When I first joined DCG three years ago, I never imagined I’d be the go-to data person. My background was in politics and digital strategy, but I knew I enjoyed the technical aspects of my previous job more than anything else. In my first year working for My HealtheVet, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ online health portal, my client encouraged me to explore my curiosity in analytics. He pushed me not only to find answers to difficult questions but also to go a step further. This challenge stoked curiosity and a desire to keep learning about data science and data analytics. I can’t wait to answer a few questions and tell you about how I created my unique path at DCG.
Q: What sort of duties do you have at work?
A: One of the fun things about my job is monitoring real-time website data. Watching thousands of veterans use our site is mesmerizing. It also helps identify trends and potential issues with the site. I also look at daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly website and newsletter data to help our incredible team of content writers decide what to promote and when. We work closely together because, without them, we wouldn’t have a newsletter, but without me, we’d never know how well it performed!
Q: Can you tell us how your previous job in political marketing helped you approach your role with DCG and My HealtheVet?
A: Digital marketing is still a relatively new field to the world of politics. Using data, I had to reframe campaign thinking from a print and television world to one that lives online. I also learned how to break down technical concepts into easy-to-understand terms. These skills prepared me for work at My HealtheVet, where no day is the same. Some days, I need to explain how to make specific web design edits, and others I need to create an ad-hoc data visualization for our client.
Q: The data position with your client was nothing like you’ve created it to be today. Can you explain how you took that role, owned that role, and made a whole new metric for success?
A: When I took this role at DCG, I knew I would be in for a challenge. At the same time, I understood it could be an opportunity because I could make it my own. I used an existing reporting structure and expanded it to include relevant metrics. I knew it was still missing a few components. I knew My HealtheVet has a large, diverse audience with many interests. We had a way to identify popular content but no way of defining content success relative to its audience. I created a scoring system based on the rate of digital engagement that would place all My HealtheVet articles on a level playing field. Including the top five scores in our monthly reports helped us find the most successful content.
Q: How do you define success?
A: This is a tricky one! In terms of my job, beating a metrics benchmark or average. On a personal level, success is getting to do something I love and be good at it. I’ve been a rower for over a decade. I competed throughout college and never stopped once I moved to Washington, D.C. While pushing my body to the limit each morning, I’ve also added dozens of medals to my trophy case.
Q: What are your top three work highlights?
A: My number one highlight was growing the My HealtheVet newsletter to one million newsletter subscribers. A lot of hard work and effort went into achieving this goal. Two, showing off my digital engagement metric to VA leadership for the first time. Three was showing off my first data visualization. Explaining to our client how much reporting time this saved is tied for third!
Q: What advice would you give to recent new hires?
A: In the life of a federal consultant, no day is the same. While this is challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding when you can see your idea evolve into a reality that positively impacts the lives of millions of citizens. I wouldn’t have had the success that I’ve had at DCG without the encouragement from senior leadership to continue my education. Our clients’ needs and initiatives are constantly changing as are new technologies. This past August, DCG supported me on my journey to complete my certificate in data science and data analytics from The George Washington University. Don’t give up the opportunity to keep learning and growing!