Thank you #Datafam

Sometimes it takes time to get the courage to write knowing that someone might read this blog. That’s a bit nerve racking but I ask myself why?  I’ve been in the community spotlight (for lack of a better word).  I tweet about Tableau and share my love for data with others.  I even volunteer as the co-chair of the Tableau Virtual Healthcare User Group.   So why?  What am I so afraid of?

Is it fear of judgement?  It can’t be!  This community is by far the most accepting group of individuals I ever met.  My journey started four years ago, when I discovered Tableau through my master’s program.  As I was learning Tableau, I found Tableau community forums.  I had several questions specific to my work industry, so I reached out to the two individuals that had the most posts; Jonathan Drummey and Mark Jackson.  Both immediately responded and soon they became my mentor, teacher, and most of all friend over the years.  At the time, I didn’t know what it meant to be a Zen Master or that Jonathan and Mark were Zen Masters.  Had I known, I may have felt too intimidated to ask questions or approach them.  However, I quickly realized there is no reason to feel intimidated as this community does not pass judgement or criticize each other.  This community is always willing to help just as Jonathan and Mark did with me.

Maybe I’m just a little shy sometimes.  About three years ago, I finally gave in to social media and joined Twitter.  It opened my eyes to the true love and support offered by the Tableau community.  If I didn’t join, I might have never known that there were people just as passionate about data and Tableau as me.   For a while, I read the different tweets as a bystander in the dark until I discovered Makeover Monday by Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray.  Participating in Makeover Monday pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me learn from the community.  The interaction with the Datafam gave me a voice and opportunity to share similar passions.  While I don’t participate as much now, I still love to see the various dashboards and read the reviews and posts by everyone on Twitter.  Everyone is very good about offering suggestions to improve the analysis and architecture of the dashboards.  The passion for data and to learn is just another thing I truly love about this community.

Is it the lack of acceptance?  Nope not that!  Right before TC New Orleans 2018 someone tweeted about wanting to get a group of people together for lunch and a walking tour prior to the start of the conference.  I chimed in “Yes I’d love to!” – what a great way to finally meet all these people I’ve been talking to on Twitter for the past year.  That Tweet was the best tweet I ever responded to.  At Nola about 30+ people met, some for the very first time, from all over the country to have lunch and converse about how excited we all were to be at the conference.  It really felt like a family reunion even though it was the first time I was meeting everyone.  Our friendships grew strong in NOLA and continue today.  In fact, many of us met again for a hike prior to TC Las Vegas 2019.  We often joke it feels like summer camp.  You know the excitement of seeing all your friends again for a week of fun with data.

So, I still don’t know why I am hesitant to post this.  I may never know but taking the first step by writing this blog will help alleviate my fear.  This community has been a blessing; a gift that I will forever cherish.  Thank you for your kindness, acceptance and friendship. I’m so thankful to part of this Data Family!  I can’t imagine my life without the community.

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