Data visualisation with Annette Hester (#20)

We talk about data visualisation and Annette's unique journey to data sciences.

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Annette Hester heads TheHesterView Inc. and focuses on a new approach to working with data. Her projects show innovation in action. She is best known for bringing together leading experts in their field to form teams that work in unison to deliver excellence in data structuring and in data visualisation. Her work is distinguishable for the quality of the design. She brings decades of experience to her advisory and strategic policy services.

Ms. Hester is a member of the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council. She served as a senior advisor to the Deputy Minister of the Government of Alberta, Canada and as a policy team member of Alberta’s Premier Alison Redford Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta leadership campaign. She was the founding director of the Latin American Research Centre at the University of Calgary, and a faculty member of the University of Calgary Haskayne Global Energy EMBA. Ms. Hester has extensive experience as a data and energy sector consultant for leading companies, governments, and multilateral institutions in several countries of the Americas.

Ms. Hester has a master’s degree in economics and has written for a variety of multilateral institutions, academic publications and think-tanks. She was a frequent contributor to Oxford Analytica and has authored numerous articles in policy and energy journals.

In our conversation, we talk about data visualisation and Annette’s unique journey to data sciences.

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Show Notes

[01:17] Annette’s beginnings.
[01:40] Rethinking her future.
[02:39] Going back to school to take English and Economics.
[03:47] Annette’s past lives and career in fashion design.
[04:30] Annette’s experiences all coming together.
[04:36] TheHesterView.
[04:58] Applying visual and creative arts to data sciences.
[06:35] A future one would not have seen coming.
[08:20] Creative arts facilitate technical communication.
[13:36] The need to curate your information.
[14:42] Knowing how to communicate to your audience.
[18:12] On not being your own worst critic.
[18:40] On meeting job criteria.
[22:24] It is rare for anyone in STEMM to meet full criteria.
[23:31] Be open to explore different fields.
[23:59] Find ways to incorporate what you’re good at with what you enjoy.
[26:37] Recognise your own strengths and weaknesses so that you can find a balance that allows you to thrive.
[28:19] Be fearless.
[29:25] Confidence comes with time and experience.
[30:57] Be kind.
[31:32] Failures will happen.
[32:06] Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
[33:07] Tweeting from the Summit of the Americas.
[35:53] On creating quality content.
[37:10] On the need to create quality educational content.
[39:10] Annette’s background in fashion.
[42:38] Discovering her gift for writing.
[44:20] How Annette came to economics.
[46:38] The desire and obligation to contribute to society.
[51:40] Thriving on lifelong learning.
[55:09] The importance of technical communication skills.
[56:19] Technical literacy in current society.
[57:12] Perceptions of Rights to Privacy.
[02:34] Michele’s thoughts (wait what)
[05:54] Women computer scientists kinda like humans.
[07:40] Florence Nightingale: pioneer in visual data.
[08:54] Grace Hopper Conference.
[10:15] How we can create a wiser and kinder world with data visualisation.
[12:30] Create a movement of the willing and the good.
[14:18] Turn “but” into “and”.
[15:44] Reaching out to Annette.

Topics/Resources/People Mentioned

Bonus Questions

What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?

Cooking and mentoring young people.

Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?

Grew up in Brazil, so different writers… Monteiro Lobato and the Adventures of Emilia and the Gang. Completely politically incorrect for our times however the hero was a rag doll and the whole crew would inhale a powder – pirlimpinpin (later speculated that Monteiro Lobato was a coke addict) that would take them in many adventures in strange lands. The kids and Emilia helped Hercules on his twelve feats… ah, and the wise man, professor was a corn husk.

What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?

Set goals that are broad (in contrast to prescriptive) and be open to what comes your way. Open many fronts simultaneously and follow the paths that open up. And ignore nay sayers. Yes you can do it all, just not at the same time. And it will take a lot of hard work and tons of rejection. Get used to it.

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