Several years ago now, I was at one of my favorite academic conferences, dutifully attending sessions that appealed to me in the program because I was on the hunt for a dissertation topic. I would circle descriptions that looked exciting and then head to the session only to be so numbed by the presentation that, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t pay attention to what the speaker was trying to teach me. And that’s when I discovered my dissertation topic – how we communicate about our information and research.
Around the same time I started blogging about my frustrations and consulting with nonprofits on how to communicate better to get more funding and community support. That track quickly escalated when I finished my PhD, edited two volumes of New Directions in Evaluation on Data Visualization, and published a book with Sage called Presenting Data Effectively. That book stayed at #1 on the Social Sciences Research chart on Amazon in the US and the UK for several weeks.
Now I have the best job in the world. I use my research-based approach to visualization and design to help awesome people be even better at what they do. We redesign reports together, we develop stunning slideshows, and we crystallize data visualizations. But more importantly, I help these smart people change organizational culture by streamlining decision making, winning hearts and minds, educating new audiences, and getting to market fast. An investment in consulting with me reaps dividends.
I work a balance between credibility and clarity so I select clients with ready minds, whether they are large or small. Recent clients range from small nonprofits, community foundations and university departments to those national and international in scope like Verizon, United Nations, and Head Start. Because my PhD is in interdisciplinary research, I have a pretty fun ability to specialize in data from a wide range of fields, from education to health care to policy to market research and beyond.
The other part of my job that makes me thank my lucky stars is how often I travel, domestically and internationally, as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter. In 2016, I led more than 50 workshops, from 1 hour to 2 days in length, and I have the airline miles to prove it. I wrote my second book and a second edition of my first book, on an airplane.
In my spare time I blog on data presentation and make funny data nerd gifts. Within the American Evaluation Association, I founded a topical interest group on data visualization and reporting and I led the first known initiative to change the culture of presentation within a professional association, the Potent Presentations Initiative.
One other thing you probably should know: I am not a very skilled sugarcoater. If your templates need an overhaul, I’ll tell you. If someone on your team suggests something that the research doesn’t support, I’ll say so. Working with me is an efficient and targeted endeavor, so that you can get back to saving the world and communicate more effectively while doing so. When you are ready to work with me, reach out. This will be fun.