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Unlocking Insights: Lessons from the Unconventional Analytics Panel

Analytics execs share what it's like to work in sports, healthcare, and media
UBAC leadership (back row): Caitlin Gorman, Natasha Havanur, and Bella Christman; Panelists (front row): Laura Gillard, Anne Billmeyer, Naomi Davis, and Kathryn Markey.

UBAC leadership (back row): Caitlin Gorman, Natasha Havanur, and Bella Christman; Panelists (front row): Laura Gillard, Anne Billmeyer, Naomi Davis, and Kathryn Markey.

A recent panel event, sponsored by the Undergraduate Business Analytics Club (UBAC) and the Business Analytics Center, delved into analytics careers beyond the traditional business landscape. The event revealed the realities and requirements of working in analytics within sports, healthcare, and media industries.

The Unconventional Analytics event featured an all-star female panel including:

  • Anne Billmeyer, senior director of Insights and Analytics, Bleacher Report and former senior manager of Data Strategy and Insights, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.
  • Naomi Davis, works in digital strategy at Google. She graduated from Georgia Tech with a BSBA concentrating in Informational Technology Management. 
  • Katherine Markey, customer data analyst, Atlanta Braves. Katherine graduated from Georgia Tech with an Industrial Engineering degree in 2022.
  • Laura Gillard, clinical analytics manager at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Laura graduated from GT with an Industrial Engineering degree in 2010 and MS in Health Systems in 2012.

Insights and advice from the panelists included:

Naomi: You’ll encounter people who doubt your potential or underestimate you due to your age, race, or gender. Most of the time, their negativity is a reflection of their insecurities, not a judgment of your abilities. Don't let their doubts become yours. Stay focused on your goals and let your successes speak for themselves. Don’t hesitate to show who you are in the workplace and use your passions to build your brand. Surround yourself with people who build you up.

Anne: Don’t be afraid to fight for your data so data is not underfunded. Storytelling is key to success and can help you show the C-suite the difference data can make.

Make learning a priority. The skills that got you the job are not the skills that are going to get you your next job. Reach out to senior executives; they want to help.

Laura: Be willing to teach yourself things and then be at the forefront of adoption. Be the one in your office who can lead the way with new technology.

Kathryn: Encouraging others doesn’t dim your own light. In the business world, everyone wants to help you grow. When you help others or others help you, it all contributes to the growth of your company.

Unconventional analytics: Media, healthcare, and sports

Laura: When deciding upon a career, I wanted my data to mean something. I love that what I do makes a difference in improving healthcare for children. Certain projects I have worked on have literally improved mortality rates for children—that’s extremely motivating!

Anne: We in media live and die by our numbers--translating the data into ad numbers and revenue. The Bleacher Report and Warner Brothers Discovery are both fun and cool place to work. It’s fast-paced and there’s something interesting to learn every day.

Kathryn: I love what I do. I’ve always been interested in sports and it’s satisfying to know that I am helping make the fan experience better. I love that I work in a nontraditional atmosphere where after work, I can just take in the game or when the team is out of town, the employees get together for watch parties at the stadium.

Naomi: Google is different than your typical office; they make a point of making our lives easier. For example, they provide both free breakfast and free lunch. As a professional in the media arena, one of my strengths is that I see myself as the consumer. Generating audience insights is fascinating to me. It’s incredible to me the insane amount of data in the world—and the number of insights we can generate from such small decisions like how long someone looks at an ad.

Tools and tech you use every day

Laura: Sequel, Python, Cloud

Anne: Sequel, Looker, Tableau, Google Analytics, Sprinkler, Sprout.

Naomi: Google’s internal tools, Sequel, Sheets

Kathryn: Sequel, Tableau

Staying on top of new technology

Kathryn: There are lots of data newsletters out there that provide valuable information. There's a Tableau newsletter in particular that has really taught me a lot. 

Anne: Get out there and try new technology. You'll be surprised. Once you master one, you can easily transfer those skills to another. Tableau and Power BI are not that different.

Laura: Go to events you are interested in and network. You'll not only learn something new, but also meet people who share your passion for data--and might be a good job contact one day.

Naomi: Take advantage of the training your company offers. Don't settle for learning only what everyone else is learning. For example, AI is way bigger than just ChatGPT. Keep searching out new avenues to learn.

The panel discussion ended with a lengthy Q&A session and time to network. Audience members and the panelists continued their discussions long after the official end of the event.

“I decided to come when I saw that Laura Gillard was speaking. I used to do research at Emory and I wanted to hear how she leverages clinical analytics," said Amritaa Basu, a biomedical engineering major who is also pursuing the Business Analytics certificate. It was quite impressive to hear the difference analytics can actually make in a healthcare setting. I also really enjoyed that this event brought in a lot of different fields, with women at all stages in their careers. It definitely made for an interesting event.”

The panel discussion capped off an amazing inaugural year for UBAC, who sponsored three events each semester, attracting students not just from Scheller, but campuswide.

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