersed in tech, which he loves.

Jean-Georges is the Treasurer of AIDA User Group.

Mark Lack - Personal Foto

Mark Lack

Mark is a 25-year user of data analytics. His contributions to performance analytics have been recognized by IBM in the book “5 Key Steps to Analytics Success” along with “Best Business Analytics Solution” in 2008. In 2006, Mark led the charge at Mueller, Inc to implement a Balanced Scorecard performance management system, which culminated in being the 100th company added to the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy in 2007. His recent work has been in the field of Data and AI and has spoken at several industry conferences on his work. Mark’s most recent passion is instructing the next generation of analytics users at Angelo State University. in 2021, he was recognized by IBM for his contributions to analytics by being named the first Lifetime IBM Champion for Data Analytics. When not practicing his craft, Mark can be found at home wife, 2 teenage daughters, and 2 Goldendoodles.

Martin Otto

Martin Otto

Martin started his computer career with a CP/M driven Tandy TRS-80. In High-School times he created an AI-computer language (EGAL – Expert System Generating Analytic Language). With this language, he won several prizes in Germany. He then studied brewing science in Weihenstephan (Bavaria) and at the same time founded a consulting company for BI-analyzes for breweries (with Microsoft-Multiplan and SAS).

This was followed by a degree in computer science and business administration. He worked at Cognos for a number of years and then co-founded a Cognos consultancy.

Martin has been on the board of the Cognos User Group DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) for many years.

Martin has been recognized by IBM as an “IBM Champion” several years in a row.

He lives in the south of Germany on Lake Constance and when he’s not at the computer he’s in the garden or plays one of his brass instruments

Paul Cortellesi

Paul started his data career when records were constrained by the 80 columns available to IBM Punched Cards. He has designed systems for Banking, Brokerage, Medical, Insurance, Rental, and Pesticide businesses. While these may appear wildly different, they all share two common themes: First, one must learn what is meant by the business data, especially when implementing a company’s early systems, and second, one must learn the endless cycle of how that data transforms the business and is itself transformed by the business. For the past 25 years he has managed the ECM-based Electronic Medical Record at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He is a frequent lecturer and mentor on Content Management.

He currently serves as President of the New York ECM Metro User Group and is an IBM Lifetime Champion.

When not in Manhattan, he serves as an Ambulance EMT, an interior Firefighter, and rescues goats & sheep at his Western New Jersey farm.

Paul is the Secretary of AIDA User Group.

Paul Mendelson

Paul Mendelson

For more than a decade and a half, Paul Mendelson has been a vocal contributor to the Cognos communities. He is passionate about Cognos and Business Analytics and is never shy about offering advice or constructive criticism. In addition to his own blog (, he has shared articles with several online journals. The techniques and extensions Paul has written are used by companies worldwide. Paul’s CogBox suite of extensions and controls vastly increases the capabilities and ease-of-use of Cognos.

Paul has been recognized by IBM as an “IBM Champion” several years in a row.

On a personal side, Paul has a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys ballroom dance. He lives in Israel with his wife and two children.

Pierre-Nicolas Perrin

Pierre-Nicolas Perrin is 21 years old and works at Capital One in Cambridge, MA, in a data team.

He graduated with his BS in Computer Science, BS in Mathematics, and Master’s in Computer Science from UNC Chapel Hill in a combined 4 years.

During his degrees, Pierre-Nicolas specialized in AI/ML. His graduate school research focused mainly on 3D computer vision, and he took many high level courses ranging from NLP to CV to other fields of AI.
Pierre-Nicolas participated in the very first AI on Pi Day, presenting about the impact of data quality in NLP.

He then helped organize the 2023 AI on Pi Day with Jean-Georges Perrin.

Ralf Roeber

Ralf Röber

Ralf shares over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, he has the ability to understand and solve deep technical problems effectively and efficiently. His in-depth technical knowledge (which includes OSI Level 2 – 7) gives him the outstanding ability to judge the feasibility of proposals and to immediately solve issues that have arisen during the “go live” of various projects rolling into production.

In addition to the technical knowledge, in his business relations, he focuses on 120% customer satisfaction. For the last 18 years, he has had the pleasure of providing best-in-class service to his main customer (a prestigious German car manufacturer).

Ralf had the pleasure of showing his birth town to Joseph Weizenbaum.

When he is not in the machine room, which he really enjoys, he gives speeches, mentors students, and explores the wonderful landscapes and beaches of Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain.

1997 Prix Ars Electronica, Honorably mentioned
2006 Cognos Performance Star
4x IBM Data Analysis and AI Champion.

Rikke Jacobsen

Rikke Jacobsen is the CEO & and Founder of CogniTech A/S. A Danish IBM Business Gold Partner. Keeping her employees happy and motivated and getting more people to use and get the most value out of IBM Analytics is her passion.

Rikke has worked with IBM Cognos Analytics for more than 20 years, and she still gets excited about the prospect of helping her clients make sense of their data. She is the first Dane to be named IBM Analytics Hero, a title that has been earned because of her enthusiasm and dedication to the Cognos community.

Rikke has founded the Danish IBM Cognos and Planning Analytics User Group, where she inspires the users to get an even better value from Cognos. Rikke has educated over a thousand users in Cognos Analytics, she develops CogniTech’s own Cognos Courses and Cognos Training material. Rikke has inspired a lot of people as a speaker at several IBM Conferences and Webinars.

Rikke has been recognized by IBM as an “IBM Champion” 4 years in a row.

Rikke loves to travel the world together with her two adult children and husband, but a quiet day a home playing games with the family is also a favorite.

Salomé Valero

Salomé Valero is a highly driven technical leader who has delivered award-winning innovative Data and AI solutions that have created new business value for customers. She is also a skilled entrepreneur who is passionate about developing human-centered innovations in collaboration with the open-source community, industry partners, and public institutions.

Salomé has a Ph.D. in Engineering and extensive experience in IT research. She has won several innovation awards, including the 2022 Gold Edison Award in the Life-saving category, the 2021 Premi Muncunill, and the 2019 Call for Code Global Challenge.

Throughout her career, Salomé has been at the forefront of state-of-the-art Cloud, Data and AI solutions and has gained invaluable insights from complex projects in customers. She combines her deep expertise in essential technical domains with the energy and ability to drive change.

Stuart Litel

Stuart Litel has almost 40 years of database experience, including one of the original beta testers of Informix. During that time, he founded the New England Informix Users Group, one of the world’s largest regional Informix user groups. Later, Stuart joined the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) board and served as the president of the IIUG for over 15 years. Stuart has been one of the first IBM Gold Consultant, IBM Person of the Year, first IBM Champion, and first Lifetime IBM Champion.

Before joining IBM, Stuart was the CTO of the largest IBM Informix partner globally during the Informix IBM ownership of the product.

Today he lives in Boston, MA, but when the conditions allow, his home is a Delta lounge as he travels the world advocating for IBM data products and user communities.

Stuart is the President of AIDA User Group.

Past Leadership

Heather Cole, Secretary & Treasurer, 2021-2023

Jean-Georges Perrin, President, 2021-2023

Past Board Members

Jens Bäumler

Jens Bäumler

Jens started with data analysis on an Atari ST in the late 1980s. The contact with IBM products arose during his studies of computer science at the Technical University of Braunschweig/Germany. Since 1998 he has been working 100% as a trainer and consultant for IBM Cognos and the associated tools.

For many years he has helped to shape the German Cognos User Group and writes his own Cognos blog.

His consulting company Apparo also develops products for Cognos. Apparo Fast Edit is used worldwide and complements Cognos Analytics with a data entry function.

In 2021, Jens is named IBM Champion for Data Analysis and AI Champion.

The second passion besides IT is music. On weekends he often plays concerts with his band “The Beatles Connection” as “George Harrison.”

Ryan Dolley

Ryan fell in love with data in 1991, when as a nine-year-old he would key the attributes of various Marvel characters into Excel to generate charts proving that superiority of The Silver Surfer. After a serious attempt to make it as a playwright and actor, he parlayed his passion for storytelling and data into a career in analytics.

His primary professional interests are in exploring new philosophies for analytics delivery and in community building, which he does through his website and the Super Data Brothers YouTube channel he hosts with his brother Eric.

Ryan is the VP of Technology at PMsquare, where he hosts a popular YouTube series focused on Cognos Analytics. He is a three time IBM Champion.

Ryan enjoys reading, lifting weights and caring for his flock of chickens alongside his wife and three children. 

Heather Cole

Heather L. Cole has 30+ years of experience implementing and positioning analytic solutions to help organizations grow and leverage analytics. She is a two-time best-selling author of Business Intelligence Bull’s-eye and Solving the CIO Identity Crisis and keynote speaker.

Heather’s teachings and skills have touched the lives of thousands of people around the world via her insights in business strategy and the future of businesses during the data revolution.

As the founder of Lodestar Solutions, an IBM partner, and Heatherized, Inc. she still manages to find time to serve others sharing her diverse knowledge in Finance, IT, Law, Psychology, Sales, and Marketing. Heather is also a Certified High-Performance Coach, licensed attorney, Scrum Master, a five-time winner of the IBM Champion Award. Heather also serves on the national board of Financial Executives International (FEI). In 2014 Heather was an Enterprising Woman award winner. In her free time, Heather volunteers at Ready for Life, a charity that helps youth that age out of foster care in St. Petersburg, FL.