Director, Speech Science & Conversational AI


Deerfield, IL, USA Remote



Jan 19

Job Summary:

Provides oversight and leadership for creating, configuring, and optimizing technologies for Walgreens voice user experiences, including speech recognition, voice biometrics, chatbot and speech synthesis engines. By bringing thought leadership and expert knowledge of Natural Language Processing (NLP), this individual will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategy to evolve our self service experiences to best in class and continuously responsive to changing dynamics of the industry. Directs and mentors team to focus on how to create grammars, dictionaries, acoustic models, and language models. Assesses proposed user experiences for feasibility and presents holistic strategy and roadmap to executive leadership. Develops best practices, procedures, and reusable tools for maintaining the highest level of application performance possible.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Leads team that designs, develops, and tests static grammars, dynamic grammars, and Statistical Language Models.
  • Oversees the research, tuning, and optimization of speech synthesis engine to ensure clarity and “naturalness”.
  • Responsible for leading speech and data research to deliver best in class self service tools for internal end users and external customers.
  • Develops and deliver presentations, reports, and key deliverables for executive audiences with the intention of providing insights, gain strategy alignment, and actions to drive excellent customer experiences.
  • Accountable for the accuracy of speech recognition, chatbot, and digital platforms, and the corresponding analysis to develop error patterns that will be leveraged to remediate customer friction.
  • Develops and executes the voice biometric engine strategy, while ensuring a balance between security and usability.
  • Oversees the strategy and delivery of automated self service for SMS, Push, and other digital channel interactions.
  • Responsible for standardizing processes and analytics used to manage and operate over 1billion customer interactions across omni channel entry points.
  • Leads the strategy for how NLP engine is built and optimized through research, analysis, and execution, while ensuring the best user experience of new products and features. Responsible for identifying new NLP engines that could augment or replace existing NLP engines.
  • Creates reporting center of excellence that establishes a data focused structure for making decisions to enhance the customer experience.
  • Develops and implements a strategy to enable sentiment analysis across all engagement channels through using machine learning (ML).
  • Serves as the internal Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Conversational AI, including Speech Science, and Analytics and the platforms that drive our engagement strategy.
  • Collaborates with business partners, technology, external vendors, and other cross functional teams to gain alignment on the strategy and deployment of solutions across multiple platforms.
  • Utilizes data to determine the appropriate experiments with available tools and generate new content, parameters, and settings for continued optimization of voice user experiences. Oversees the experiments execution and outcomes. Applies learnings to create roadmaps for future experiment developments.
  • Develops methodologies and procedures to facilitate more efficient deployment and tuning.
  • Contributes to the overall strategy for the voice channel and helps drive delivery of the best possible experience for customers.
  • Responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing the day to day operations of our chat and chatbot strategy, which includes using data models to drive contextual conversations across voice and chat channels.
  • Provides input to application design and assesses design documentation for feasibility.

An Equal Opportunity Employer, including disability/veterans

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is a global leader in retail pharmacy, impacting millions of lives every day through dispensing medicines, and providing accessible, high quality care. With more than 170 years of trusted healthcare heritage and innovation in community pharmacy, the company is meeting customers and patients needs through its convenient retail locations, digital platforms and health and beauty products.

Including equity method investments, WBA has a presence in more than 25 countries, employs more than 450,000 people and has more than 21,000 stores.

WBA’s purpose is to help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives. The company is proud of its contributions to healthy communities, a healthy planet, an inclusive workplace and a sustainable marketplace. WBA is a participant of the United Nations Global Compact and adheres to its principles based approach to responsible business.

WBA is included in FORTUNE’s 2021 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. This is the 28th consecutive year that WBA or its predecessor company, Walgreen Co., has been named to the list.

More company information is available at

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree and at least 6 years of experience in Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Psychology, or demonstrable industry experience OR High School/GED and at least 9 years experience in Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Psychology, or demonstrable industry experience
  • At least 4 years of experience creating voice user experiences for a Fortune 500 company.
  • At least three years of experience creating chat and chatbot experiences for a Fortune 500 company.
  • At least two years of experience contributing to financial decisions in the workplace.
  • At least two years of direct leadership, indirect leadership and/or cross functional team leadership.
  • Experience with defining information architecture for caller experiences.
  • Willing to travel up to/at least 25% of the time for business purposes (within state and out of state).

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree or Ph.D. in Computer Science, Linguistics or Cognitive Science
  • Fluent or near fluent in Spanish
  • Experience with Genesys voice platform
  • Experience with Nuance speech recognition software, speech synthesis software, and voice biometrics software
  • Experience with retail and/or the healthcare industry
  • Experience with call flow and conversational dialog design for speech recognition interfaces
  • Experience developing and delivering presentations to various audience levels within the organization
  • Experience with planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives
  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite

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