This month we are excited to launch Looker’s Women of Data interview series, which spotlights women leaders in the data field and shares their stories and advice.
We are thrilled to kick things off with a longtime member of the Looker community, Amy Anthony. Amy is the Director of Enterprise Data Operations at SendGrid, a Denver, Colorado-based customer communication platform for transactional and marketing email.
What’s your background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I fell into software implementation consulting, and the easiest way for me to learn the front end of the software was to learn SQL and run queries to see how the data flowed through the backend and then compare to the front end software. That led to my interest in data and ultimately my career focusing on data.
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in pursuing a similar career in data?
If you have a drive and desire you can do it, even if it's not your originally intended career. There's a lot to be said for experience and hands on learning, to grow in your desired career path, outside of traditional training. And remember you have a perspective and voice that is diverse so don't be afraid to speak up.
What you think women in the workplace can do today to help build the foundation for successful careers?
Find a mentor. Cross-train in as many areas as you can to help widen your perspective. Ask questions, that's how you'll learn. If there's someone else that you value how they manage, present themselves or interact with others, spend time with them so you can learn.
“There's a lot to be said for experience and hands on learning, to grow in your desired career path, outside of traditional training. And remember you have a perspective and voice that is diverse so don't be afraid to speak up.”
What has been the biggest surprise in your career?
I think the fact that I love data the way that I do. I love the pipeline of sourcing data, transforming data, making data accessible and presenting it in a way that people can geek out on analyzing it. I love the challenge of staying current with data frameworks and methodologies and the challenge of finding ways to get the right data in front of the right person as fast as possible. I love that when you have governed, transformed business data you really can use it to learn from the past and make improvements for the present and future.
What are some of the biggest challenges in leading today?
The investment it takes to truly be a data driven company.
How are you thinking about dealing with those challenges?
Continued investment in data governance, user adoption, educating on data best practices in providing self-service analytics, and continually finding ways to get data into the hands of our customers faster
Do you think that data can help build a more diverse and equal workplace?
Yes. Data allows for insights, which is simply someone's ability to see something in a particular way and present and display the data effectively. The more people that do this well, the greater opportunity it opens for people to excel in this space, regardless of age, gender and/or background.
How do you think individuals can use data to advance their ideas or careers?
Without data you're just another person with an opinion (W. Edwards Deming). But when you know your business and you know how to use data effectively to explain and analyze your business, then you have just equipped yourself to successfully answer questions and solve problems.
This is a part of the Women of Data, Data of Women series. Check out this post to learn more.