Thankful Thursday – Desireé Abbott

Every once in awhile we find a colleague at work with whom we find a greater connection. While I don’t recall when exactly we became Tableau buddies, I realized early on when I started at Ancestry that when I had a perplexing problem in Tableau, Desireé Abbott was the coworker most likely to be able to help me find a solution.

As we closed out 2017, talking about what some of our goals were for the coming year, we had both been thinking about participating in #MakeoverMonday in earnest. So we decided to do it together, and invite anyone else who wanted to join. This hour together (via Zoom) each week helped us both improve our visualization style and technique, and also how quickly we are able to review the data and find the story we want to tell. Later that year (2018) I took the Tableau Desktop Certified Professional exam. Because of the yearlong preparation I had doing #MakeoverMonday every week with Desireé (and colleague Yu Dong, who has completed every #MakeoverMonday in 2018 and 2019 and blogged about them all!) the exam was manageable, and I was confident in my ability to complete it in a timely fashion and with good choice of best practices.

Me, Desireé, and Kevin Flerlage at TC19 (pretty sure Kevin and I were both taking a pic on our phone at the same time)

In 2019, I started an internal Tableau User Group at Ancestry. Coming up with topics for a TUG can be difficult, and Desireé was happy to assist, either in presenting with me in tip battle format, or helping to identify what topics or speakers would be useful. As I was coming back to work in early October after my wife passed away, I realized that October was TUG time, but I had hundreds of emails I had ignored for a couple weeks. After successfully getting things going through the year with three consecutive meetings, I didn’t want to lose momentum for something I was working so hard on all year. This is all the conversation I needed to have:

As we move into 2020, we are co-leading the Ancestry TUG, we continue #MakeoverMonday (with a few new participants), we co-host a viz office hours every week to help analysts with any struggles they’re having (i.e. Tableau Doctor sessions), and work on internal Tableau training together. Also, based on feedback from some people who started coming to #MakeoverMonday but wanted to learn more about how we built what we did, we’ve started doing #WorkoutWednesday live sessions where we try to build the challenge in an hour, talking through how we’re doing things. In short, Desireé is my partner in crime for building and maintaining the data culture at Ancestry; and without her help, that task would be much more difficult.

If you don’t already follow Desireé, find her on Twitter and Tableau Public!



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