A Recap of My First In-Person Conference Experience After Two Years Behind the Computer Screen
Meeting and Connecting with Influential Women in Analytics at DataConnect
When I was asked to emcee the DataConnect Conference, I was excited to be a part of something that is so close to my heart. The event is focused on connecting women in the data and analytics industry and celebrating their achievements.
I enjoyed moderating the conference and networking with other women in the data industry. The conference included speakers and panelists from Lyft, Bread Financial, Nationwide and so many more. It was great hearing from these speakers about their journey. It was amazing to see how many different paths there are for women in this field, which gives me hope that there will continue to be a growing number of women in leadership roles in the industry of data.
Aside from meeting so many amazing women in data and analytics, one of the biggest highlights for me was having the opportunity to interview Miriam Frieldel, who is the Senior Director, Machine Learning Engineering at Capital One — Center for Machine Learning, for my Fireside Chat at DatatConnect 2022. She discussed what MLops is and why we need to operationalize machine learning. Miriam also spoke of the cultural shift when it comes to operationalization of ML and how it’ll take to the industry:
“There is already a gradual change within the industry, for example at Capital One over 10 years ago they relied on SaaS and now that’s gone and it’s currently open source and python and that happened with gradual change that is happening anyway that will encourage this.”
Another valuable part of the conference was learning about how different companies are using data science and AI to solve problems in their organizations. Some of them had such interesting use cases that they could have been talks on their own! I also enjoyed hearing about people’s backgrounds — some were software engineers who transitioned into data science roles, or vice versa, and some were statisticians who became interested in machine learning after taking an online course or reading a book. They provided great insights into what it takes to succeed in this industry.
We were also lucky to represent DSSElevate at DataConnect. DSSe is part of DataScience.Salon’s initiative to empower and elevate women in the data science field by amplifying their voices. We had the opportunity to interview a great group of women that are leading experts in the industry including founder of Women In Analytics (WIA) Reagan Avon, Mechie Nkengla the CEO and Chief Data Strategist at Data Products, Noelle Silver, Global Partner AI and Analytics at IBM and many more. They spoke about their experiences as leaders in the field and offered insight on how to make your voice heard.
One of our favorite questions we asked was “Who do you look up to in the industry?” Mechie Nkengla answered
“I look up to myself in the future. The idea of this person I want to be. There are so many great people doing fantastic things, the women in our space are killing it. So, if nothing less your future self is above them or at the minimum alongside them in terms of the people you look up to. Craft the idea of you want to be, the leader you want to be and have that be the someone you look up to.”
Last but certainly not least I want to give a big thanks to Rehgan Avon, the founder of Women in Analytics (WIA) and the DataConnect Conference for inviting me to moderate the conference this year and we also had the opportunity to chat with her for DSSe and I would like to leave you with her answer when we asked her what would advice would she give her 16 year-old self:
“Give myself grace. Don’t be so hard on yourself. In life it’s important to give yourself grace.”
It was a wonderful first face-to-face experience after two years of being behind the computer screen! It’s always an inspiration when it comes to connecting women in the industry.
Next up for me in-person is DataScience.Salon Miami on Septemebr 21st =)