TL;DR: A sincere investment in the #DataFam can be a life-changer
Flashback to 2019…
I reached a career peak and needed something to keep me stepping forward, so I looked at the software company that roused my career change at 40. Seeing a robust community of Tableau practitioners from all over the world sharing incredible visualizations and conversations felt like a place I needed and could contribute.
The warmth of a virtual fist bump
Many people very early helped me validate the data in our fam. Besides, Toan Hoang (Twitter | Site) who introduced me to the #DataFam on Twitter, I had the immediate opportunity to chat and seek feedback from Zach Bowders (Twitter | Tableau Public), Michelle Frayman (Twitter | Tableau Public), and Sarah Bartlett (Twitter | Site). Besides being incredibly talented data vizzers, they made someone who never felt ‘at home’ anywhere, a perfect onboarding experience while providing a safe space to explore. Hunter Hansen’s (Twitter | YouTube) powerful ‘The Life Autistic’ blog paved a path for me to be my authentic autistic self. When I had virtually no following, Kevin Flerlage (Twitter | Site) made himself available for hours to be interviewed for my blog + his immediate friendship helped convince me of the genuine nature of those in our community. Candra McRae’s (Twitter | Tableau Public) thought-provoking inclusion advocacy made me realize the depth of our family and was the final verification I needed to go ‘all-in’.
There are thousands more that have had a tremendous impact on me at some point along the way, so just sharing the few super influential people early on that helped me become a data point in our community. However, my partner in crime in the past year of this journey has been the uber-talented muse, Priya Padham (Twitter | Tableau Public). Last but not least, Tableau’s incredible team of community advocates. You know Sagar Kapoor (Twitter | YouTube) and Mark Bradbourne (Twitter | Site) (+1 now with Candra!), but many others work behind the scenes at Tableau passionately supporting our community and its current and budding stars.
My new job
Little did I know less than two years later, the #DataFam’s propulsion would lead me to a career path I would have never dreamed of, let alone considered.
I will not go through a long list of experiences afforded to me by the community, Tableau, and partners. It’s been covered elsewhere and will detract from this post’s purpose. So here it goes…
Tomorrow, I officially start my thrilling journey as Keyrus US’ (Site) Tableau Evangelist. Keyrus is a Tableau Gold Partner & a data analytics and digital consulting company with a presence in 20 countries and 3,000+ employees. This opportunity would never have been possible without having a massive growing global community providing a platform to network, share work, and tirelessly support passion projects/initiatives. Please do me a big favor and follow Keyrus US on Twitter and LinkedIn.
I fully expected to retire in 11 years (counting down the days) at the same employer working the same job. I would have been okay because it was little risk, the work I did was challenging and satisfying (from a MacGyver-esque problem-solving perspective), and (besides my immediate family) my personal needs of friendship, inspiration, and impact were all satisfied by my data family. Knowing that I can continue to do that, have it encouraged, and help build it internally with an employer (based on my research when considering this potential opportunity) as a growing entity with a great culture is beyond imagination.
You have no idea what can happen once you commit yourself to the #DataFam. Sometimes, you just need to close your eyes and let your passions guide you. Say ‘yes’ when people ask to collaborate. If you believe you have something that could help others in our community, we have your back and will support you to the fullest.
In a sense, the impact of the #DataFam is magical. The unceasing learning, motivation, and friendships are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It can launch you to places you never thought were within reach; you just need to trust-fall and commit and be as consistent as possible. With that, its magic is multiplied when you have no return expectations because the amount of plaudits and support tends to proliferate when an immediate and measurable return on investment isn’t sought.