<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=306561&amp;fmt=gif">
WDD3

Women in Data: Interview with Jeanine Norden from MMI Holdings

Ahead of the Women in Digital & Data Johannesburg, we caught up with Jeanine Norden, Head of Data Management at MMI Holdings to discuss women in data.  

How did you become interested in data? 

I landed in it accidentally.  Life just took me on the path. In varsity the one subject that I just understood really well was all my data related subjects.  Then in consulting it just happened to land on my desk every time.  I simply get it, and that way it just kept on landing on my desk… so it just happened for me. 

What are some of the biggest challenges that women who want to venture into the world of data analytics face today? 

 I don’t think that it is a challenge with woman in data – I personally believe that it is woman in the working environment in general (Specifically men ruled environments).  You need to be tough and claim your place at the table.  It should not be a gender, geography or race argument – it is an insight and knowledge argument.  Woman has not selected to be involved, hence the knowledge is limited. 

Data analytics/data science is perceived as a male-dominated field. What steps should be taken to attract more women to the field? 

 Firstly, people in general need to understand more about data to become interested in data.  I think legislation and regulation is starting to make it more important to know, and it raises the hot topic a bit.  Very little people know about data as a profession in general.  The general work environment and education environment must get more aware to raise it as a subject of interest.  You will not survive in the data world if you are not passionate about what you do and a person who can think out of the box, as it is never a one size fits all solution.   Without education, the elevation into bringing it to woman will not happen. 

Can you pinpoint one moment or person that was instrumental in your decision to pick this career path?

Suppose it was with my work at Old Mutual in general, but not a person specifically. 

Do you think that data can help build a more diverse and equal workplace? How so?

Diversity is part of an individual decision.  Data can show many things, but it doesn’t mean people will execute based on the indications of data.  Look at passion first.  Skill can be taught… 

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the data analytics industry?

I’m in data management -  but in general it is still very much a growing industry – so getting in now, means less of a gap to fill later.  Be part of the learnings. 

How do you think individuals can use data to advance their ideas or careers?

Use data to see what there is and what has been done… and just twist it in a weird way, think innovative, be out of the box.  Look beyond the borders.  Data is the enabler of anything we do – even going to a restaurant and deciding what to eat.  It is how you use it and slice it and combine it to come up with new ideas and innovations.  Innovation is not creating something that doesn’t exist.  It is taking something that exists and doing it different, smarter, better….. 

What are some of the best and worst workplace initiatives you have seen/heard of to help promote diversity? 

I assume worst is probably doing nothing… or going extreme and appointing people who are not qualified for the job.  Mostly getting someone to fill a position is a rush.  Or getting ‘diversity’ is done in a rush, and not with a strategic thinking in mind.  It is a tick-box effort.  Take your time and do the right thing.  Find the RIGHT person for the RIGHT job.  Also, don’t just find a job for a person or squeeze a person into a wrong position.  This is very typical of SA today especially given the various labour requirements.  

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in data/data science? What do you wish you had known? 

First google till you’re blue in the face.  Understand what it is about and if it something that you can be passionate about and do for the rest of your life.  Secondly, determine if you are willing to go into an industry with tough fights and a GREAT deal of resistance all the time.  If your passion for data is bigger than the resistance, then go for it.  There’s plenty of opportunities.  Start getting involved in your own company/department.  You also need to understand the difference between a strategic thinker and a tactical approach.  Often tactical approaches are required to get to a strategic outcome.  Google google google!!! Never go to someone with a blank page.  Always do your research first, so you have insight before approaching an expert. There is nothing as frustrating as someone with an opinion who has no background or knowledge (or even attempted to have).

Any reading/website you would recommend to stay updated?

Google, Google, Google, Google.  Never stop googling!

Fun fact about you?

I was part of the team that taught the first blind person in Africa to Scuba Dive

 To hear Jeanine speak at Women in Digital & Data Johannesburg, book your seat here

Related posts

Search Channels

Latest Content

Women in Digital: Interview with Jane Canny, Chief Digital Officer at Edcon

We had the opportunity to interview Jane Canny, Chief Digital Officer at Edcon.  Jane is one of the speakers of Women in Digital & Data running on 27 September 2018 in Johannesburg.  

Read More

Women in Digital: Interview with Neebashnee Kristnasamy, Head of Projects and Digital Transformation Programme at Sanlam Private Wealth

We had the opportunity to interview Neebashnee Kristnasamy, Head of Projects and Digital Transformation Programme at Sanlam Private Wealth, Neebashneeis one of the speakers of Women in Digital & Data running on 27 September 2018 in Johannesburg.

Read More

Women in Data: Interview with speaker, Gcobisa Gaxela, Senior Manager: Data Quality and Analytics, Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank

Interview with Women in Digital & Data Johannesburg’ speaker, Gcobisa Gaxela, Senior Manager: Data Quality and Analytics, Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank

Read More

Women in Data: Interview with speaker Louise Pinto, Big Data, Analytics & Insights at Barclays Africa Group Limited

Ahead of the Women in Digital & Data Johannesburg, we caught up with Louise Pinto, Big Data, Analytics & Insights at Barclays Africa Group Limited to discuss her career in data

Read More

Women in Data: Interview with Shikha Basdeo from FNB

We had the opportunity to interview Shikha Basdeo, Information Management Specialist at FNB about her journey in data. 

Read More

Women in Digital: Interview with Pamela Mkhize from Enel

Ahead of the Women of Digital & Data Johannesburg, we caught up with Pamela Mkhize, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Satellite at Enel to discuss women in digital. 

Read More

Interview with Speaker Emad ElAzhary, Head of Big Data & Strategy, Vodafone Egypt

As a global leader in data analytics conferences Corinium is extremely pleased to be working with the Egyptian data analytics community on DataCon Egypt 2018 - which will take place in Cairo on 7 & 8 November.

Read More

Women in Data: Interview with Jeanine Norden from MMI Holdings

Ahead of the Women in Digital & Data Johannesburg, we caught up with Jeanine Norden, Head of Data Management at MMI Holdings to discuss women in data.  

Read More

Women in Data: Interview with Shalain Gopal from Barclays Capital

We had the opportunity to interview Shalain Gopal, Data Science Lead at Barclays Capital. Shalain is one of the speakers of Women in Digital & Data running on 27 September 2018 in Johannesburg.  

Read More

CDAO Melbourne 2018

After the close of CDAO Melbourne 2018, the events Chair, Jon Catling, shared with us his thoughts and ideas about the event.

Read More
10
Top 100 Data & Analytics Professionals ΓÇô US & Canada v1_250x250
Top 50 Data & Analytics Professionals ΓÇô Europe banners v2_250x250
interview series banners v3_250x250
CxOBannerAd
cso-1200x1200-250
fl-photo-img wp-image-13381 size-full