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About Us

Leavened was developed by marketing professionals and data scientists with over 20 years of performance-based media experience. Get to know some of them below.

Why do we call ourselves Leavened?

Leavening agents are used as a catalyst for growth, with the most common example in baking bread. In the baking process, leaven (i.e., yeast) is added to the dough mixture to make the loaf rise. At Leavened, our marketing mix model solution helps businesses “rise” or grow, through efficient scalability.

The Team

  • Headshot of President Sara Moorthy

    Sara Moorthy

    Managing Partner

    Sara is a founding team member at Leavened focusing on product development with more than 20 years of experience in performance marketing, media, and data analytics. Sara helps her clients develop strategic marketing plans, design marketing infrastructures to support the measurement of marketing, and establish tools for campaign measurement.

    Prior to starting at Leavened, Sara has worked as a strategic planning and analytics lead at DraftWorldwide (Now FCB), Y&R/Wunderman, McCann Relationship Marketing, and Publicis. In 2006, she co-founded a digital and CRM agency in San Francisco, which was later purchased. Her clients have included Google, GoPro, Sprint, Microsoft, Intuit, Hewlett Packard, Adobe, Electronic Arts, and Toyota. Sara has won many awards for her past work, including an Addy from the American Advertising Federation, a “ONE Show” Interactive Award from the ONE Club which champions excellence in advertising and design, an NCDM Database Excellence Award, and several ECHO awards from the International Direct Marketing Association.

    Sara graduated from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business with a Bachelor’s of Science and earned a MBA and a Masters in International Business from Pepperdine University.

  • william parker

    William Parker

    Chief Strategy Officer

    William Parker leads client strategy for Leavened, combining the art and science of data analytics and marketing to help clients address the complex challenges of marketing effectiveness, ROI, and channel effectiveness.

    William has over a decade of experience as a business leader and architect of proven enterprise products, strategy, and programs that drive business results. Pioneering his own analytic-centric approach to branding, William has consulted for some of the biggest brands in the world. Procter & Gamble, the US Marine Corps, Ford, CVS, Home Depot, and LG have benefited from his brand strategies for growth, which have fundamentally shifted consumer attitudes and behaviors.

    Currently, William is also a board member for the BIC (Branding + Integrated Communications) Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program at the City College of New York. There, he contributes to program development and frequently lectures on the advancement of digital marketing and performance analytics.

  • Carey White headshot

    Carey White

    Director of Client Strategy

    Carey White is Director of Client Strategy at Leavened, where she utilizes her media expertise to translate analytic insights into strategic optimization recommendations for clients. She is a proven, results-oriented leader with over 20 years of experience in marketing operations, project management, media planning and buying, campaign measurement, analytics, and optimization.

    She has worked with clients such as Tempur Sealy, ThredUp, Gerber Life, Credit Sesame, and Alivecor to align data feeds and establish measurement plan KPIs, leveraging measurement tools and identifying optimization signals.

    Carey holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Marketing from the University of Rhode Island and is based in Warwick, Rhode Island.

  • Headshot of Chief Technology Officer Rian Schmidt

    Rian Schmidt

    Chief Technology Officer

    Rian leads all technology initiatives for the development of Leavened’s Iterative Hypothesis Testing Engine (LIHTE).

    Rian brings over two decades of experience driving strategy, process and culture, with hands-on coding and infrastructure architecture skills. Most recently, Schmidt was the CTO of Vadio, Inc., where he was responsible for the development of a streaming video platform that powered Shazam’s video service and Pearl Travel Tech, a SaaS startup providing immigration assessments to Fortune 100 enterprise clients. He previously worked at Amazon as the Head of Labs Technology for Zappos.

    Rian received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

  • Headshot of Chief Scientific Advisor Amit Bhatnagar

    Amit Bhatnagar, PhD

    Chief Scientific Advisor

    Amit advises on all analytical initiatives that inform existing and new product development for Leavened. Using the latest techniques in statistics and mathematics, as well as, technology, Amit works with clients to solve marketing measurement challenges.

    Dr. Amit Bhatnagar is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and a Visiting Professor at leading Business schools in Greece, Korea and India. Amit has 19 years of research experience in building statistical models to measure different marketing phenomenon. He has published 32 research papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, and is on the Editorial Board of three journals.

    Amit has a PhD – Marketing, State University of New York at Buffalo, MS – Aeronautical Engineering from IIT and a BS – Mechanical Engineering from IIT.

  • Headshot of Lead Developer Matt O’Connor

    Matt O’Connor

    Lead Developer

    Matt leads the development team at Leavened with more than 15 years of experience in software development, and data analytics. Matt provides leadership to his team and ownership over the products his team builds. As a result he has brought major multi-million dollar projects to market.

    Prior to starting at Leavened, Matt has worked as a developer and lead at Marin Software, ShiftWise, and SPEDSIS. Matt has built systems that solve scaling problems for big data, implemented company visions that replace the need for legacy systems, and automating business tasks resulting in lower overhead and fewer bugs.

    Matt graduated from Western Oregon University with a Bachelor’s of Computer Science.

Advisory Board

  • Headshot of Managing Director (Nautic Partners) Habib Gorgi

    Habib Gorgi

    Managing Director, Nautic Partners

    Mr. Habib Y. Gorgi serves as Managing Director at Nautic Partners, LLC. He focuses on business services and manufacturing industries. Prior to joining the firm in 2000, Mr. Gorgi was the President at Fleet Equity Partners, the predecessor firm of Nautic Partners, LLC, from 1986 to 2000. Before that he worked for BankAmerica and Fleet Bank. He has been a Director of FTD.Com Inc. since May 1999. Mr. Gorgi also serves as a Director of IOS BRANDS, Ariba, Inc, and several privately-held companies.

    He has been responsible for Nautic Partners, LLC investment and currently serves as a Director of Simonds Industries Inc. since 1995 and was a Director of FTD Inc. since January 1997. Mr. Gorgi is the Chairman of MACTEC, Inc.

  • Headshot of President & COO Jane Crisan

    Jane Crisan

    CEO, Advisory Board

    Coming from a background that includes marketing services, advertising, software develop and analytics, Jane provides organization leadership and strategic oversight of innovations at Leavened.

    Jane draws on over 30 years of experience in digital marketing, direct marketing and traditional advertising, having held executive management positions at Garage Team Mazda, T3, Wunderman-Team Detroit/JWT, Carlson Marketing Group and Organic. Her knowledge of performance and brand marketing campaigns, marketing data and software development gives her a unique perspective, allowing her to see gaps and opportunities in client data, measurement, and planning.

    Jane earned her MBA in Marketing and holds a B.S. in Decision Science and Marketing from the University of Oregon. Her career has taken her from Oregon to New York City to Detroit to Southern California and now Portland. Jane is grateful to have partnered with many great brands during her career that include Mazda, Ford, Chase, Sprite, Wayfair, 23andMe and Dodge.

  • Headshot of CEO & Co-Founder Michelle Cardinal

    Michelle Cardinal

    Chairwoman and Co-Founder, Advisory Board

    Michelle’s career spans more than 20 years in advertising and media. During that time she has relentlessly bucked conventional wisdom by finding smarter ways to look at the math. Can highly efficient media be strategically inter-laced with specialized creative to push the boundaries of response? Can data insights and analytics-informed buying lead to higher and higher ROI for her clients? Michelle challenged her agency to find a way to achieve best-in-class results and a new form of advertising was born—Transactional Brand Building.

    After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her professional life began in southern California with a job in TV sales. From there she segued into buying and planning, becoming Media Director for one of the largest media buying agencies in the country, Williams Worldwide. But Michelle is an entrepreneur at heart, so her next move was to start her own company: Cmedia. Following that, she co-founded an advertising agency by way of a merger with Respond2, a Portland-based creative boutique. Through several acquisitions and hard-earned organic growth, the advertising agency now numbers 220 employees and over $530 million in annual billings.

    With Italian heritage and an intrinsic love of food, it was inevitable that she would somehow find her way into the food business. So, in 2009, Michelle co-founded Nero Del Gallo. With olive groves in Santa Ynez, California, the company produces and bottles more than 60 gallons of artisan olive oil per year. And, yes, Michelle is out there in the field at harvest time!

    She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and business partner, Tim O’Leary, and their yellow/red fox Lab, Gifford Pinchot.

  • Headshot of Managing Director (Stonemeadow Partners) Michael Joe

    Michael Joe

    Managing Director, Stonemeadow Partners

    From 1997-2014, Michael was a Managing Director at Nautic Partners, LLC, a private equity firm based in Providence, Rhode Island. While at Nautic, Michael had responsibilities for Nautic’s Deal Origination and Investor Relations activities, and was involved in multiple new investments for the firm. He was also the Chief Compliance Officer, and a member of the Investment Committee and the Valuation Committee. Michael currently serves on the Board of Directors of three Nautic portfolio companies.

    In addition, Michael currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Thayer Academy. Founded in 1877, Thayer is a independent co-educational day school for Grades 6-12 and is located in Braintree, MA. From 2011-2016, Michael was a member of the Board of Trustees of Charles River School, an independent Pre-K through Grade 8 school in Dover, MA. During his tenure, he served as Co-Chair of the Campus Master Planning Committee, Chairman of the Head of School Search Committee in 2013-2014, and was a member of the Executive, Finance, Audit, Investment and Long-Term Strategic Planning Committees.


Employees enjoy a full suite of health insurance benefits (medical, dental, and vision), employer matched 401K, life insurance, subsidized parking, four weeks of paid time off (to start) plus national holidays off, and competitive market-based compensation.

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