How I got to now

Hey folks,

Starting this blog is something that has been on my mind for a while.  It really started to dig in after TC18, when the community on Twitter was having many conversations about “imposter syndrome.”  One of my personal goals in 2019 is to share more of my thoughts and experiences, and try to pay back even 10% of all that this community has given me thus far, and this is one avenue for me to do that.

This week Super Bowl is week, and sports radio is always full of interviews with athletes and celebrities who are taking part in all that Super Bowl week has to offer.  As I was commuting this week, I heard an interview with Deion Sanders on the Dan Patrick Show that gave me a great idea for a first post.  Deion was being asked about his success as a two-sport star and Bo Jackson came up.  The quote from Deion was “Without Bo, there is no Prime” (for those unaware, Deion’s nickname is “Prime Time”).  He gave credit to Bo for giving him a bar to shoot for.

As I embark on this new phase of my journey, I thought it would be great to start with how I got here.  What would my “Without _______, there would be no Jim” list look like?  Family is a given, so here is my “professional” list.

  • Jim Rozell: Meeting Jim was a watershed moment for my career. He was the guy who really pushed me into analytics.  Besides being crazy smart, he is a great mentor and friend, and brought me to Carlson where I’d eventually be introduced to tools like Tableau and Alteryx.  From Jim, I learned that a leader can also be a top-level doer.  I learned what it means to build and be a part of an amazing team.  I learned just how much fun it was possible to have at work.  I learned (painfully) to NEVER trust a dataset without thoroughly testing it first.  I learned to take control of my own career and what I wanted out of it.  And I learned that sometimes the right way to solve a problem is to take a 20 minute break and watch Bugs Bunny cartoons with your boss.  Without Jim Rozell, there is zero chance I’d be doing what I am now.
  • The Carlson Rezidor Tableau Drive Team: This project changed the way I think about so many things, and really is where my passion for Tableau and scaling self-service analytics was born. Luke Komiskey, Mat Hughes, Kathleen Mallery and so many others contributed to that project.  It put me on the direct path that led to where I am today.  Ultimately this project also helped me overcome a big public speaking fear and present at TC15 and the 2016 Gartner BI Summit.
  • Karla Hillier: Karla formed the self-service analytics team at Carlson, and asked me to help with some of the early interviews as a trusted IT resource. After the second candidate, I went to Karla’s office and said, “You know, I think I might want this job.”  Thankfully, she agreed and gave me the opportunity to shape a delivery model for governed self-service, and evangelize tools like Tableau and Alteryx.  She encouraged me to be active and visible in the local community and gave me a ton of space to pursue new skills and ideas.  She always knew how much rope to give me, and encouraged me to use every inch of it.  From her, I really saw what it means for a leader to inspire others to lead.
  • Brad Beakley: Brad was the SVP who our analytics team reported up to. In him I had the ultimate executive support.  He fostered our vision for self-service analytics and fully embraced the impacts that could be made with these tools.  He pushed the organization when we could not and always had our back.  He was supportive of learning and making big changes through a series of small ones.  And, I learned that I really like Macallan scotch! 
  • Andy Kriebel: When I was first starting out with Tableau, I learned more from Andy’s blog than from anywhere else.  This was before #MakeoverMonday became the cultural phenomenon that it is now.  Andy was blogging nearly every day, and helped accelerate my learning in Tableau immensely.  I owe him and his work more than I can possibly say or ever pay back.  Thank you Andy for all that you’ve done and continue to do for the community.
  • TCTUG: Helping to coordinate the local user group in the Twin Cities has connected me with too many amazing people to mention. It also gave me a safe space to become a more confident presenter and to mentally resolve the idea that mine is a voice people might actually want to hear.  Most importantly, it gives me a monthly reminder of what makes Tableau so unique.  That 100+ people come out every month in this one city just to talk about a piece of software is an amazing testament to them.  I am blessed to be a part of it.

There are countless more who deserved to be mentioned, but there has to be something for future posts, right?  This is just a small window into how I got to today.  Thanks for taking a minute to learn a bit about me and those who’ve made a big impact on my career.

Who is on your “without ___, there is no me” list?  Make sure to take some time to thank them!

Until next time,


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