An Interview with Annabelle Rincon (A Tableau Ambassador and Analytics TUG Co-Lead)

A weekly blog about the ‘data viz’-making process, #datafam / data analytics member interviews, & entertainment for introverts (consisting of a music morsel & a binge bite).

Feature Interview

Mico’s Note: Annabelle Rincon (Twitter | Tableau Public | Blog) is such a joyful force of nature in our community. I’m so happy that we are in the same Tableau Ambassador cohort because we have gotten to know each other a little better. She has a list of accomplishments anyone would admire but is very authentic and passionate about Tableau and our the #DataFam.

Adam Mico (AM): Reviewing your LinkedIn, your career is sensational. You began as an economist and have worked in management and executive-level data analysis roles. Back when you were in college, studying economics, did you have a career path plan, and has it turned out similarly to what it became?

Annabelle Rincon (AR):

Hi Adam and Priya, Thank you for inviting me to do this interview and for the praise. 😃 I feel both very grateful and surprised. I really like what you are both doing in the community and I never thought of being interviewed one day.

No, I didn’t have a career plan, or it may be better to say that my current career was not my original plan.

During my studies, I was passionate about Financial Risk Management. But I couldn’t find a job in this field, so I started working as a Relationship Manager. As I didn’t feel fulfilled by that job, I decided to try to pass the administrative exams and I managed to enter the French Central Bank as an economist statistician. One of my tasks was to build reports from the data wrangling the printed version. It was very rewarding, I would have stayed there if it was not for my husband. He couldn’t find a job in France and we moved to Switzerland. Funny enough I couldn’t find a job until I crossed paths with Tableau ( this story is described below). I owe the start of my career in Switzerland to the person who believed in me and gave me my first job and to Tableau for being such a wonderful tool.

I had several “restarts” during my career, sometimes by chance or lack of it. I often had to restart working on a junior position.

But I don’t regret any of these struggles, because it gave me a broadened mind, allowed me to understand the stakeholders’ requirements (when you changed jobs so often that I did, you changed also your perspective), gave me a new passion in life (Visual Analytics/ Tableau) and I become the person I am now. 😄

AM: You currently work as the Head of the Tableau Center of Enablement for Vontobel in Switzerland. Please explain what your normal day-to-day is in that capacity and do you have to opportunity to continue to create data visualizations in your role?

AR: I am leading the Tableau Center of Excellence for a swiss bank. But I prefer the term of enablement. The team is very small but we have a large panel of activities:

  • Tableau Server (~30%): We take care of the Tableau Server ( monitoring, setting up security, administrative tasks as creating projects, creating AD groups, demoing, and related).
  • Support & Community (~30%): We are also in charge of license management, onboarding new users, and as Tableau Doctor providing continuous support to the community (anyone can call us and ask us a Tableau-related question). Also, we are in charge of our internal community (writing blogs, organizing Tableau day and monthly community meetings, organizing viz challenges, etc.).
  • Dashboard Building (~40%) For the remaining time, I also building dashboards for other teams. That is the most challenging and fun part of my daily job because I need to understand the needs of very diverse teams and I am always jumping from one task to another 😄

Priya Padham (PP) & AM: What was it about data analytics and data visualization that piqued your passion and did it hit you right away or was it a slow-building interest?

AR: It was love at first sight. I have been working in the data field for almost 15 years now (my first data job was at the French Central Bank as a Statistician) but I encountered Tableau and visuals analytics almost 6 years ago. It was for an interview, where the company was searching for someone willing to learn Tableau (I was struggling to find a job in Switzerland where I moved to follow my husband) — they gave me a dataset and I downloaded Tableau (a funny name I thought it sounds ‘French’). And boom, it was love at first sight! When I noticed what I could do with the tool, how I could easily create maps, interact with the viz, a new world opened to me.

Then I started to become interested in visual analytics and read a lot of books. It is a continuous journey and it is why I love it.

PP: What prompted you to join the analytics (social media) community & what are your tips for people starting in the community?

AR: The first time I tweeted, it was for a Tableau/Google challenge. Also, in my first Tableau Public submission, I did one on Queen Elisabeth II.

I am a very shy person, and I didn’t really get the feeling of the community at first, but I keep in touch and with time, I started contributing more and more. I think that I feel that I didn’t have any legitimacy at first, and while I become better with the tool, I involved myself more.

In the past year, I involved myself more with the Data +Women initiatives and giving more webinars ( I gave 10 in total in French, Spanish, German, and English) because I wanted to give back to the community and Tableau.

My main bit of advice is to not be like me and get yourself involved in the community as soon as you start your journey.

PP: What is your favorite thing about being part of the datafam community?

AR: That I can be myself, viz about what matters to me, have fun, and that no one judges me.

AM: In 2020, you became a Tableau Ambassador. Please explain the excitement when you found out and how being an ambassador affected your work in the community and has it been what you thought it would be?

AR: I couldn’t believe it really. Obviously, I did some tasks for the community but there are so many people doing an amazing job for the community that I didn’t think I deserved the title.

AM: You lead DataPlusWomen Latin America. Please tell us about DataPlusWomen and how it has inspired you?

AR: There are 2 funny stories. For D+W Zurich it started during a Tableau Conference in Berlin, I attended a data plus women meetups and I really liked it. And to tell the truth, I felt both frustrated and lonely. Why didn’t I have a group like this in Zurich? Yes, we have a TUG in Zurich but it was not very active and I couldn’t get involved.

Then I remembered a quote from the Dalaï Lama (yes, I can be very cheesy) “be the change you want to see in the world” and I decided that I will launch this initiative. I couldn’t do it honestly without Olivia Silz (my co-lead). It was very challenging to find speakers but it is also very rewarding, but I didn’t regret it at any moment.

My personal highlight was when we received Libby Duane Adams the Chief Advocacy Officer from Alteryx in Zurich for a physical event. I have to say that we stayed very active during CoVID — it was even easier to convince women to speak because they are not so afraid to speak in public with virtual calls. Maybe that’s my biggest achievement. 😁

For Latam, I meet Gabriela Bouret (Twitter | Blog), Rosario Gauna (Twitter | Blog), and Paula Muñoz (Twitter | Tableau Public) during a Tableau Conference in Las Vegas and I really enjoyed speaking with them. We stayed in contact and we organized regular calls. I personally think that Rosario is currently one of the most acknowledged people in the Tableau Community. She has a blog in Spanish and English but she is not receiving the praise she really deserves. And I was thinking about how I can bring her knowledge to the world. That is why I proposed to launch Data plus Women Latam. Now the events are both in Spanish and Portuguese with Nisa Mara and Rachel Costa. I needed to step down at the beginning of the year as I was asked to bring my energy to another project 😃

AM: Analytics TUG was recently launched and is a hit with our community. Please explain your role with that TUG and how it came to be?

AR: I am co-leading this initiative with Sedale McCall (Twitter | Tableau Public), we received the support of Tableau (Caroline Yam, Laura Ward, and Louis Archer are involved). It is a lot of fun :) I organize the Splash page, co-host events, promote it on social media and help to find speakers :) It is very rewarding :) People are very excited about it because it focuses on how to do analytics in Tableau.

The subjects are quite diverse: parameter, sets, LOD, the order of operations, maps, new features …. Whatever your level is, join, you will surely learn something!

Register here for updates.

AM: You have a diverse portfolio that covers business dashboards, data art, and fun gamey tools. What was the most difficult viz you worked on visible publicly and why?

AR: I would say that I like vizzing in Tableau Public because I have the freedom to choose designs and themes. The main challenge is often the data, as my idea never starts from a dataset, but from a question, which is often so deep in my mind that I need to solve it. :).

For instance, the most difficult viz I worked on was the Tintin viz because I need to work on it for a limited time (it was for an IronvViz qualifier), I didn’t have any data and I needed to obtain approval from the editor to use the images and name (Tintin comic books are very well known in Europe and image right are highly protected). I spend 80% of my time collecting the data manually (I read every comic book and collected the appearance time for each main character per page).

What did I learn? Keep time for design. I had to use the images without touching them, which meant that I needed to use the color background for each character. In hindsight, it may have not been the best choice, so I want to redesign it this year, without time constraints. I have already asked permission to use other images. I will be ready this time!

My Favorite Viz I Published On Tableau Public

(because it even got even a mention in an Italian newspaper)

Credit: Annabelle Rincon (select the image for the interactive version)

The Viz I am Most Proud Of

(because I had so much fun doing some math calculations)

Credit: Annabelle Rincon (select image to access its interactive version)

PP: Are there any specific future Tableau goals and plans or any vizzes currently working on?

AR: I am currently working on a viz project with a friend from the community — it will be published soon! Watch out! It will deflect any negativity you may have. :) After this one, I want to redo an old project of mine and give it a better look and feel. I should know better now, right?

AM & PP: Who are your ‘go-to’ people you always seek out in our community for vizpiration and what are your favorite vizzes of theirs?

AR: I usually don’t look at any one person specifically… it is usually a topic that triggers my curiosity… and I start vizzing. But that is a good idea. I should look at others for inspiration more! I am sure I can improve my design by seeking out other data visualizers’ work.

PP: What music do you enjoy listening to when vizzing?

AR: Latino music! That gives me the energy to finish projects. Specifically, I enjoy the music of Jennifer Lopez, Gente de Zona, Juan Magan,Chino & Nacho, Maluma, Enrique Iglesias, Thalia, and Shakira.

AM: Please share a guilty pleasure or fun fact that many readers may not know about you?

AR: I think everyone knows that I love chocolate and baking. 😋 but I don’t feel guilty. 😀

Credit: Annabelle Rincon

Mico’s Odds and Ends

  • Our Priya will be joining Eva Murray for #MMVizReview (MakeoverMonday) in March. Congratulation Priya!
  • Last week I was proud to release an article for SalesForce Ben titled: Who Are Tableau Ambassadors and How Can You Become One? It was the 1st article by a Tableau person on their incredible and very active blog site and as of this typing is still their most popular post. It was also highlighted in Tableau’s Weekly #DataFam Roundup.
  • I wrote another piece when Zen Masters were announced. It was about learning to be happy for Zen Masters who achieved that amazing status while being a little disappointed about the lack of (public) neurodiverse or autistic representation and being true to your path (wherever that may lead). There are so many new Zen Masters and returning ones I am very happy to see there. Just keep it up and don’t fade; the community needs you more now than ever as we grow and have more gaps to fill.
  • I will be hosting every 2nd VizConnect for the foreseeable future. I’m honored to be on that team and hosting some of the best in Tableau and dataviz every other week is such a special opportunity. Please check out VizConnect on YouTube and subscribe if you have not; it’s free and great content is shared every week. (Community Page | YouTube)
  • I had a chance to speak about #MentoringMeetup at the Nashville TUG. Thanks, Jim Dehner (Twitter | Blog) for the invite (and a big congratulations on a well-earned Zen Master nod). We need mentors, so if you have an intermediate skill level (verifiable Tableau certifications and/or a portfolio on Tableau Public which showcases like skills) and want to share your knowledge please sign up here!
  • I posted a new visualization for the Week 3 of the #DuboisChallenge. This visualization was incredibly fun because it uses a chart type I would likely never use in a real world setting. It basically looks a bit like a pie chart and a Sankey rolled into one. It also reminds me of a two-sided paper fan. It was a bit tricky and used some little hackity-hacks to make it work. I’ll call this a fan-key chart.
Credit: Adam Mico (select the image for its interactive version)

Music Morsel

Whitney Wood (Twitter | Tableau Public), in our #datafam, shared this gem on Twitter before it hit trending on YouTube. This is a bit of a goof from Post Malone, but a lot of fun.

Binge Bite

Allen Hillery (Twitter | Blog) hosted with presentations by Anthony Starks (Twitter | Speaker Deck) and Jason Forrest (Twitter | Site). Jason’s presentation covered the incredible historical value of W.E.B. Du Bois’ work while Anthony focused on his project to bring Du Bois’ data and work to the 21st century. It’s a must-watch for anyone with any desire to learn and appreciate impactful and historical dataviz design by a trailblazer.

Side Note: I believe this is the last day of the Thurgood Marshall Donation Drive where Tableau will match donations up to $10,000, so contribute if you can.

#DataVizThoughts Editing Team

Adam Mico

Twitter | LinkedIn | Tableau Public

Priya Padham

Twitter | LinkedIn | Tableau Public

A Tableau social ambassador geeked out on data vizzes, music + pop culture. Views are very much my own. Priya Padham assists on #DataVizThoughts.

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