I've had the great fortune to attend my 8th domestic and 9th overall Tableau Conference (TC) and one of thoughts that top of mind, is wow! I feel as energized and in love with the Tableau community this conference as I did in 2013. For those you doing math, my 2011 an 2012 conferences (Vegas and San Diego) felt overwhelming; 2013 felt new since I started to meet people in the community that year.
I am trying to make this saying go viral, because I think that's how we should learn. It should be fun to learn and it actually is at TC! My learning opportunities this year came in the form of podcast discussions, keynotes, and a couple of sessions. But before we get to that, the conference kick-off was amazing!! I marched in a parade to celebrate the beginning of conference! Matt Francis and I hosted The Vizzies. These are awards that we give out to Tableau community members that are voted on my the community. We held them during the welcome reception and it was so fun...one might say it was informative fun!
This is the first year I attended the US conference with podcasting as my number one job, so podcast we did. We recorded a record 12 episodes with informative and fun conversations with people like the Makeover Monday team, Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray, to Keisha Rose (developer at Tableau) feat. Paul Banoub to Elissa Fink (CMO of Tableau) and Adam Selipsky (Pres/CEO of Tableau).
New to conference this year was Brain Dates mentoring. It was in a fun and relaxed atmosphere where people could sign up to learn more and have engaging conversations about almost anything. What I love is that people got connected that might have otherwise not been and learned along the way! I was able to participate in one about Data+Women, which also renewed some of my energy for helping others get started with organizing one.
I had the opportunity to sit in on Paul Banoub's session about building a Center of Excellence (COE) and it was excellent!! What I loved most is that Paul took us through this COE journey that firms of any size could relate to. I think it helped frame up COE goals for a lot of people in the room. And what's even more amazing is that Paul's team is quite small and yet, is best in class.
I also sat in on part of the data+women session. I thought it was well-done and I really enjoyed the thought-provoking content presented by Anya A'Hearn. Especially in podcasting, where communicating information is the point, it made me think about how I might have some implicit bias (everyone tends to) and how I can make sure I self-correct. The easiest example is one when introducing guests on the show. Do we only give men the intro of accomplishments? I know there are cases where it's happened, but hopefully it's not the norm for me. However, the whole point (to me) of Anya's presentation was to raise awareness and self-monitor.
Finally, in the informative fun category, we have Fanalytics. Last year was the first year where it was less about vizzing a data set and more about discussions that impact the Tableau Public community. This year, attendees discussed topics such as improving Iron Viz feeders, mentoring, and data culture (just to name a few).
I sat in on the data culture discussion because that's part of how I want to help organizations. The observation that stood out to me is that about half the table did not feel empowered to help create a good data culture in their organization. How sad!! Ideas like viz games (Iron Viz, for example) was met with hesitation. As a result, I put a call to action out there in my LinkedIn weekly leadership in data tip to help employees feel empowered to take action. I strongly believe in individuals taking actions and can usually find a way to work within or around the environment. Your organization isn't keen on a viz contest? Do it at lunch! No one can help organize a proper internal Tableau user group meeting? Meet up during a Friday at lunch or after work for a happy hour to chat all things data viz and Tableau. Before going too far down the rabbit hole, the data culture discussion, which was facilitated at our table by Fi Gordon (and topic leader, Sarah Burnett), really lit me up. I could have stayed for another hour just helping people dig in, get lit up, and ready to action.
I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't sure what we were going to get with Adam Grant as a keynote speaker on the last day (after Data Night Out). For those who missed his talk, wow! You really missed something. Adam's talk was so good! He is an organizational change psychologist and Professor at the Wharton School of Business.
1. Weed out the takers in a community/group/organization.
2. Create psychological safety.
3. Encourage help-seeking.
4. Make the unfamiliar, familiar (and master repetition).
5. Put your worst foot forward (address the concerns first).
6. Set boundaries on time. Chunk out time to avoid distractions.
Adam shared such valuable information, but then he shared the results of a Tableau community survey on who the top givers in the community are...and my name was on the slide. I had this feeling of immense gratitude, that people recognized and saw value in my contributions to the community. As one of my friends put it, "Now you know what it's like winning a Vizzie."
While I had some informative fun, it would not have been as fun without my crew. These folks help make me better and are super supportive, especially as I have transitioned into entrepreneur life. I am so thankful that I have surrounded myself with such amazingly smart, funny, and caring people. A few people I want to call out specifically from the Tableau community:
I'm looking forward to continuing my contributions in the Tableau community and applying these learnings to grow myself and my skills to help others.