November 16, 2020

Women in Data Hackathon 2020 – Most Impactful Story-Telling

Luke Farrugia
Luke Farrugia Head of Marketing

Business challenge:

Equality and Diversity
Women in data

Most Impactful Story-Telling Award: Team Fishing Consultancy

Event Overview

TrueCue’s inaugural Women in Data Hackathon was attended by over 300 participants from 41 countries. This comprised of a mix of students, women returning to work, swapping industries, as well as those in the early stages of careers in data.

Attendees were also joined by 40 facilitators, who collectively boasted over 200 years-experience working in the field of data, from organisations including Google, Balfour, Virgin Media, Lego and the NHS.

Participants were separated into 40 teams, supported by a facilitator, with the task to analyse a global COVID-19 data set, before crafting research questions around COVID-19. This related to areas such effects of COVID-19 on those most impacted countries globally, predicted hotspots around the world and the effectiveness of restrictions put into place across communities.

Teams were then given two weeks to research and analyse data sets, with each team then tasked to submit a short presentation, showcasing their findings and recommendations. Not only did the hackathon provide an opportunity for members of the data science community to connect and address challenges presented by the pandemic but critically, it also shone a light on the importance of promoting diversity and inclusion in the data industry.

Judges of the finalists included, Libby Duane Adams, Chief Customer Officer & Co-Founder of Alteryx, Freya Holland, EMEA & International HQ Analytics Lead at Kraft Heniz, Nicole Johnson, Senior Consultant at T-Mobile, Jen Stirrup, CEO and Founder of Data Relish and James Don-Carolis, Managing Director of TrueCue.

The winners of the most impactful story-telling award, was won by Fishing Consultancy, who analysed different regional responses to the pandemic, depicting their findings to the judges as a news report.

Meet The Team

Name: Laura Fischer

Profession: Principal Analytics Consultant

A Bit About Me:

I am currently living in London and my lockdown coping mechanism has been making fresh pasta and exercising inside (apologies to my downstairs neighbours!).

I worked for British Airways for 6 years consulting for different business areas: identifying the optimal aircraft to purchase; increasing the efficiency of the Revenue Management system;  and improving the loyalty scheme. I managed a small team of analysts and worked closely with my clients to identify and resource analytics projects.

Name: Ida Barlow

Profession: Research Associate

Organisation: Imperial College Business School

A Bit About Me:

I am currently a neuroscientist looking to make the leap from academia to data science and consulting. Although my current research focuses on leveraging a combination of molecular biology, computer vision and data science to understand how drugs and genes affect behaviour, the main ambition in my career has been to approach problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. This in turn has driven me to apply the latest technology and learn the computational tools to solve problems from a big data perspective. I hope to soon find a role where I can apply my quantitative analytical skills to provide data-driven solutions and insights for clients.

Name: Shannon Wong

Profession: MBA Candidate

Organisation: Imperial College Business School

A Bit About Me:

Before starting my MBA, I spent over five years pursuing a career in investment banking. During that time, Ive helped companies across APAC raise funds through an initial public offering, rights issue, and private placements. What I loved the most about my job was connecting the dots between quantitative data and qualitative analysis. To strengthen my ability in identifying patterns and generating valuable insights, I am now focusing on developing my data analytics skills through Python programming.

Name: Divya Shridhar

Profession: Head of Data, Tools and Capabilities

Organisation: BT

A Bit About Me: I head-up the Data, Tools and Capabilities function for BT Group Business Assurance, managing a global team responsible for strategy & delivery of data solutions driving value through assurance & transformation of BT’s products & services.

I am also passionate about empowering business users through democratised data analytics and drives several programs on self-service business intelligence and data literacy. A software engineer and certified advanced lean practitioner by profession, I have over 12 years of experience in telecommunications and software industry.

On the personal front, I am a trained Indian classical musician and live in London with my husband.

Name: Heba Mazhar

Profession: Data Specialist

Organisation: KPMG Netherlands

A Bit About Me: Born to Indian parents, growing up I have had the opportunity of living in 3 different countries surrounded with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This has made me grow intellectually, personally, and professionally.

Since a young age, I have loved mathematics, and I believe like Galileo that math is the language of understanding the universe.

After graduating from Leiden University with a master’s in advanced analytics, working in TomTom and now at KPMG, I have reaffirmed my passion for mathematics and programming.

With data and AI playing a vital role today, I look forward to being a part of creating technologies of tomorrow with data.

Name: Rhian Williams

Profession: Data Science Apprentice

Organisation: AXA Health

After 10 years working in business development in the food industry, in 2019 I took the plunge and decided to retrain as a data scientist. I am now an apprentice at AXA Health, where I work 4 days a week, and study one day a week towards a BSc Data Science at York St John University. Returning to education after so long has been challenging, but I am loving that challenge, and feel like I am learning every single day thanks to great colleagues and amazing events like the TrueCue Women in Data Hackathon!

Name: Sakshi Banka

Profession: Associate Consultant

Organisation: KPMG Thailand

My name is Sakshi Banka, and I am currently working as an associate consultant in Thailand. I work in financial services with banks and insurance firms to provide digital business solutions. At university, I studied International Relations at the London School of Economics and was only exposed to data visualization in a one class. Since then, I have been using Tableau to improve my data visualization skills as I quickly realised how powerful data analytics can be in shaping policy decisions: a topic I intend to explore through a Masters in public policy and data analytics in the future.

Sakshi Banka - TrueCue Women in Data Hackathon Winner 2020

A Word From Our Winners

This hackathon has been a fantastic opportunity for us all to meet other women working in data, learn from each other, and apply our analytics skills in a friendly and fun environment.

We all came from different backgrounds and experiences and had different ideas about what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it! This gave us an opportunity to try different approaches, learn from each other whilst justifying our views and deeply understand the scale and complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rhian taught the whole team how to use PowerBI, and Sakshi contrasted it to Tableau allowing us to compare the two tools. Ida challenged herself by applying her Python skills to a completely new type of analytical goal for the first time. Divya taught us how to spice up the story and make it flow. Shannon showed us all the importance of professional slides. Heba kept us on our toes, challenging us to do our best. 

None of us have worked on a project like this before – such a large group collaborating remotely on the same project. This taught us how to communicate with each other and split the project into unique tasks. It was then hard to identify a clear pattern on a global scale based on the available data and it took us some time to connect the dots and develop a cohesive analysis. We’ll be bringing these learnings back to our workplaces to encourage more collaboration. Hopefully we can learn as much from our colleagues as we have from each other. 
Many of the team are either still studying, or new to working with data. This hackathon has given us confidence in our skills, helping to identify our strengths and weaknesses, and shown us how to apply our skillsets to make a difference. We’ve formed a fantastic support network with each other and are now equipped with the tools to take the next step on becoming world class data scientists.  

The task set and the initial data sets seemed quite a daunting and big challenge at the start, but it was so satisfying how it all came together and we’re all proud of our analyses and presentation, and of course how well we did. Thank you so much to the TrueCue team, Women in Data, and everyone else who was part of bringing this amazing event to life. We had a blast, and can’t wait for the 2021 hackathon! 

Business challenge:

Equality and Diversity
Women in data
Luke Farrugia
Written by Luke Farrugia Head of Marketing

Luke is the Head of all things marketing at TrueCue. With an eclectic track record in planning and implementing comprehensive B2B and B2C growth marketing strategy, across a multitude of industries, including tech, music, travel and education, Luke loves supporting the analytics community with good information, good data and the capacity to derive good decisions, through the lens of TrueCue.

Case Study: Fighting COVID-19 with Data

Learn about how we’re helping the largest Sustainability and Transformation Partnership in the NHS, to use data analytics to improve their response to COVID-19 and save lives.

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