Meg has been with DataDrive for a year and a half as an Analytics Consultant. She enjoys the variety of work she gets to do as a part of the DataDrive team, and has spent the last year diving deep into cloud engineering. She loves learning and exploring the various cloud ETL and data warehousing platforms to help find strategic solutions for her clients. Some of her favorite projects have involved laughing, having fun, and collaborating with the DataDrive team.
Meg attended Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. While she graduated with a major in Global Business, she initially entered college with the intention of majoring in Political Science and ultimately becoming a lawyer. Part of obtaining her Global Business degree was taking a few Intro to Analytics courses, which were her first experiences in tech, and also served as her introduction to what would become her minor. The Business Analytics program at Hamline was new to the university, and her junior year, Meg’s advisor and the analytics faculty encouraged her to continue with analytics courses beyond an introduction. Motivated by the seemingly endless opportunities she saw in tech, Meg continued with her Business Analytics courses and even became a tutor for new students entering the program, before graduating with a minor in Business Analytics.
Around the office, Meg is known as a go-getter. She approaches projects headfirst with an eagerness to learn, and a hunger for getting things done and doing them right. She’s the type of person to say "Don't ask me to do something, unless you want it DONE!" in a way that is both completely nonchalant and absolutely accurate. It should come as no surprise that in addition to constantly expanding her abilities, knowledge, and experience as an Analytics Consultant at DataDrive, Meg is also pursuing her Master’s of Science in Business Analytics at Hamline University.
Celebrate Each Other Often
One of DataDrive's core values is to Celebrate each other often. Here are a few things the team had to say about Meg during a recent birthday celebration:
"You're such a go-getter and unafraid of trying anything new while always succeeding like a freaking champ!" -Megan Lukonen
"MEG you are DataDrive's official OG - you came in as a new consultant kicking butt and showing users how well you can deliver for them! I was so glad to have another lady, and a strong, smart, independent one at that!! It's been so cool to see you flourish and find your niche in leading data engineering projects, all while going to school. Hoping for amazing things for you in your next year of life." -Kaela Dickens
"Your ability to take on and KICK A$$ at anything thrown your way is remarkable and so inspiring!! I’m honored to be able to call you my co-worker." -Jeff Plattner
"I am always amazed at all the crazy things you simultaneously learn AND deliver for clients at the same time, and do them so well. You are truly a #dataqueen." -Trent Haun
An Interview with Meg
Were you interested in tech as a kid?
Meg: Not really! I spent most of my time as a young kid outdoors in the rural area that I grew up in.
Were you interested in entering tech in high school? Were you a part of any tech or STEM clubs?
Meg: I had just started to become aware of tech in high school. There were not many opportunities at my really small school to explore tech. I did try to get involved with our small Robotics club, but I found that the competitive programming or coding roles were not often given to my female peers.
What has been the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve encountered thus far? How are you working to overcome it?
Meg: The biggest challenge so far is something that I am still working on, rather than one unique experience. I, like many others, struggle with Imposter Syndrome on a regular basis. I’m still early in my career, so there are times when I feel like I do not have enough experience or expertise. Sometimes it holds me back from speaking up or making a strong first impression.
Speaking mantras has been really helpful for me in those moments of self-doubt. My colleague Kaela inspired me to find personal mantras to boost my confidence. Before a meeting or in stressful moments, repeating an encouraging mantra has helped to shift my mindset to be more positive and confident.
How would you like to see these challenges prevented in the future?
Meg: My hope is that if more people are open to sharing their experience and how they manage Imposter Syndrome, we will see less and less people struggling with it in the future. At the very least, we all won’t have to deal with it alone.
Do you have any advice for your younger self?
Meg: I would tell my younger self that it is okay and completely necessary to ask for help sometimes. You do not need to say yes to everything that comes your way just because you are afraid to disappoint anyone.
How do you feel about the accessibility of tech? Do you think it’s truly a field for everyone?
Meg: I do think that tech is truly a field for everyone. If you have passion for it, there are a multitude of different education and career paths that one could follow in this industry.
Now, anyone achieving success and advancement in the tech industry is a different story, because the tech industry is not very diverse. Tech companies need to change how they recruit and retain talent, amongst other practices, before it becomes a truly accessible industry for everyone.
Do you think tech has become more accessible since you started your journey?
Meg: I would say the education or experience barrier has slightly decreased in the past five to ten years. Luckily, there are now many free ways to skill-up in programming and analytics. A degree in computer science or analytics is not necessarily a requirement to become a successful developer or analyst.
That said, efforts to make tech more accessible to underrepresented communities have a long way to go. I’m glad those conversations have been started, and companies are being more transparent about those efforts, but we’re still very much in phase one.
How do you think the tech industry can improve accessibility?
Meg: There are a variety of workplace practices that can improve accessibility. One way is to recruit candidates from non-traditional educational backgrounds. Having regular pay equity audits is a great way to make sure your employees are being compensated appropriately. Flexible working arrangements, like working from home, is a huge component that makes a workplace more accessible for working parents.
Why is inclusivity important in tech?
Meg: The diversity of perspectives and experiences should be important to every industry. The outcome of having a variety of skill sets and backgrounds involved is more well-rounded products and services that potentially work for a larger variety of customers.
What does DataDrive do to facilitate those improvements? How would you like to see us grow?
Meg: My hope is that, as DataDrive grows, the makeup of our team will reflect the diversity of our community. With all of our recruiting efforts, we seek diverse talent from different backgrounds. Mentorship and coaching programs are also awesome ways we provide support and inclusivity. We also have a relatively flat organizational structure that provides a more equitable team dynamic.
Meg is Inspired by
"The Sisterhood of Technology Professionals (Sistech), inspires me. Our mission is to challenge the status quo in matters of diversity, inclusion, and gender equality. We are working to provide resources and support for individuals and employers to recognize and neutralize the effects of workplace discrimination.
Everyone who is involved in this organization is really inspiring to me. The challenging conversations and the amazing resources that we get to provide to the community gives me hope for a more inclusive future. There is so much on the horizon for Sistech, I’m especially looking forward to holding our first conference on May 21st, 2021."
Learn more about Sistech Con here.
Read More About the Women of DataDrive