Using visualization, storytelling, and design thinking to transform how we use data for social good
I find creative ways to help people use data to answer questions and make decisions. My work has taken me to more than a dozen countries to collaborate with teams on designing visualizations and to facilitate workshops to build data visualization and design capacity.
On design, data, development, and global health.
hOW i GOT HERE
Working as a Visual Analytics Advisor
Every day, I have a new challenge as I support projects, clients, and teams across my organization to find creative new ways to visualize information. From collaborating on designs to facilitating workshops, I'm in my element helping teams make their learning accessible to others through visualization.
Facilitating my first data viz workshops overseas
As an advisor to one of our projects and its grantees, I had my first opportunity to take the training materials and workshops I had designed and honed within JSI to community-based organizations in the field. Customizing the content to the local context - in this case, Zimbabwe HIV data and stories - was critical to making sure my participants saw themselves and their work in the data visualization and communications materials we were designing together.
Since then, I've continued to facilitate workshops around the US and overseas, always tailoring and adapting content to the local context.
Creating a new community for data visualization enthusiasts
While collaborating with colleagues on a data visualization eLearning course, we were frustrated there was no community of practice for data visualization enthusiasts in the global health and development community.
To connect our colleagues interested in tools, resources, and best practices to bring their data to life with visualization, we founded the Data Visualization for Development community and started up DataVizHub.co for resource sharing. As of 2016, we have nearly 600 members from more than 50 countries.
My catalytic moment around data visualization as a discipline
Having demonstrated some skills in basic data visualization design, I was picked as one of our staff to attend the STRATA conference in California. The conference was my first time being exposed to a lot of great data viz tools, but more importantly the concept of data visualization as a discipline with its own set of standards, best practices, and a vibrant creative community of practitioners.
I came back to JSI and read visualization books and blogs insatiably, and started hosting monthly "designstorms" to share what I was learning with my colleagues. Teams started tapping into me for advice on different graphs, charts, and other visuals, which laid the foundation for my future role at JSI.
Started in my job at JSI
Having worked on projects as an analyst and program officer for two years, it was exciting to take on a new challenge in a more "corporate" role where I worked across multiple projects and teams. My job blended communications and evaluation work, providing more opportunities to hone my research and design skills.
Starting working at the intersection of data analysis and communications.
My first job after finishing my MPH was as a Public Health Analyst on a project that supported the USAID Global Health Bureau. Among my responsibilities was collaborating with graphic designers and technical editors to develop country profiles, web content, and more that embedded data within narrative.
Since that first job, I've always sought out opportunities to blend my data-savvy with my creative streak.