So You Want to Nominate A Tableau Zen Master? Here is your guide to making your nominations count

Adam Mico
4 min readDec 31, 2019

Zen Master nominations are a way many of us can communicate directly with Tableau and honor the people that we feel can contribute on a large scale to the tool’s development, our community and its growth.

Credit: Tableau Software

The community has until 10PM Seattle Time on 1/15/20 to nominate Zen Masters. Michelle Frayman (@maf2k) recently asked me for a breakdown on what is needed to nominate a person for TableauZen Master. I feel this is a beneficial post for the community as a whole, so here is your guide to effectively nominating a Tableau Zen Master.

What do you need before nominating?

Verify and jot down in a Word Document/notepad…

  • How do you ‘Tableau’ know the person?
  • What is their Twitter handle (e.g. their @name)?
  • Do they have a Tableau Public profile?
  • Do they have a blog, website and/or YouTube Channel?
  • Are they already a Zen Master or Tableau Ambassador?
  • Do they have a Tableau Community Forum Profile?
Zen Master nomination basic info section (Page 1)

Nominee Research

Without being able to confirm all of these items (i.e. teaching, mastery and collaboration), the person should not be nominated.

FYI: Last year, the fabulous Lorna Eden (@lorna_eden) created a template to use to help you draft your Zen Master nominations and just touched it up for this year’s nominations. Click here to access her template and for additional clarification, the information below will help guide you!

Teaching Ability

— For this, I feel a great ‘how to’ blog or video presentation explaining design or a concept can really help make your nominee pop.

Teaching Ability nomination section (Page 2)

Tableau Mastery

— The place to go to is their Tableau Public profile. Which viz is a standout in design, practice and skill and uses Tableau as the primary tool for its implementation? If you cannot tell if most of the work was done outside of Tableau, it may be best to find another visualization.

Tableau Mastery Nomination Section (Page 2)


— I would look for a group (e.g. Tableau User Group leadership team), project (collaboration with leadership) or a collaborative viz (with a video or blog or other strong piece to highlight the person’s ability to collaborating); if is is unclear what the person’s role was in the collaboration, look for another one or look to verify it with the person they collaborated.

Collaborator Nominee Section (Page 2)

Links and Explanations

As shown above, besides links establishing teaching, mastery and collaboration, you have up to 500 characters or a little less than100 words explaining these skills to Tableau. It would be beneficial to the person you are nominating and to Tableau to know what you are going to say in advance. Amanda Boyle (@ettaboyle), Tableau’s Community Manager, verified (on Twitter) that using bullet points are great.

Special Qualifications Section

There is a last section which is kind of a potpourri comment section to promote your nominees’ special skills or qualifications. To me, this is what separates a lot of nominees from the pack, so spend a little extra time to think of something that could help your nominee stand out.

Special Qualifications section (Page 3, final page)


  • You can nominate as many Zen Masters as you desire, but putting together a good nomination for your nominees is more essential than ‘getting them in’. Please be mindful to Tableau and the people you want to nominate to make sure their nomination stands out. A good rule of thumb is 20–30 minutes per nominee and a little longer if you need to research them a little more.
  • Here is Tableau’s nomination blog post and a direct link to the nomination form.
  • If you are looking at this and thinking of nominating me, please don’t. I do not meet the criteria; instead, please think of a non-male and/or non-white person to nominate — look at the above picture, Tableau and our community can use more diversity at the top ranks. I think our Zen Masters are amazing, but we have room to improve.
  • For my Zen Master thoughts and nominations, please check out my blog on it.



Adam Mico

Data Visualization and Enablement Leader | Data Leadership Collaborative Advisory Board Member | Tableau Visionary + Ambassador | Views are my own