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Namita Nair
9 May 2019 . 1 min read

“The Best Algorithm or Data Insight Has No Value If It Can’t Be Applied To Every-Day Actions”


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Rachel Stuve is the Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an investment firm that invests in early-stage women-led companies. She is a technical and strategic leader with a wealth of experience and passion for data science and data-driven decision making. In this conversation, she talks about her journey, data-driven product development, sexism, and advice for women who want to get into the data industry.

Namita: Rachel, you have a wealth of experience in data analytics and product management. Can you tell us a bit about how you got interested in this field and your journey so far?

Rachel: I love to build things and figure out problems. I’ve loved doing this since I was a child. There’s just something invigorating about taking a concept or issue and finding a solution. Combined with the rapid pace of change in the tech field, data analytics is a great blend of problem-solving, technology, and fast-paced change, so I was naturally attracted to the field.

Every day is different for me and my career has progressed through many different learning paths. I love the constant change and ability to have an impact across multiple different industries.

Namita: In all your roles you have spent a lot of time setting up data analytics strategies for organizations. Can you give us more insights into this process?

Rachel: Every organization or customer is different, so each strategy is unique based on the industry, customer lifecycle, and readiness for analytics. Regardless of the outcome, every plan needs to start with an assessment of the current situation and the discovery of future business goals. The plan to get from Point A to Point B is rooted in the understanding of Point A and Point B, so undertaking this evaluation is key.

Namita: What are some of the biggest lessons you learned in this realm of work?

Rachel: Some of the biggest lessons learned are the importance of clear and concise communication. As I say, “de-mystify analytics” to make it simple to understand and apply. The best algorithm or data insight has no value if it can’t be applied to every-day actions.

Namita: There are women in all stages of life in our community and even though every journey is different, sexism is a common thread in almost every experience. What is your advice for them on how to combat these challenges?

Rachel: The biggest advice I have is to know that one deserves to be “at the big kids’ table” – and once she believes that, ensure that all her actions display this.

Confidence in oneself is key, and exuding that confidence to ensure that others also respect and believe is what can make the difference. Speak up at meetings. Ask for the challenging assignment. Network. Communicate with senior leaders. Be prepared for meetings. Take risks. Find a mentor or business sponsor. Lift up others and build teams. Be humble, but stand up for what you deserve.

Namita: In our community, there are Mothers who took a sabbatical and are trying to get back to work, especially into the field of data science. They often feel under confident and unsure about themselves and their skills. What are some of the basic skills and qualities you recommend they acquire?

Rachel: Technologies always change: what’s hot today won’t be hot tomorrow. Soft skills never change.

Organizations always need good communicators, organized leaders who manage multiple priorities, critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities. It can be difficult to be out of the workforce, and it can be intimidating when one feels that things have changed beyond recent technical experience.

Highlight and believe in the soft skills that are technology agnostic and speak to analytical and soft skills – these are the most valuable skills to many employers. Even if one doesn’t have a “technical” job, highlight the situations where these soft skills were applied and play up your strengths!

Namita: What inspires you every day?

Rachel: Making a difference in people’s lives inspires me every day. From the ultimate end-user having a better experience to the team member who needed a pick-me-up, being a force for good in my community and showcasing leadership gives me the boost to love what I do and who I am. I have a poster in my office that reminds me of this every day:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are a leader.”

For more such insights and cool interactions with achievers and veterans from the fields of AI, DA and ML head to our SHE Drives Data community. The #SheDrivesData series is celebrating women in tech and data. We want our data sisters to join us in this celebration.


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Namita Nair
Founder and Moderator of She Drives Data - The Data Science Community on SHEROES

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