Director of Digital Strategy, Analytics and Data Sciences @ Parliament of Canada
I've always been driven to find a way to combine my passions with my professional work. Growing up, I always had a close fondness for the computer sciences and technology and I took several years during my studies thinking about how best to apply it in a workplace to give me an advantage. In the end, it was the meshing of computer sciences and professional communications that led me to my current role as Director of Digital Strategy and Analytics at the Parliament of Canada. After starting off as a data scientist, I was able to quickly demonstrate the necessity and rarity of having someone who can not only run statistical models, but present them to stakeholders in a digestible way for stakeholders. There is always a niche to find in various workplace settings, but sometimes you have to find your passion and create the opportunity yourself. If it is a net gain to the industry you are pitching to, you'll find yourself in a perfect balance between passion and professional.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
When you are trying to create an opportunity and role that has not existed in the past, there are many hurdles to overcome. The biggest hurdle for me was to explain and persuade audiences exactly why the position I was creating was a necessity in the industry, and something to further invest in. I overcame this by creating pilot studies and research endeavors all for the goal of effectively presenting actionable data. If stakeholders cannot wrap their heads around why the position should exist, create a few projects with actionable data and intelligence. When you are presenting, these pilot projects will often reinforce the necessity of the role and stakeholders will often start thinking about all the other possibilities that could exist.
What books are you currently reading?
Currently reading Tales of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Often reading anything in relation to Bitcoin.
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
If you cannot find a role or position that fits within your passion, do not be afraid to pitch the idea of creating the position yourself. Industries are fast evolving, and occasionally hiring departments cannot keep up with the necessities of the company they are representing. If you see a gap that you can fill, present it to the hiring department - and bring a tangible project along with you.
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