5 Women That Are Changing the Landscape of Data Analytics

Data analytics is a crucial part of today’s digital transformation, and is being used in a variety of ways. Case in point, the University of Waterloo uses it for social good, with experts figuring out ways to use data analytics in reducing human waste and energy use. Queen’s University and McGill University are also leveraging big data for new-age conflict resolution.

Moreover, data analytics is something 59% of business are now using in some capacity. A survey presented on Forbes found that 49% of respondents use analytics to make better decisions, while 16% rely on it to enable key strategic initiatives. Another 10% say that analytics helped them improve relationships with clients and business partners.

Unsurprisingly, a report by Maryville University notes how the U.S. business data analytics market will be worth more than $95 billion this year. Despite this rapid growth the industry still has huge gender gap issue with only 17% of data jobs held by women. Even so, women are still making a big difference in this field. Some, in fact, are changing the landscape of data analytics and industries. The five below are doing exactly that.

Melissa Garren

Garren is actually a marine biologist, but one who is using data analytics to help coastal communities best address challenges in food scarcity, as well as the increased sustainability of fisheries. She is doing both through Pelagic Data Systems (PDS), which she co-founded in 2014. Now, Garren and PDS are raising the standards for vessel tracking using a combination of custom-made hardware and advanced data analytics. The result is an affordable and accessible service that accurately documents legally caught produce. At the moment, Garren’s data collection platform is deployed across 30 countries, and has proven to be a powerful solution for some 95% of global fishing vessels.

Helen Pollitt

White papers can have a lot of influence on consumers. Pollitt wants to make sure that all marketers know it, and that they are able to use such knowledge accordingly. Pollitt has been in analytics for well over a decade, and is currently the Managing Director of ArrowsUpUK. At the moment, she is zoned in on emphasizing the importance of white papers as a marketing tool, mainly because they are founded on statistics. In fact, Pollitt is slated to give a talk in this June’s Women in Analytics Conference, where she is hoping to demonstrate to her peers how reports can best express ideas comprehensively.

Helena Schwenk

Schwenk has been in data analytics for over two decades now, having started in data warehousing, before becoming a specialist in data and analytics. She took her expertise to IDC Europe, where she focused on advanced and predictive analytics, along with data visualization and analytic application markets. Today, Schwenk is the Global Analyst Relations and Market Insights Lead at London-based Exasol, where she is empowering clients on how to best leverage big data to drive profit. Schwenk also makes sure to pass on her vast knowledge by regularly sharing her insights at conferences and seminars.

Sophie Brüggemann

Brüggemann wants to improve people’s music listening experiences, and she is doing so through consumer research and business analytics. Currently a senior data analyst for the Warner Music Group, Brüggemann identified five types of listeners in her metadata research for the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München: ritualizer, regulator, socializer, seeker, and definer. This knowledge, which she presented at last year’s Karajan Music Conference, figures to enhance Warner’s music marketing efforts through new strategies, music personalization, and digitalization initiatives.

Chalcy Raja

Equifax’s Raja has extensive experience in the world of analytics, having served as data engineer, big data architect, and platform architect at various points in her trailblazing career. The most experienced among the five on this list, Raja is best known for being one of the earliest adopters of Hadoop, a collection of open-source software that can process massive amounts of data. Just as impressive, Raja has been quite generous with her knowledge, coaching analytics teams both inside and outside Equifax. Today, she is continuing that tradition as the leader of Equifax’s Big Data Platform team.


Alexa Green
Alexa Green is an aspiring data scientist taking up a data science course. She already holds a degree in economics, and has taught related courses in junior college, while working as a part-time business journalist. As she pursues her data science degree, she is currently doing freelance writing for online and printed publications that focus on big data and analytics.