Making sure you know other teams exist!
We were recently joined by Katherine Gerton, Manager, Data Analytics & Reporting at Centene to chat about the power of embedded teams for bridging the distance between cool data science and meaningful business insights and bringing those teams together to create a community of practice that supports each other and the bottom line.
During the conversation Katherine spoke about building tools that make your own life better, and then also spreading them to other people as a really valuable way to do work. Part of being successful in this is also making sure you know other teams exist!
At 32:51, Katherine shares: There’s a lot of that community building and reaching out to people that I’ve incorporated into some of my leadership work – a lot of it is making sure you know that other teams exist.
In an organization the size of Centene, this can be really difficult.
For example: “Oh, I didn’t know that this team was doing this kind of thing with membership. I have a need to do something with membership. Let me make sure that I know who to reach out to.”
That’s something that we’ve been really working hard on.
In our internal R user group meetings – we’re highlighting different teams and what they are working on. “This is how we’re using the Centene tools.” It’s not always R but it’s just seeing how others are using our data to keep building those relationships.
I think going back to something I said earlier, I did it for me. And then I’m more than happy that it’s also helping other people in Centene.
How do you actually build those relationships?
When you’re really close to a data project and there’s one piece that you don’t know – it’s might be shooting the email to the person that you saw last accessed that database because you can check those things.
You can say, “Hey, I saw you were using this data. What’s going on with it?”
Those kinds of small emails are important.
It’s also getting over that hump of self-doubt, and thinking, “Oh, am I emailing the right person? Are they going to hate me for derailing their day for emailing the wrong person?”
Just send an email because the worst thing that happens is that they don’t respond to you. And then you send an email to another person and build that out.
As I’ve moved into a leadership role, it’s getting plugged in with other team leaders as well, where we now know the name of each other’s team and can say, “Do you have somebody on your team who knows about this or who can help with this?”
That’s also something that the Women in STEM Group has helped with because women in STEM are across the entire organization. They are not just in corporate IT as your cloud engineers. Almost anyone with a data analyst title or anything like that could be in the STEM group.
I’ve been exposed to so many more people and so many more incredible women at Centene through that other organization .
It doesn’t just have to be the data science community where you are meeting all these other people across different parts of the company.
Featured in this episode
Katherine is a data scientist and manager of data analytics at Centene. Her work focuses on understanding the competitive landscape of the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace and driving insights into members' health status. In addition to daily data science work, Katherine is on the leadership councils for Centene's internal R User Group and the CenWomen in STEM DE&I initiative. Outside of work, she plays volleyball, sews her own clothes, and crochets stuffed animals.