Give Back & Join a Project

I recently got the amazing opportunity to speak another year at the Tableau Fringe Festival. Quick fact I’ve learned about myself: podcasts and live recordings frighten me. I like direct eye contact, which is hard to do on a recording. Long story short, one of my goals this year is to improve my public speaking skills. With that said, I skipped over some really important points in my talk that I want to make sure are said loud and clear, so I’m writing them in my blog. Hope you enjoy and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

The Tableau Community is filled with many opportunities to give back. I believe there’s three categories within the community that you can give back to:


From my experience, most people give back by staying active on Twitter, Tableau Public or starting their own blog to share their Tableau journey. Another way to stay active in the community is to attend local events to meet new people to bounce ideas off of and share your experience with. The third is really important. Make sure you are giving yourself time to continue to develop and grow. For me, being a part of projects in the Tableau Community has helped me develop my skills the most. Here are a list of some projects where you can easily jump in and get to work:

  • Makeover Monday
    Makeover Monday is led Andy Kriebel & Andy Cotgreave. The purpose is to “quickly take a foreign data set and turn it into a more meaningful visualization.” The data is published on Andy Kriebel’s blog every Sunday. This project is for all levels of Tableau users – whether you are just now getting started or a Tableau vet, this is a great way to stay active creating. I’ve decided to block off an hour every Monday on my calendar so that I’m constantly working with data outside of work. This project encourages quick creation by encouraging the participants to only use an hour of their time.
  • The Reviz Project
    The Reviz Project was started by myself, Matt Chambers, Nelson Davis & we recently talked Peter Gilks into joining us as well. Each month we appoint a leader. The leader selects a dataset or visualization to “reviz” – to tell a different story than what is already being told. After the leader has selected the data and created a viz, the rest of the group will create their response to the leader’s viz by telling another story. The final week the data is open for the community to tell their own story. The purpose of this project is to show that one dataset can have multiple stories and perspectives on how to tell different stories.
  • Tableau Torch Contests
    The release of Tableau 10 is right around the corner…& so are the Summer Olympics! To get the community involved, Tableau has a torch relay of their own. Follow the Tableau Torch as it makes its way around the world here ( Not only is there a torch relay but there is also competitions/events you can participate in, as well. There are 5 rounds you can compete in. Each round focuses on a different new feature that is coming with Tableau 10. We’ve already made it through two rounds (highlighting & formatting) and we have three to go (clustering, mobile dashboards/device designer & custom territories). The winner of each round also gets a ticket to Austin!
  • Iron Viz Feeder Competitions
    What is Iron Viz you may ask?
    Iron Viz is the ultimate battle of Tableau skills. Three challengers are selected based on contests held through Tableau Public. The challengers will face off head-to-head in a 20-minute viz battle in front of a live audience at the Tableau Conference. – Jewel Loree
    The first and second round are complete and the third contest should be announced in the next month – keep an eye on the Tableau Public blog.
  • Monthly Tableau Public Blogs
    Have you recently started a blog and not quite sure what you should blog about? Each month Tableau designates each month to a topic around Tableau. These are great guidelines to expand your knowledge and give depth to your blog. Here are some examples of past months:
  • Tableau Foundation Service Corps
    The Tableau Foundation is one of my favorite parts about Tableau. The Tableau Foundation is a group of Tableau employees and partners who “believe that data can unlock innovation and drive collaboration to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.” Tableau offers grants, fellowships and assistance to nonprofits and other organizations that are trying to solve world issues. The Tableau Foundation also has a volunteer-based program where you volunteer your time to help nonprofits get up and running with Tableau. Are you signed up but haven’t received any notifications from Tableau? It’s likely because there isn’t a project available. Be proactive and find a nonprofit in your area that is looking for Tableau talent, reach out to the Tableau Foundation for support and start helping those in your own backyard. This is an excellent way to get a group of people in your community together (maybe from your local TUG) and serve the community.
    I know many of us have crazy schedules and committing to another project is just not feasible. You’re in luck! The Tableau Foundation is working on a project with the PATH Foundation to #visualizenomalaria. Part of the project is getting insights through maps and geographical features. Unfortunately the open street maps for Zambia aren’t as robust as they are in, say, USA or the UK. To get the data we need, we are crowd sourcing. For the next few days, think about blocking off your lunch hour to help map buildings in Zambia. Details on how to do this can be found here.

Please reach out to me if you’d like any help getting your work out there. The Tableau Community is like a tight-knit family that’s supportive, engaging and eager to learn more.

Inspiration for the History of the Olympics Viz (Reviz)

For me the Reviz Project is about telling an exciting story but also for me to gain some new skills along the way. I love looking at Pinterest and design blogs to get inspiration for visualizations. I found a stunning visualization about the summer Olympics:


When I first saw the infographic I had three questions:

  1. How can I recreate this in Tableau?
  2. What events are in each sport?
  3. Who won each event for a particular year?

Shortly after finding the above infographic, I saw Dash Davidson’s viz on the Summer Olympics. While the static infographic is beautiful, I had questions of my own that I wanted to answer. Using the data from Dash’s viz (with his permission 🙂 ) and staying in the spirit of Reviz, I decided to recreate the infographic in Tableau. I had general ideas on how to accomplish this from reading Chris Demartini & Bora Beran’s blogs. I ended up downloading a workbook Bora had published and completely dissected it to finally get the radial timeline working. This is what makes Tableau Public so great – downloading other vizzes, dissecting them and figuring out how you can apply it to your next viz.

Another really amazing part about the Tableau Public community is having so many people willing to peer review immediately. I reached out to some people I really admire in the community that gave me feedback & critiques for the viz. Each gave me unique changes that helped craft the story I was trying to tell and give direction to the user. If you ever need feedback, look into reaching out to your peers to get a different perspective.

For this Reviz Project I decided to borrow an idea and add to it to help answer some of the questions I had when I first looked at the visualization. How can you take an idea and add to it to answer your questions? I also made sure I got this viz peer reviewed and continue to edit based on the feedback. Make peer review a priority to make your vizzes the best they can be!

Check out my version here & feel free to continue to give me feedback 🙂






Ladies, it’s IronViz Season

One personal goal for me this year is to be an encourager for the women in this community. I believe part of encouraging someone also includes accountability. With that said, I want to share some facts about the beloved, sacred, scary event that is the IronViz Competition.

  • In the past 5 years, there has only been ONE woman who holds the title of an IronViz Champion.
  • Last year there was a total of 67 unique submitters across the three qualifying competitions.
  • Of the 67, only 6 women submitted an entry for an IronViz qualifier competition. (Come on, Ladies!)

So today, I want to encourage all of the ladies in the community to step up, get out there & SUBMIT A VIZ! I don’t know about you but I LOVE food and that’s what this current competition is all about. I know there are some really talented women in this community and I want to see them represent all the ladies in this amazing community!

Check out the viz I created to encourage the ladies to SUBMIT.
Direct link for the competition details.

The Women of Tableau: Last Day

It’s been an incredible month! I’ve gotten the privilege to highlight some amazing women within the Tableau community. The ladies that I’ve spotlighted give their free time to the community – helping those who have been in the community for years and welcoming the newbies that are just getting started. Zen Masters, Social Ambassadors, Viz of the Day/Week winners, Data+Women meetup organizers – these are just some of the titles these women have added to their resume, but the titles pale in comparison to the work, love & help these women give daily to this community. Each of these women have helped mold me into a better vizzer, blogger & person. I hope you’ve been encouraged by this blog series and continue to help others!

Before I close out this blog series, I have to complete the last day with a group of men within the community. The men I’m going to list helped me craft this blog series. While I had a handful of women in my mind that I wanted to spotlight, I wanted more community involvement, specifically from well-known men in the community. I asked each one of them to email me the names of the data viz women within the Tableau community that inspired them. I was SO overwhelmed with the response. Each man listed took the time to list multiple women and the reasons why each woman specifically had an impact on their data viz journey. I was left speechless and with a long list of really amazing women.

The Data+Women movement within this community is not just a Women’s event. For diversity to really make a movement, you need both parties to interact, to chat and to encourage one another. I’m so thankful for these men. Thank you for encouraging others & making this community great.

Jeffrey Shaffer
Jonathan Drummey
Paul Banoub
Allan Walker

Matt Francis
Andy Kriebel
Peter Gilks
Nelson Davis
Matt Chambers
Rob Radburn
John Mathis

Joshua Milligan
Kevin Chaplin

Chris DeMartini
Paul Chapman
Ryan Sleeper
Robert Rouse
Adam McCann
Chris Love
Mark Jackson
James Young
Steven Carter

I wasn’t able to spotlight everyone nor was I able to ask every man in the community who inspires them. I would love to hear from the community on those that inspire you and why they inspire you. Please fill out the google form so I can share more inspirational people and stories within the community.

The Women of Tableau: Day 17

The Women at the Information Lab’s Data School

The current Data School team is a bunch of rock stars, especially the women on the team! It truly is unbelievable that these students have just recently started their Tableau journey. The Data School is led by Andy Kriebel and many other highly talented individuals (one of which was highlighted earlier this month). The Data School focuses on teaching the students to become the next generation of Tableau & Alteryx Jedis. They are definitely living up to the goal. Check out some of the blogs these women have written:

Emily Chen
Lorna Eden

Simona Loffredo
Simona Loffredo

Nai Louza
Nai Louza

Benedetta Tagliaferri
Benedetta Tagliaferri

Anuka Teggart
Anuka Teggart

I can’t wait to see what else these women come up with!

The Women of Tableau: Day 16

Martha Kang

Martha is an editorial manager at Tableau. She helps bring the community together by sharing compelling stories within Tableau. Martha finds examples throughout the community of data-driven journalism and shares them with the community by posting on Tableau Public and Twitter.  Her passion for equality within the community is also very evident. She is constantly sharing and writing articles that show the gender gap within the technology industry. I thoroughly enjoy following Martha; she’s constantly sharing stories that move me, that encourage me to create visualizations that impact the community. Her positive attitude and willingness to help others is known throughout the community.

The Women of Tableau: Day 15

Katherine Rowell

Katherine is one of the leaders within the healthcare data viz space. She is the co-writer of Tableau for Healthcare and also the co-founder of HealthDataViz. She is helping spread data viz throughout the healthcare community through consulting, writing and sharing knowledge through public speaking and blogging. While her focus is within the health care industry, her blog is helpful for any industry looking to visualize their data better. You can view the public portfolio of HealthDataViz here.

Becoming a Woman of Tableau: Week 3

It’s been three weeks filled with sharing with the community the women that have inspired so many of the community. Writing each of these blogs each day has been the highlight of my day. Doing this constantly reminds me why this community is great. I’ve never been part of a community that’s so willing to help each other out. For this week’s tip, it’s all about taking advantage of the awesome community interaction.

Peer Review.

Do this. Before you publish, get someone to view your work. After you publish, continue to work on your viz based on community feedback. Twitter is an excellent resource to get people to view your work. I’ve created a network of skilled Tableau users that I feel very comfortable sending my visualizations to and making sure that I’m telling a story, I’m staying consistent throughout the viz and that it functions the way it should. Little details can be quickly overlooked but can make a huge difference in telling an impactful story. Always feel free to mention me on Twitter. I’d love to help you create the best viz you can create!

The Women of Tableau: Day 14

Erin Stevens

Erin is a key leader in the #DataPlusWomen movement we have within the community. She is constantly encouraging more women to get involved. If you’re interested in starting your own Data+Women meetup, Erin wrote a really helpful blog to help you get started. Many of Erin’s blogs are focused on the issues and triumphs of women. Erin is also very active on the Data+Women Tableau Community site. She asks thought-provoking questions and helpful links that spark conversations throughout the community.