Defining a Professional Narrative

My new role is Chief Program Strategist at Cohere Insights, a strategic consultancy dedicated to helping clients build great analytics applications. This is my inaugural blog post. Before this role, I was at Facebook for three years, managing the portfolio of programs for the Analytics Platforms team. I enjoyed working at Facebook, it is a fast paced environment producing great output that will undoubtedly leave its mark in the annals of business history and on society at large. Its had its obvious successes and unfortunate setbacks, but it is growing and evolving as it defines who it is within the global corporate landscape. Kind of a macrocosm parallel to an individual Facebook user’s microcosm existence.

Grow · Evolve · Redefine. Repeat.  

After three years at Facebook I was ready for a new challenge. One of the great things about leaving an organization is that you can take time to look at your career as a collective whole. It is incredibly gratifying to look back on the work you’ve done over the years, the great organizations you’ve been associated with, and the people you’ve worked alongside.

The first analytics tool I worked with years ago was Cognos’ cube platform. A large telecommunications company I worked for was using it for revenue reporting. This tool was part of the first generation of front-end analytics tools producing pre-aggregated cube-based datasets, but with limited ability to query base transactional data. In the current era of big data hardware and software, analytics technology has evolved a lot since then and analytics platforms and tools can easily process requests for large volumes of transactional data and deliver to users around the world in neatly visualized packages.

Over the years since that first experience, I’ve had the benefit of implementing many analytics applications at many client and employer sites using all kinds of platforms and tools. This has been a great privilege, and being a naturally curious person, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn how companies use data and technology to advance their businesses.

This thought string got me thinking about the word “narrative” and how promoting your past professional experience can be thought of as a narrative. I hear the word narrative used a lot in the news or on social media, sometimes in the context of political narrative or national narrative.

But what about professional narrative? Can a case be made that you are more than the sum of all your professional titles and individual slots on your resume? I say yes, and that this “more than the sum” is your professional narrative.

How do you weave a narrative through your professional experience? Your professional experience is a historical record of job events, but history by itself doesn’t make for a compelling narrative. Defining a narrative means pulling together your experience into a relevant composition that has value to others.

Using this approach, I decided to use my collective consulting experience to define my professional narrative. This new narrative, Cohere Insights, is my new strategic consultancy dedicated to helping clients get the most from their analytics investment. My goal is to use my broad industry experience to help companies build and deploy great analytics applications that users want and like to use.

I’m very excited to start this new endeavor and happy to share this news on my blog. Going forward I will post regularly about client success stories and  happenings in the industry. If you are reading, I would love to hear from you and learn more about your environment and any challenges or successes you have.



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