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Big Data / Interviews

An interview with Jana Marle-Zizkova, Co-founder and MD of ‘She Loves Data’

Jana Marle-Zizkova of She Loves Data

Our world is a completely data and tech-driven world. Global experts say the Fourth Industrial Revolution is already here – a complete technological revolution that will influence and impact all aspects of our societies and communities. Women need to be ready and start investing in the technological skills they need for the future – today.

There are women throughout Asia who are hungry to have their voices on tech and data heard. But many of them feel nervous or hesitant to jump ‘all in’ and pursue a career in the industry. Many women hide their passions and skills for analytics, data science and data visualization, without the support necessary to flourish and fully realize their career aspirations.

Wire19 recently interviewed Jana Marle-Zizkova, Co-founder and MD of She Loves Data, to learn how her organization is getting more women interested in data, and inspiring them to pursue careers in data and tech.

1. To begin with, give us a brief about She Loves Data. Where did this all started and how the idea popped up in your mind?

The tech and data industry is one I have personally been involved with for more than 20+ years – and over those two decades, as the popularity of the industry has grown, so too has my revelation that not enough women are seated at the ‘tech’ table. In 2016, I experienced a defining career moment. We were running a data hackathon event – and again, had an almost all-male turnout. I turned around to see Czechitas, a company setting up courses in Europe for women to learn about data and tech and that was a lightbulb moment.

We should start something similar in Singapore. When we posted information about our first data workshop for women in Singapore – the results completely blew us away. Within a few days, we had almost 500 ladies registered. And the response wasn’t a one-off. The situation was the same wherever we took the idea – Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and beyond.

Two years on, and our global not-for-profit organization She Loves Data has grown into an online community of more than 5,000 women located not only in Asia, but in many other parts of the world – and it’s only the beginning.

2. You strongly debate the role of women in technology. Please elaborate in context of data, technology and analytics.

Our world is a completely data and tech-driven world. Global experts say the Fourth Industrial Revolution is already here – a complete technological revolution that will influence and impact all aspects of our societies and communities. As women, we need to be ready and start investing in the technological skills we need for the future – today. Data is everywhere – not just in the tech industry – and we can maximize it for our advantage. There are women throughout Asia who are hungry to have their voices on tech and data heard.

I also know that many of us may feel nervous or hesitant to jump ‘all in’ and pursue a career in the industry. Many women hide their passions and skills for analytics, data science and data visualization, without the support necessary to flourish and fully realize their career aspirations. Now, more than ever before, I am convinced we need more women in tech and data in Asia – industries that can be, for the most part, dominated by males worldwide.

Women have skills and abilities to bring to the industry that don’t currently exist. Diversity is important to excel and drive better results. In fact, data and digital literacy are one of the foremost skills we as women need in our ever-growing, globalized world.

3. How do you help women who want to make it big in data analytics and learn its specifics? Do you have any workshops or similar training sessions?

There is a shortage of data analytics and data scientists and by building up the community, we hope to help bridge this shortage by getting more women interested in data. She Loves Data is all about empowering women to take their place at the tech table. Our organization inspires women to pursue careers in data & tech, and helps them be bold in their pursuit of a new career.

We provide education and events across Australia and Asia for women to get their bearing, learn the foundations of data analytics & business intelligence and find their #DataTribe. The one-day free workshops we started with were incredibly popular, and we soon realized we had so many women from so many different walks of life joining. It gave me the revelation that our movement was not only about data-related knowledge, it was also about breaking industry-related barriers that different cultures placed on women. We worked hard to inspire all women, by introducing teaching to help women succeed in business, and as people.

Women should be empowered to pursue their dreams and get the careers they want. Our workshops now start to help women step out of defined boundaries, develop a growth mindset, define their personal brands and build resilience. These skills are applicable in all careers. So, when you invest in a global community of women in tech by joining She Loves Data and attending our events, you’re also investing in yourself.

4. Do you have branches in any other countries too?

She Loves Data is a regional movement covering Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Jakarta and Hong Kong. In 2019, we will be expanding into Malaysia and the Philippines. We plan to start activities outside of Asia in 6-9 months.

5. How is the data and analytics industry evolving and why it’s good for women to enter into this field?

By all accounts, the international landscape has become a completely data and tech-driven world. There will be unprecedented technological breakthroughs in the very near future that all of us (both male and female) need to be equipped to manage and support.

Global research shows that teams with more diversity perform better. We know that males and females bring different ideas, backgrounds, perspectives, learnings, skills and innovation to the table – which can broaden horizons, expand effectiveness and improve our industries and societies.

A future guided by tech and data is inevitable. We need men and women to steer the world forward and continue to create, innovate and establish. But in order to achieve that, we need to start supporting women to develop tech and data skills – in a variety of different ways from workplace culture to accessibility to education, growing tech communities, ensuring collaboration, developing inclusivity and helping more women access the opportunity to play a key role in our global future.

6. You also conduct several women-oriented events based on the theme of data. Please let us know about few of those upcoming events.

All our upcoming events across Asia and Australia are posted online at shelovesdata.com, and our Facebook page – facebook.com/shelovesdata. We partner with many organizations globally to deliver a variety of tech and data workshops, bootcamps, business workshops and more. Check our pages online for the latest events coming in 2019! As we speak we are working on plans for exciting 2019.

7. What do you think Is the importance of data in digital marketing. Elaborate in context of your Asia’s First & Only Digital Bootcamp in Malaysia.

The two-day Bootcamp empowered more than 40 female entrepreneurs in Malaysia, focusing on upskilling attendees on critical aspects of business success: good branding and digital marketing. She Loves Data was proud to be one of three tech partners supporting the event. I presented a session on the importance of data and marketing at the Bootcamp.

The event was organized by FEM (Female Entrepreneurs Movement) – we were thrilled to join forces, supporting women in the region to boost or change their careers. My session was focused on embracing data in marketing – helping female entrepreneurs build and harness a single-customer-view in business.

Regarding data in digital marketing – many professionals in marketing have been trained in traditional marketing. Our global future will ensure that data is not just an important factor in digital marketing – but in fact it will be the centerpiece.

Data is the ‘new black’ in business. Businesses need to harness data to maximize their digital marketing activities for real success. Consumers expect organizations to speak to them in a targeted way – and businesses need to interpret their data correctly in order to enhance their decision making and relationships with consumers.

8. Why did you chose to be a non-profit organization?

I started She Loves Data to help women worldwide, with the firm belief that more women are needed across the tech and data industries globally. Our non-profit gives women access to the skills, support and opportunities necessary for great careers in tech and data.

We are proud to be an international not-for-profit – She Loves Data is all about empowering women to take their place at the tech table. She Loves Data is proudly supported by tech startup Meiro. Meiro is a Customer Data Platform, available globally, working to revolutionize how companies manage and activate one of their most valuable assets: first-party data.

9. Any plans for expansion in the upcoming year?

Yes, She Loves Data will be expanding to Malaysia and the Philippines in 2019 – get ready, girls!

Suggested reading: “By 2022, carriers that do not transform will be stuck with an outdated operating model and legacy mindset.”— Philippe Millet, i3forum

10. Please share a message for the female readers who aspire to make it big in the big data world out there.

Getting involved with She Loves Data is more than signing up for the latest business advice for data and tech – it’s about joining a #DataTribe, a community of other like-minded women to help grow and advance your interest and careers in the tech and data industry.

Joining the She Loves Data #datatribe is about joining an international community – a community that is inclusive, supportive, strong, non-judgmental and provides a space for women to truly invest in, and develop, their gifts and skills in tech and data. Together, we can break barriers and build relationships and friendships to last a lifetime.

My message for female readers is to embrace the unknown! Always be curious to learn and open yourself to learn new things in the tech and data industries. If you aspire to make it big in the big data world, look for mentors and ask people for help – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice – women who have built careers in this industry are eager to share their knowledge and give back. Remember, it is never too late to learn!

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