1st Data+Women Meeting

On Wednesday, March 23rd I held the first Milwaukee Data+Women Meetup at Anodyne Coffee. Seven people attended (including myself) and we discussed a variety of things. I began the conversation explaining why I wanted to start the group but that I was struggling with the group’s purpose. I posed a question to the group to get an idea of why they chose to attend.

Purpose
Most people wanted to network with like-minded individuals and learn about what others are doing with data and the tools they use. Additionally, having a place where women felt comfortable speaking up was an important attribute. Reflecting on the meeting, I believe we accomplished the objective.

Mentoring
Our conversation began with mentoring. It was a topic that stuck with me when I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Starting with an anecdote about a human resource intern who approached me to get involved with analytics, we discussed how we can support other women or get younger women interested in data science. A good point was made about keeping women in the field of data as some of the participants had experienced women leaving their departments.

Tools
The idea of the meeting came from a Tableau leaders webinar. At the last Tableau Conference a Data+Women panel was held and more recently the San Francisco TUG held their own meeting. So obviously when I began organizing the meeting I shared the information with the Milwaukee Tableau User Group. While Tableau brought us together, the conversation was applicable to all. Actually two of the attendees aren't Tableau users (yet).

We discussed some of the data science tools available, one of which was Tableau. Since most of us were familiar with Tableau we spent more time discussing Alteryx, R, and Hadoop. Alteryx is a data preparation tool and one other user had experience with it. R is a statistical programming language and Hadoop is a database for unstructured data.

Learning
This topic lead us to talking about how to learn new things. It can be difficult to know what you need to learn, but even more difficult to take the initiative to learn it. You have to make time, focus on the subject, and then try to translate what you learn into actual implementation. We discussed the best websites to facilitate learning and how we each learn on the job.

I found an interesting image the other day that I shared with the group. It's called the Imposter Syndrome and it seemed to apply to other participants.


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