Women of Data: interview with Margaret Rosas, Looker’s Director of the Department of Customer Love
Mar 13, 2018
This week, we are very excited to share the perspective of Looker’s very own Margaret Rosas. Since joining Looker over five years ago, Margaret has worn many hats: from release manager to chat analyst to community organizer. Today, Margaret heads up Looker’s Department of Customer Love, the global group of chat support analysts.
In addition to scaling Looker’s DCL, Margaret is a long time pillar of her local community. She connects her two passions - entrepreneurship and technology - by helping to promote burgeoning talent across the Santa Cruz Community with organizations like TechRaising and Santa Cruz Works.
Margaret, can you tell us a bit about your background and how it lead you to get into a career in data?
I’m an accidental technologist, but a native data nerd. Growing up I didn’t gravitate to technology so much, but I was always asking questions about how many people did what, what is popular in different locations, and how did the tabloids justify what their headlines claimed. I wanted to see the data long before I ever knew what the word meant.
But I didn’t connect computers to my data questions until I learned about this little thing called the internet. I was awestruck by the potential to connect people to each other —- the potential of the human network had me at hello world. I started a mad dash to learn how to code and learn every internet protocol I could because I was suddenly determined to be an internet pioneer.
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in pursuing a similar career path to yours?
Understand what drives and motivates you to contribute your best self. Be a sponge for learning new technologies. Learn SQL, it’s the language of data and you will want that foundation no matter how your career unfolds.
What can women in the workplace do today to help build the foundation for successful careers?
Confidence can be hard to come by, but it is essential to leadership. If you don’t feel confident, dig in and figure out how to build your confidence. It might mean learning something new, developing expertise or simply creating affirmations to psych yourself up!
“Leading with the data can shine a light on imbalance and inequities to build a better workplace.”
What has been the biggest surprise in your career?
The fact that I ended up in technology still surprises me. I can remember how I shunned the Computer Engineering program at GW. I didn’t think about why until much later, but I vividly remember walking through the CS buildings and not seeing a single woman student or professor. In reflection, I think I felt greater confidence in the Business school because it wasn’t lacking in gender diversity. It was my passion for the internet that made me completely disregard comfort levels and set my sights on all things internet.
What are some of the biggest challenges in leading today? How are you thinking about dealing with those challenges?
I’ve had to do a lot of work in understanding when and where to use emotion. Emotion can provide fuel to accomplish great things (both anger and passion are great instigators). However, they can also be terribly distracting and ultimately debilitating when used to lead. I know it’s cliche, but this is where data can be the great equalizer. My great challenge in the coming year is to lead with data while also staying true to my emotions.
Do you think that data can help build a more diverse and equal workplace? How so?
Science tells us that diverse ecosystems are the most successful, they flourish while less diverse ecosystems flounder. Leading with the data can shine a light on imbalance and inequities to build a better workplace.
How do you think individuals can use data to advance their ideas or careers?
Gut instincts and hunches are great things to tune into. But they become even more powerful when you are able to support them with data. Develop a strong partnership with your gut instincts and your data savvy to advance your ideas.