Hi Tableau Community! Get to know Tableau Social Media Ambassador Ann Jackson in our latest Tableau Ambassador Spotlight! Read the interview with our content maven and social media lead Marissa Michelotti below.
Marissa: Where are you from?
Ann: I’ve lived in Phoenix, AZ for over 10 years – so it’s now where I consider home.
Marissa: What is your favorite hobby outside of work?
Ann: I love playing tabletop games – especially those that are cooperative or have an element of deception. There’s something very enjoyable about being unplugged with a handful of friends and trying to solve a common problem. As far as the deception side goes – I’m a terribly honest person, so it’s fun to practice the art of deception.
Marissa: Anything else you want to share?
Ann: Since it’s Tableau Conference month – I am looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces. If you get the opportunity, come up and say hi. I’d love to talk all things Tableau!
Marissa: How long have you used Tableau?
Ann: I first started using Tableau in 2014. I got very serious about Tableau at the end of 2015.
Marissa: How do you use Tableau? At work? In your personal life?
Ann: I use Tableau everywhere! I run a consulting firm that specializes in data visualization and analytics and Tableau is one of our key tools. I also like to use Tableau for pet data projects and being creative. If there’s a question I have and a corresponding data set I will happily plug it into Tableau.
Marissa: Where do you find data for your personal projects?
Ann: I like to use my own created data. In the past I’ve visualized data captured by my Apple Watch and food that I eat.
Marissa: What type of data interests you?
Ann: I like data that is close to me and my interests. Professionally I like to work with as many new data sets as possible. There’s something very fascinating about seeing the way organizations manage their data and how they use it to learn more.
Marissa: How have you learned to use Tableau?
Ann: Most of my learning has come from engaging with the Tableau community. Through projects like Makeover Monday and Workout Wednesday (which I now co-lead). I’ve really been able to connect with other practitioners and see hands on how to solve many problems and utilize many data sets.
Marissa: What data sources do you typically use?
Ann: Since Tableau loves relational data – I love relational data. I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to data sources, my biggest ask is that it somewhat resembles rows and columns. I think all good analysis uses multiple data sources, so I’m also someone who is likely to have at least 3 in any given workbook.
Marissa: What your favorite Tableau project you’ve ever worked on?
Ann: I really loved creating Urban Forests of NYC
Marissa: What is your favorite feature of Tableau?
Ann: In general, it would have to be the color picker – I am very serious about color and I love the ability to quickly snag a color from anywhere. I also think Level of Detail expressions are extremely powerful and useful for more in-depth analysis.
Marissa: What do you want to learn more about?
Ann: I really want to learn more about extensions – I think there is a lot of potential there that I haven’t yet had an opportunity to explore.
Marissa: What’s your biggest feature request?
Ann: This seems like a small thing, but being able to set a text field to all uppercase would be amazing. Most of my work tends to have capitalized titles and some data fields – it would be nice to click a button and have the formatting set.
Marissa: How did you discover the Tableau Community?
Ann: I was first introduced to the community through my local Tableau User Group in Phoenix. I went to a meeting where they were talking about Makeover Monday and Twitter – the rest is history.
Marissa: What’s your favorite part about the Tableau Community?
Ann: My favorite part is how much everyone contributes and how gracious they are with their time. It’s been inspiring to have people around the world to connect with and share your progress with.
Marissa: What does being a Tableau ambassador mean to you?
Ann: It’s a huge honor to be recognized as an ambassador. I see it a great responsibility to help usher in new people and share knowledge and experiences. It’s the perfect opportunity and opening line to connect with someone about something I love.
Marissa: What advice do you have for new members of Tableau? Of the Community?
Ann: Start doing – the fun happens when you start doing. Find something you enjoy as it relates to the community and get busy. It’s much more fun to be a participant than a casual observer.
Marissa: You seem to enjoy being creative with Tableau. What is your favorite type of viz?
Ann: I love data art vizzes – those where you have to slow down and take some time to fully appreciate and understand. I find it really intriguing that people can take patterns from data and turn them into such amazing abstractions.
Marissa: Is there anyone in the community you have worked with closely, or is there someone that inspires you?
Ann: I’ve worked with so many people in the community that it would be easier to name those who I haven’t! In all seriousness I have some amazing relationships with people in the community that have evolved and changed over time. The person who has most recently impacted me the most is Luke Stanke – he’s been a constant force and friend for me, a friendship that was forged during Iron Viz at TC17.