ClassTag, Tech-Ed, Jason Olim, CDNow, Bertelsmann, Freshman Fund, Vlada Lotkina, Wharton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell Technologies, NYC, Ukraine, TechUkraine, Venture Capital in the Mid-Atlantic Region

co-founder & cto

ClassTag, Inc.

Mar 2015 - Present 7 years 7 months

New York City

ClassTag is the platform for parent engagement, providing teachers and schools with automated communications, incentives and reporting to increase parent engagement, improve student outcomes and make teachers’ jobs easier.

Co-Founder and CEO

Freshman Fund

Apr 2007 - Jun 2012 5 years 3 months

Freshman Fund is a gift registry for college savings plans. Parents and friends can send money directly to any 529 plan through the site. Sold to


Wharton SBDC

Jan 2001 - Feb 2005 4 years 2 months

I develop curriculum and teach open enrollment courses on entrepreneurship, leadership and business planning.



1994 - 2000 6 years

Greater Philadelphia Area

The online music retailing pioneer. Went public on NASDAQ in 1998, sold to Bertelsmann in 2000.


Soft Switch

1992 - 1994 2 years


Brown University

BAComputer Science

1987 - 1992

Activities and Societies: Alpha Delta Phi

Germantown Academy

1980 - 1987


  • ClassTag, Inc. Graphic

CEO & co-Founder

ClassTag, Inc.

Mar 2018 - Present4 years 7 months

Greater New York City Area

  • [


8 years 2 months

  • Practice Lead - Sr. Director, Corporate Strategy Consulting

Jan 2015 - Feb 2018 3 years 2 months

Greater New York City Area

  • Director, Corporate Strategy Consulting

Jul 2012 - Dec 2014 2 years 6 months

New York, NY

  • Sr. Manager, Corporate Strategy Consulting

Jan 2010 - Jul 2012 2 years 7 months

  • The Boston Consulting Group Graphic


The Boston Consulting Group

2008 - Mar 2010 2 years

new york, new york

  • The Boston Consulting Group, Moscow office Graphic

Summer Consultant

The Boston Consulting Group, Moscow office

2007 - 2007 less than a year


The Wharton School


2006 - 2008


Vlada Lotkina: revolutionising communication between schools and parents

Age: 37

Origin: Kharkiv, Ukraine

Based in: Miami, United States

Education: Kharkiv University & The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA)

Occupation: Founder & CEO – ClassTag

Vlada Lotkina was born and raised in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. From a young age, she was very involved in her father’s business of importing designer furniture and household appliances from Europe, attended the negotiations and was involved in managing the accounts. Lotkina’s parents knew the value of a good education and made sure their daughter was receiving the best one possible. They set very high standards for Lotkina, who met those standards as a teenager by organising a successful and well-attended international symposium.

Lotkina’s experience working in her father’s business gave her the confidence to begin her own business venture at just 17. It was a product design consulting service using a network of 150 product designers in Ukraine. In this first business venture, she had to convince international clients to invest not only in her business but in the entire brand and image of Ukraine. The business was a success and received the Ukrainian government’s “Golden Fortune” Award.

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Lotkina was determined to move to the U.S. and study there to learn from innovative companies at the forefront of their industry. She applied to the three top MBA (Master of Business Administration) programmes in the country and was accepted into the Wharton School at the age of 22.

After graduating from Wharton in 2008, Lotkina wanted to start her own business immediately but knew she needed a visa sponsorship to continue living in the U.S. In order to secure a visa sponsorship and receive a green card, she took a corporate job at Boston Consulting Group and later worked as a senior director at Dell.

The idea for ClassTag, a parent-teacher communication app, came about a few months after Lotkina’s daughter started kindergarten. Lotkina was overwhelmed by the amount of information she was receiving from different channels, from handwritten notes to signup sheets on the doors, to emails, texts, and the school website. She discovered that parents in her daughter’s class felt the same way and Jason Olim, who had a son in the same class and also happened to be a serial entrepreneur and former CEO of a successful company, teamed up with Lotkina to co-found ClassTag and solve the issue themselves. ClassTag was launched in 2016.

Lotkina knew in order for ClassTag to grow she had to offer it as a free product first and gain revenue from family-friendly brand promotions. ClassTag also became more accessible by becoming available in 55+ languages. ClassTag manages to keep parents engaged by gamifying the process so, as Lotkina explains, “the more parents engage with the teacher by doing things like volunteering and reading messages, the more classroom supplies they can get for their child’s classroom, for free, from our brand sponsors”. ClassTag has attracted brands such as Amazon, H&M, Penguin Random House, National Geographic Explorer, and Clorox. By 2019, ClassTag had managed to raise $2.7 million in seed capital from a coalition of investors, including Founder Collective, Newark Venture Partners and Trail Mix Ventures.

While most businesses suffered during a lockdown, the need for efficient communication for remote learning meant that ClassTag succeeded exponentially and opened new business lines. The first new business line Lotkina opened was eCommerce, where donations collected for teachers can be used to purchase items for the classroom. Lotkina knew these donations were essential as “I was shocked to learn that 92% of teachers are spending on average $500 out of pocket on essential supplies.” In 2020, Lotkina launched a SaaS product ClassTag Connect, an all-in-one engagement platform that helps schools build flourishing communities from classroom to district and engages all parents by using insights and accessibility across languages and acquisition channels. Due to the enlargement of ClassTag during the pandemic, the company is predicted to triple its revenue in 2021.

ClassTag currently has 25,000 schools participating, 5 million engaged parents, $3 million in rewards for teachers and has received $8.9 million in venture capital funding. Lotkina knew it would be hard to raise this amount of money for her start-up as the tech-ed industry was already overcrowded, even back in 2015. Despite being female and an immigrant, CEOs and founders who invested in ClassTag did not have any bias towards Lotkina. She states that many other entrepreneurs and business people in the U.S. are well-travelled and many of them grew up in foreign countries, making them more sympathetic to Lotkina’s journey and background and therefore more likely to invest in her product.

This year, Lotkina was recognised by the American Consortium for Equity in Education as one of the Top 20 Women Leading the Education Industry.

Quote: “I avoided setting easily achievable goals for myself, and that led to a lot of hard work and determination.”

John Martinson

John founded Edison in 1986 and is General Partner for Edison I-VII. He transitioned leadership of the firm to Chris Sugden in 2013. John has been a venture capitalist for 37 years, participating in more than 150 equity financings and serving as a director of 55 companies. He is well known in the Mid-Atlantic region business community and nationally in the private equity industry. He serves as a director of four Edison portfolio companies.
John is a former Chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, serving as a director for eight years. At the 2006 NVCA Annual Meeting, John received the NVCA Service Award. He is co-founder and former chairman of the New Jersey Technology Council, and former chairman of PACT (previously Greater Philadelphia Venture Group).
John earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.S. in Astronautics from Purdue, and an MBA from Southern Illinois University. All three institutions honored John with their top alumni accomplishment award. He received honorary doctorates from Rider and Rowan Universities.

Our Investment Strategy

We invest in the most promising early stage, rapid growth technology companies in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Portfolio companies benefit from the Fund’s affiliation with one of the largest and most active technology councils in the nation for introductions to customers, recruits, resellers and distributors, Board directors, investors and quality service providers.

The Fund typically invests $500,000 to $3M initially, with up to $4-5M to support the company’s growth. The general partners are active investors, typically (but, not always) a Board Director and lead investor.


Tracking social transactions.

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Note the language and imagery in this short intro:

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SEPTEMBER 9, 2022 – TEXAS: ClassTag announced today its partnership with the Texas Public Charter Schools Association to bring modern communication and engagement solutions to charter schools and families in Texas. This partnership comes as Texas schools face one of the most challenging education climates in recent memory.

Polarization. School shootings. Freak weather events. These are just a few of the reasons Texas parents are more concerned than ever to send their kids to school,” says Karessa Parish, Texas charter school parent and Strategic Partnerships Manager at ClassTag. “In this climate, building trust with parents is crucial. ClassTag will help our schools do that.”

ClassTag’s communication platform is designed to make it easy for educators to get 100% of families involved in their child’s education. Caregivers can receive district, school, and classroom communications via email, text message, phone call, or app notification. All communications are automatically translated into the user’s preferred language, allowing for easy back-and-forth communication between all stakeholders.

“ClassTag is our number one way to communicate. It’s so easy to reach all of our families [in their preferred language and channel]” says Student Recruitment Coordinator of Harmony Public Schools. “Parents feel at ease knowing they can reach teachers, admin, and any staff with just one click.”

“ClassTag has allowed us to communicate with caregivers in a more meaningful way and connect as a community,” says Maribel Rodriguez of The Gathering Place in San Antonio.

Since adopting ClassTag, schools have seen an average increase of 42% in family engagement. These gains have been instrumental towards positioning districts and schools as trusted pillars of their communities.

“We’re excited to become a TPCSA solution provider, so we can help their schools position themselves as the go-to choice for Texas families looking for quality education for their children,” says Vlada Lotkina, CEO of ClassTag. “We’re united in a mission to make positive change in Texas education, and can’t wait to partner with your school to do so.”

About ClassTag Connect

ClassTag Connect is a unified family communication and engagement platform for teachers, schools, and districts. ClassTag helps foster strong school-family partnerships through delightful and equitable mass communications and two-way messaging in each member’s preferred language and channel. Caregivers can become more active in their child’s education by signing up to volunteer, donate, or schedule a parent-teacher conference. School leaders gain insights through communication and engagement analytics, including read rates and reachability – empowering them to take action in connecting with all families.

ClassTag is designed to be inviting, intuitive, and budget-friendly so you can spend less time on the logistics, and more time building relationships.

Learn more at: or email You can also meet company representatives at the upcoming Texas Public Charter School Conference in San Antonio.

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This will explain why they are doing this - on the surface at least.

2014 - High Impact (read PFS metric ready) Ed-Tech for Obama White House

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One Way Ventures

One Way Ventures

Jan 8, 2020

The Company You Keep: How Vlada Lotkina Found Support and Stability While Building a Business in the U.S.

This is part 4 of 5 in “The Immigrant Founder Series: Using Adversity as a Launching Pad for Leadership,’’ a series created in partnership with growth marketing agency Ideometry. We spoke with some extraordinary immigrant founders who shared how their journeys to the U.S. influenced their journeys as entrepreneurs. Tune in 3 weeks from now for the final installment of the series.

In our fourth interview, we chatted with the founder of ClassTag, Vlada Lotkina. Vlada is simplifying communication between parents and teachers in order to improve the education experience for children near and far.

Growing up in Ukraine, Vlada first dipped her toes into the entrepreneurship world when (as a teenager) she organized a large, well attended international symposium. She later went on to get an MBA at The Wharton School, where she left with the hope to start her own company. But that desire proved to be easier said than done, as she took a detour to work in Corporate America to secure a visa sponsorship and receive her green card. That allowed her to more easily transition into her current entrepreneurial role, leading ClassTag. Her tenacity, determination, and ‘anything is possible’ attitude are a few of the reasons ClassTag has built up a customer base of over 2 million parents and teachers nationwide.

Tell us a bit about ClassTag?

Vlada: ClassTag is a simple parent-teacher communication tool. We know that when parents and teachers are partners in the child’s education, everyone wins. When everyone is able to collaborate and communicate easily, parents are happier, teachers’ jobs are easier, and students are more successful. That’s what ClassTag is all about.

In terms of milestones, we’re on a really exciting growth trajectory. We now have 2 million parents and teachers who rely on ClassTag for communicating with one another. We also have some great investors as part of our seed round, such as Founder Collective, One Way Ventures, Newark Venture Partners, as well as a few others. We’ve raised over $3 million to date.

What’s the company’s origin story?

Vlada: ClassTag effectively came from solving problems related to my own personal experiences. When my daughter started school, I was shocked that parent-teacher communication was incredibly outdated. Messages came through paper notices transported in backpacks. The communication tools didn’t holistically help parents connect and collaborate with the teacher. That brought me into thinking about the education space and the need for improved parent-teacher communication.

In terms of how ClassTag was founded, we had a really interesting story. My co-founder has a child who’s in my daughter’s preschool, so our kids were classmates at the time. He shared my frustrations and also turned out to be a serial entrepreneur and former CEO of a successful company. Naturally, we bonded and talked about why we really cared about solving this issue.

I’m originally from Ukraine and, at the age of 22, I got into The Wharton School here in the U.S. When I was applying, I didn’t really know where I was going and what I wanted to do, but I somehow magically ended up here. One thing in particular allowed me to carve out a great career for myself prior to getting back into a more entrepreneurial role. The one thing was my parent’s engagement. They were very involved with my education and set high standards for me. They knew how valuable a good education was, and wanted to make sure I was receiving the best education possible. When it was my turn to ensure I was providing an excellent education for my daughter, I found myself struggling to do what my parents had done.

What made you decide to go to school in the U.S.?

Vlada: Quite simply, I just really wanted to live in the U.S. Early on, I applied to some business schools in London, but I’m definitely glad I ended up here. I wanted to learn the proper way of doing things, and learn from companies that are out on the forefront of defining their industries. In my opinion, some of the most innovative companies in the world are based in the U.S. This made coming to the U.S. a top priority for me.

What hardships or difficulties did you encounter as a result of living in a foreign country?

Vlada: When I think about my journey, I avoided setting easily achievable goals for myself, and that lead to a lot of hard work and determination. I think the first example of this determination would be when I organized a huge international symposium in Ukraine as a teenager. Looking back on it now, It seems absolutely impossible to accomplish, but I didn’t know any better and I think that sort of ignorance and attitude helped me tremendously. Feeling like I could just go for it and not look back is what got me through the tough times. What helps me tremendously now is setting high goals and not accepting that things can’t be accomplished.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of starting a company in the U.S.?

Vlada: I think that it’s much easier to start a company here for a number of reasons. Obviously, the access to venture capital and other people who’ve succeeded at a global scale is incredibly beneficial. It’s great to be able to leverage their expertise and use it to fuel your own success. Also, finding people to back you early on before you are profitable is really hard to do in developing countries like Ukraine. On top of that, there’s obviously a lot of corruption and regulatory pressure that exists in Ukraine and many other countries. Unfortunately, creating an impactful business that solves a real problem is not enough to be successful in countries like Ukraine.

What was your experience with the process of obtaining a visa?

Vlada: For everyone who comes to the U.S. looking to stay here, the visa process becomes a critical part of how they’re able to live. After graduating from business school, I was really keen on starting my own business within a year or so, but wasn’t able to. At that time, I really needed a visa sponsorship, so I decided to take the corporate route, where I was able to find a sponsor and receive my green card. This gave me some time to easily transition from a corporate role to a more entrepreneurial role.

When you were raising money, did you encounter any difficulties because you weren’t an American?

Vlada: Raising capital is tough as an American man, and I had to raise it as a Ukranian woman. That naturally comes with a number of biases. When I think about who my investors are today, many of them are CEOs and founders who don’t have any bias towards me. They also are very well-traveled and originally grew up in foreign countries, which makes them more sympathetic to my journey and background. It’s great to be supported by people who I not only get along with well, but are also open-minded and believe in my vision.

What advice do you have for immigrant founders building companies outside of their native countries?

Vlada: I think that it’s great to always have the support of the community you grew up in. Entrepreneurs can find support from a number of different dimensions, one of which is their country of origin. I do think that surrounding yourself with founders or investors that possess a shared affinity for your company’s goals will help you in the early stages of building your company. You want to work with people that are open and supportive, and maybe have had similar experiences to you so that they understand where you’re coming from. I would certainly recommend leveraging the solid relationships you have and build an affinity group that you can count on.

Other than that, I would say to just go for it and have fun. It’s an amazing journey to build your own company. Above all else, you should thoroughly enjoy it.

Looking for more stories like these? Sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter here.

Stay tuned for our next interview as part of The Immigrant Founder Series: Using Adversity as a Launching Pad for Leadership. On 1/28/20, we’ll be sharing our conversation with Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, co-founders of Chipper Cash. Together, they’ve created the first platform to support cross-border mobile payments in Africa.

Ideometry is a Boston-based full-service marketing agency serving a global client base. With a full suite of creative, development, and strategic services, Ideometry helps growth stage startups and Fortune 500 companies alike get the business results they’re looking for. If you’re doing something interesting, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us at or email

So gross - adversity. Immigrants are an impact market - the “good” ones you train to build the digital prison. This event was all about that. They didn’t appreciate my disruption.

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One of the investors in ClassTag is TMT Investments (note the deep Moscow connection, despite Lotkina being from Ukraine) :

See ClassTag in their portfolio below:

See their investment team here:

Yuri Mostovoy

Chairman of the board

Yuri Mostovoy was appointed to the Board in June 2011. Yuri brings over 38 years of expertise in investment banking, software development and business to his role as Chairman of the Company. Yuri completed his Ph.D. at the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1972 and holds a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from that same institution. Yuri has held a number of previous Board positions at a number of companies, and brings this experience to the Board. He has been involved in a number of internet start-ups in the areas of medical devices, software development, and social media.

Yuri Mostovoy is actively involved in the start-up investment community, especially in some of the tech hubs in the USA, meeting with technological companies seeking investments on a regular basis. Through this process of direct contact with investee companies, Yuri keeps updated on sector developments.

Yuri Petrovich Mostovoy is Chairman for TMT Investments and Non-Executive Chairman for TMT Investments Plc (a subsidiary of TMT Investments). Dr. Mostovoy is also on the board of Accern Corp. and Owner at Interval LLC and Owner at Buballo LLC.

In the past Dr. Mostovoy was Vice President of Citibank NA (New York), Head-Quantitative Fixed Income Research at Lordes Capital Ltd. and Head-Development at Lehman Brothers Ltd.

Yuri Petrovich Mostovoy received a doctorate and a graduate degree from Moscow Aviation Institute.

Guy Lewy


Co-founder of Sublime Biotechnologies, a software and data science company applying Machine Learning to challenges in the pharmaceutical sector. Formerly Director of Science at SyntheticGestalt, a Japanese AI company. Wrote and prosecuted patents at Gill Jennings & Every LLP. MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge (Emmanuel College). Machine Learning Engineer, Data Scientist, and Web Application Developer

German Vladimirovich Kaplun
](German Vladimirovich Kaplun - Biography)

Age : 53

Public asset : 29,165,112 USD

Linked companies : gb.png TMT Investments PLC - ru.png Public Joint Stock Company ARMADA


German Vladimirovich Kaplun founded RBC Information Systems JSC, RBC OJSC and Armada PJSC. Presently, he occupies the position of Chairman at Armada PJSC and General Director at RBC Information Systems JSC. Dr. Kaplun is also on the board of Arsenal Advisor Ltd. and Head-Strategy at TMT Investments Plc.

He previously was Chairman-Executive Board & General Director at RBC OJSC.

Dr. Kaplun received a doctorate from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics and an undergraduate degree from Moscow State Institute of Radio-Engineering Elec & Automation.

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@AMcD You brave, bold cookie, you!!

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Returning to Guy Lewy of TMT Investments (noted above) and his machine learning/AI ventures (RE: pharmaceuticals). Lewy also co-led Cambridge Molecular:


In addition to large, medium, and small pharmaceutical companies currently undisclosed.

About PocketMapper

PocketMapper is our most powerful DEL follow-up system. It is a machine learning pipeline that rigorously classifies structures as signal or noise, and removes all structures identified as noise. Information from the surviving compounds is then used to create an atomic-resolution map of the binding site or binding sites.

The system is extremely robust, and we are pleased to offer it on a fee-per-success basis: if the de-noised compounds do not converge to form a pocket map, no fee is payable.

PocketMapper Reveals:

1. The number of pockets being bound by DEL hits.

2. The exact shape of each binding pocket when fully filled, including shallow or allosteric pockets.

3. The size and relative flexibility of each part of each pocket.

4. Locations within each pocket that strongly prefer hydrogen bond donors/acceptors, or hydrophobes.

5. Whether the proximal end of the linker is involved in binding.

6. The identities of a great variety of binding modes.

7. The binding modes of surface-binding pockets (e.g. dimerisation domains or allosteric regions).

PocketMapper greatly de-risks hit identification, accelerates lead optimisation, provides diverse additional paths to effective candidate chemistry, and renders a significant amount of lab work unnecessary.

Lewy’s business partner at Cambridge Molecular and Sublime Biotechnologies (in Cambridge):

Related People

|MR GUY PETER LEWY|Entrepreneur|Cambridge, England

Dmitry Kirpichenko timeline



Dmitry Kirpichenko


Guy Lewy


*Note: Just 10 minutes ago, the Daily Mail article above was accessible – and when I went to re-open it (I had only texted myself the link), it was no longer active. I really need to learn to archive this stuff immediately. Perhaps someone else can gain access to it. It may only be locked out to me. It was a curious article.

I found another reference to Kirpichenko and his Cambridge cake project:

You only turn 21 once

A cake in the shape of Peterhouse, commissioned by student Dmitry Kirpichenko for his wife Eloise Davies

A cake in the shape of Peterhouse, commissioned by student Dmitry Kirpichenko for his wife Eloise Davies

This might have been the thought in mind when Peterhouse student Dmitry Kirpichenko decided to surprise his wife, and fellow Peterhouse student, Eloise Davies with this gargantuan sponge.

Measuring almost two metres, it took a team of expert caterers 204 hours to complete the unique cake meticulously based on the Trumpington Street college.

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You get the connections between biological “optimization” and market forecasting right?

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@AMcD Sort of . . . I think so . . . What you may be implying is stochastic optimization/modeling for forecasting (used in systems biology/machine learning and also market forecasting/financial investing, etc):

Mathematical optimization is at the core of many problems in systems biology: (1) as the underlying hypothesis for model development, (2) in model identification, or (3) in the computation of optimal stimulation procedures to synthetically achieve a desired biological behavior. These problems are usually formulated as nonlinear programing problems (NLPs) with dynamic and algebraic constraints. However the nonlinear and highly constrained nature of systems biology models, together with the usually large number of decision variables, can make their solution a daunting task, therefore calling for efficient and robust optimization techniques. Here, we present novel global optimization methods and software tools such as cooperative enhanced scatter search (eSS), AMIGO, or DOTcvpSB, and illustrate their possibilities in the context of modeling including model identification and stimulation design in systems biology.

I do not have access to the first article below:

Who Uses Stochastic Modeling?

Stochastic modeling is used in a variety of industries around the world. The insurance industry, for example, relies heavily on stochastic modeling to predict how company balance sheets will look at a given point in the future. Other sectors, industries, and disciplines that depend on stochastic modeling include stock investing, statistics, linguistics, biology, and quantum physics.

A stochastic model incorporates random variables to produce many different outcomes under diverse conditions.

An Example of Stochastic Modeling in Financial Services

Stochastic investment models attempt to forecast the variations of prices, returns on assets (ROA), and asset classes—such as bonds and stocks—over time. The Monte Carlo simulation is one example of a stochastic model; it can simulate how a portfolio may perform based on the probability distributions of individual stock returns. Stochastic investment models can be either single-asset or multi-asset models, and may be used for financial planning, to optimize asset-liability-management (ALM) or asset allocation; they are also used for actuarial work.

A Pivotal Tool in Financial Decision-Making

The significance of stochastic modeling in finance is extensive and far-reaching. When choosing investment vehicles, it is critical to be able to view a variety of outcomes under multiple factors and conditions. In some industries, a company’s success or demise may even hinge on it.

In the ever-changing world of investing, new variables can come into play at any time, which could affect a stock picker’s decisions enormously. Hence, finance professionals often run stochastic models hundreds or even thousands of times, which proffers numerous potential solutions to help target decision-making.


Am I on the right track?