Empowering Diversity in Data: The Inspirational Journey of Women in Data Founder, Sadie St Lawrence
Meet Sadie St Lawrence, the visionary force behind the inception of Women in Data. As a second-year master’s student in data science juggling a full-time role as an analytics engineer, Sadie couldn’t ignore the glaring gender gap in her academic and professional circles. Surprisingly, in a field dubbed “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century” by Harvard Business, the representation of women was alarmingly scarce. Determined to address this imbalance, Sadie, armed with limited resources, decided to spark a change by organizing a networking event in her hometown of Sacramento, California.
However, the inaugural gathering took an unexpected turn, with RSVPs dwindling until only one person was expected to attend. Yet, as the clock ticked away, that lone RSVP turned into a catalyst for Women in Data’s birth. The attendee not only showed up but brought two friends along, breathing life into the community Sadie aspired to create. It was a serendipitous moment that shaped the trajectory of Women in Data.
Fast forward to today, Women in Data has evolved into a powerhouse, offering a spectrum of programs and services. Rooted in the pillars of awareness, education, and advancement, the organization conducts global webinars, networking events, study groups, career track programs, and a residency program. Notably, in 2021, Women in Data clinched the title of the #1 Community for Women in Tech and AI by The Good AI.
Navigating the challenges brought by the pandemic, Women in Data not only weathered the storm but thrived. With a strategic focus on enhancing its online presence in 2019, the organization seamlessly adapted to the virtual landscape when the pandemic struck. The shift facilitated stronger connections among global chapters, although the only challenge now is finding an optimal time zone for everyone.
The pandemic also underscored the pressing need for career shifts, particularly among women. In the wake of COVID’s impact on the workforce, Women in Data witnessed a surge in individuals seeking to enter pandemic-resilient technical careers. As a result, the organization found itself at the forefront of meeting this burgeoning demand.
On a personal note, when asked about work-life balance, Sadie advocates for a broader perspective, emphasizing life balance over the traditional dichotomy. She believes that true happiness comes from aligning with one’s values and contributing meaningfully to others, transcending the blurred lines between work and personal life.
In a world dominated by masculinity, Sadie’s advice to women entrepreneurs echoes the importance of self-awareness and authenticity. She encourages women to define their identity, articulate their life goals, and strive to be the best version of themselves daily. While comparisons may abound, embracing one’s unique journey and staying true to a personal mission are the keys to enduring success in any entrepreneurial venture.