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In anticipation for our famous Women of Analytics panel luncheon at Inspire Europe 2018, I sat down with Alteryx co-founder and Chief Customer Officer, Olivia Duane Adams, for a chat about the Women of Analytics initiative here at Alteryx. My desk at our Irvine office is right outside of Libby's corner office - something that might intimidate most people, when in fact, she is incredibly encouraging and welcoming. When I sat down with Libby to capture her thoughts on the Alteryx Women of Analytics initiative and to find out what drives her, I left our interview completely in awe of her insight and contagious enthusiasm for Alteryx.

 

Read on to get to know Libby, learn what her passions are, and what advise she has for you on your journey through the analytics universe.


 

LIBBY-HEADSHOT-WoA.pngOlivia Duane Adams ( @LibbyD )

Chief Customer Officer & Co-Founder, Alteryx

 

Olivia Duane Adams is a founding partner of Alteryx, and as Chief Customer Officer is responsible for overseeing and maximizing the complete Alteryx customer experience, from engagement to on-boarding, communications, performance, and retention. She has interacted with nearly every Alteryx customer, giving her a holistic perspective of the overall platform experience from implementation to adoption success.

 

Follow her: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

What motivated you to pursue a career in Data and Analytics?

 

I view data, first of all, as an asset to any company and I actually use data in my personal life as well. It's that ability to investigate and learn from the data so you can make the best decision, make the right choice, or feel confident in the decisions that you're making. As a business leader, that's paramount. You've got to be able to fight with fact, and those facts can be supported when you're using data as the assets that they are.

Do you have a mentor and how did you find them? Have you ever had a mentee?

 

I'm absolutely honored when somebody approaches me and asks me to mentor them. It shows me that those are individuals that are interested in learning, interested in seeing things from a different perspective, they're not afraid to ask questions and they're willing to get outside their comfort zone because a lot of times, mentor conversations are challenging conversations. I always love when people ask me, “I know you're really busy, and I know you travel a lot but would you be willing to do it?” Mentoring is something I will always make time for because if I can have just a little impact on somebody else to help them work through a challenge, advance something in their career, or see something from a different perspective, that's not only invaluable to them, but also to me. To me, it is so rewarding to watch and see them be able to progress. If you're thinking about getting a mentor, don't ever be afraid to ask. No matter who you want to ask, don't ever be afraid to ask because that's usually the hardest step. Once you get past that, the rest of it is eyeopening.

 

What characteristics in a mentor would you recommend that someone look for?

 

I would recommend looking for someone who is compatible, but also similar in aspirations. What are you as the mentee looking to learn? What do you want to focus on, and does that potential mentor or one of the mentors that you're thinking about have those characteristics, background or vision that you're looking to gain insights to? Look for somebody that you believe has built a track that you potential want to follow. Those would be the characteristics that I would recommend looking for.

 

 

"You will always run into those situations where there're roadblocks but always being able to figure a way around them is key."

 

 

What advice would you give to young women wanting to pursue a career in analytics or data science? 

 

My biggest advice to everyone is to follow your passion. If you're a recent college graduate, or somebody who is looking to make a change in your career, having that passion for analytics and taking it further into data science is something I absolutely applaud. When you follow that passion, it doesn't feel like work. It becomes who you are, and your skills, your talents, and your voice will come out through in the work that you do. For all the women out there - young women, recent high school graduates thinking about college - think about where they're offering curriculum and degrees in business analytics or in analytics in general because there are so many paths you can take. There's so much interesting insight that you can gain when you're able to understand what the data is telling you. The other part that's key is working among people that excite you, thrill you, and challenge you. I was visiting our Technology Center in Broomfield, CO this week, and was talking to a new hire who said, “Libby there're so many smart people at this company,” and I replied, “I know, that's what makes this so exciting!” There are so many smart people who want to make a difference and want to be able to have an impact.

 

What is the best advice a senior leader has given you in your career?

 

Oh gosh. There're probably two things. First is to never let anyone stop you. You will always run into those situations where there're roadblocks but always being able to figure a way around them is key. Second, is, again, to follow your passion and work with people you want to work with. Do something you want to make a difference in. That's huge because so many people, you hear it all the time, they work and they don't enjoy what they do. I've been blessed to not have that situation and so that's why I would encourage everyone to spend time doing what you love doing so it doesn't really feel like work.

  

What do you find most rewarding about a career in analytics?

 

That's easy. Analytics is a discussion, a topic, and a sought-after skill in every company that I have the honor of meeting with anywhere in the world. Data is being viewed as power and by enabling it through analytics, you can see that power everywhere. This year I've had the privilege of traveling and visiting clients in a number of places around the world that are using Alteryx or thinking about using Alteryx, and knowing that this career of analytics has moved from back office to boardrooms to drive business is very, very rewarding. And it's not going to ever stop, it's only going to keep getting more important and more sought after and easier for anyone in an organization to be able to get the right insights from those data.

 

 

"I see more and more women around the world bringing their voice, and their skills forward"

 

This years International Women's Day Campaign is, Press for Progress. What are some ways in which you've pressed for progress for women in analytics?

 

I see more and more women around the world bringing their voice, and their skills forward. A couple of things that we've done here at Alteryx is bring forward the skills, talent and impact that analysts are having on their business. It's not that we call women out especially because they're doing great work just as men are doing great work with our technology, but it's that ability to emphasize the importance of talking about the work that you do, talking about the impact that you're having in the work that you're doing. One of the things that we've done is moved our use cases to the fore front, and a lot of those are powered and built by women that are using the Alteryx platform.


What is your business mantra? What are the three rules that you live by?

 

Never give up. Don't be afraid to try. If we hadn't tried something brand new 21 years ago in building the Alteryx platform, we would not be blessed with this amazing global community of users that we have today. The three rules that I live by are wellness first, stay passionate, and always make time to explore.

 


woa-diecut-sticker.pngThank you Libby for sharing your story with the Community!

 

Join the Movement

  • Get involved in the Women of Analytics Group on Community. Use this space to ask questions, share your experiences, insights and resources, as well as promote your own events or initiatives. Learn more here.
  • Planning on attending Inspire Europe 2018?  Be sure to attend the Women of Analytics Panel luncheon on Wednesday 10th October!
  • Last but not least, take 3-minutes to complete the WoA Pulse Survey. Your feedback will help us understand the challenges you face and drive the Women of Analytics initiatives forward in the upcoming year.
Madeline Johannsen
Community Operations Specialist

Although she’s a Colorado native, Maddie works out of sunny Irvine, California as a Community Operations Specialist. Skilled and experienced at connecting people, Maddie hopes to foster an encouraging analytics culture for learning and collaboration to help grow the Alteryx Community.

Although she’s a Colorado native, Maddie works out of sunny Irvine, California as a Community Operations Specialist. Skilled and experienced at connecting people, Maddie hopes to foster an encouraging analytics culture for learning and collaboration to help grow the Alteryx Community.

Comments
Alteryx Certified Partner
Alteryx Certified Partner

What a wonderful article!  @LibbyD, thank you for your amazing leadership, insight and words of encouragement.  You are a beacon for so many of us pursuing a career in analytics, and an example of accomplishment combined with compassion and grace.  Thank you for all you do!

 

@Deanna