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Stacy Giroux: My Path To Maven

5 min readView all articles
By Stacy Giroux
Aug 8, 2022

Have you ever experienced that moment where you just held your breath and went for it?

That was me pushing the button on my submission for the Maven Analytics Remote Work Challenge. It’s odd to think now about why I hesitated to push that button. I had spent the previous two weeks working on it. A few nights, I had been so engaged I even stayed up past midnight.

I had never done anything like this before, but I was deeply interested in the topic. I was excited to have the chance to work with survey data. I really wanted to see if I could analyze and draw any meaningful insights from the vast volume of data, and I wanted to see if there was a story within the data that I could help tell.

Yet when it came time to push the submit button, I was filled with all kinds of questions:

  • Was I sure I wanted to put my work out in public? Was I ready to have it scrutinized?
  • What if I had messed up something in the analysis? Surely everyone would notice.
  • And, how about the functionality and layout? I had done my entire project in Excel. With all the analytical tools available was that ok?
  • Would my insights make sense to anyone else? I was trying to tell a story, but I had little experience working with survey data, so I was mostly going on instinct.
  • Was my work even good enough to be shared?

But I took a deep breath and pushed the submit button.

“You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.” ~ Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo

So, spoiler alert -- my submission ended up being selected as the winner for that challenge. When I learned my submission had won, I literally jumped out of bed to go tell my husband. I felt so honored and really humbled. And then the thought hit me, what if I had never pushed that button?

So now I wanted to ponder how I can reframe those questions of self-doubt to help me when taking on future challenges? After much reflection, here are a few key thoughts that come to mind:

Sharing builds community.

It can feel scary to put your work ‘out there’ but doing so can also be a great act of kindness and community building. It’s easy to identify the value GIVEN by the person who generously shares their knowledge or expertise. But experience has taught me time and time again that there is so much to gain ON BOTH SIDES of those interactions.

Many times, in my own professional and personal life, if I’ve been the one to share my expertise with others, I’ve benefited too. Maybe it cements my own understanding on the topic or even challenges me to go deeper. Either way, it’s a reciprocal process. And when that process is shared so others can also learn from it, it gets even better!

So, when it feels scary to put things out there, I (try to) remember that ‘trying’ itself is a worthy process. And whether you’re getting it right or receiving feedback, it’s about finding a shared passion and nurturing a growth mindset.

Seeing an ‘overnight success’ is like looking at only the tip of an iceberg.

It can be easy to focus on what we don’t know or what experience we wish we had but I’ve found expertise is built a layer at a time. For sure, there were many elements of the Remote Work Challenge that were new to me, but I also had many experiences and transferable skills that propelled me through it.

I’ve been working with data in some form or another my entire professional career. From working in a research and development lab where I looked for patterns in data to clarify an unknown to using operational data to help teams make decisions for improving their processes, exploring data, and seeking insights was something I’d been practicing for a long time. And while I initially started doing my project in Power BI, I quickly switched gears back to Excel. It became clear early on that digging deep into the data and focusing on the insights and storytelling, would require using the tool I was most comfortable with and could move the fastest in. It was experiences like these that allowed me to move beyond what I didn’t know in the moment and dig into the ‘creating’ part.

So, when it feels like I’m taking on something new, I (try to) remind myself of the past experiences I can leverage. And I also remind myself that everything I’m comfortable doing now once felt new and awkward too.

Your new or unique perspective just might be awesome.

While past experiences can be a key for getting started or propelling you through a project, there is also something special about doing ‘a thing’ for the first time. When taking on a new challenge, we tend to be more comfortable asking questions. And when we have no expectations of how something works or what it should look like, we can be creative and led by the process rather than being guided by what has always been.

As I was cultivating the key takeaways I wanted to report in the challenge submission, I realized that breaking things down into easily digestible parts made it easiest for me to understand. So I tried to focus on simplicity rather than cloud my submission with any preconceived notions I had about what a report should contain or look like.

So, when I’m doing something for the first time, I (try to) give myself space to ask lots of questions. And I also recognize that sometimes things have been done ‘that way’ just because. And maybe asking new questions might uncover a valueable new approach.

And in this moment, I am keeping these reflections front of mind as I embark on another new and exciting journey - joining the Maven Analytics Team! I am so honored to become part of this team and community. And I look forward to my new role supporting Bootcamp students on their individual journeys of learning and experience building.

I have so much to learn from this awesome community. And I’m so very excited to share along the journey too! This new opportunity is already my ‘something-great’ from pushing that submit button. But somehow I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Be passionate. Seek mastery. Learn with humility.


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Stacy Giroux

Stacy is the Bootcamp Lead for Maven Analytics, helping to design, manage and faciliate immersive bootcamp experiences for aspiring data professionals.

Stacy is the Bootcamp Lead for Maven Analytics, helping to design, manage and faciliate immersive bootcamp experiences for aspiring data professionals.

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