Beyond Numbers: Navigating Data Analytics with Joel Dunahoe, Ep #29

In this episode, Jodi chats with highly influential leader, expert, and director of analytics Joel Dunahoe, who holds a remarkable two-decade journey of shaping the analytics landscape for Fortune 500 companies and IT organizations.

Get ready for an insightful conversation as Joel delves into the triumphs and challenges of data’s dynamic world, his inspiring approach to cultivating a thriving workplace culture, and the power of networking and support. Plus, discover Joel’s ingenious ‘so-what’ principle, which he utilizes when recruiting new talent and hear his invaluable advice for those aspiring to break into the field of data analytics.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in… 

  • Creating a workplace culture that prioritizes growth [02:02]
  • Joel’s professional pathway from finance to becoming director of analytics [04:06]
  • The evolution of data analytics: Deriving valuable business insights past and present [05:41]
  • The primary challenges of acquiring and integrating data [08:08]
  • How to get started: Pursuing a career in data science [12:30]
  • An introduction to the “So What” principle [16:40]
  • The importance of storytelling and immediate feedback [18.54]
  • The value of innate curiosity in the analytic space [20.43]
  • Onboarding and demand in the data recruitment market [24:11]
  • The benefits of seeking mentorship by committee [25:26]
  • Navigating remote work environments and honing skills for virtual interactions [28:10]
  • Advice on getting started in the data field [31:58]

Curiosity has to be an innate skill set, especially in the analytic space, because there are so many questions that are at the top of mind, not answerable immediately, and you’ve got to go off and figure out how to get that question answered.” – Joel Dunahoe.

Communication, storytelling and curiosity

Throughout the discussion, Joel emphasizes the importance of communication, compelling storytelling and curiosity in the data field. Joel highlights the significance of allowing individuals to present their work while providing immediate feedback to improve their storytelling skills. With insights and examples, Joel’s dynamic approach helps foster continuous team growth and ensures that data-driven insights are always communicated effectively.

Joel also unpacks the driving force of curiosity within the analytics space. Curiosity fuels the drive to find answers to complex questions that may not have immediate solutions. Throughout the discussion, Joel encourages analysts to nurture their curiosity and embrace the ever-evolving nature of the field. With new subject areas, tools, and questions emerging constantly, staying curious is essential for continued success within this fast-paced industry.

Prioritizing Time for Growth:

Do you set aside time to get organized and embrace learning opportunities? We loved hearing how Joel’s team at Covetrus has implemented a unique practice of blocking off Wednesday mornings to dedicate time to personal growth and honing technical skills. This commitment demonstrates the team’s recognition of the importance of staying updated with advancements within their industry.


Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Tableau: Interactive data visualization software company

 Data podcast recommendations:

The Analytic Mind:

The Data Storytellers:


Connect with Joel Dunahoe:  

Connect with Tech Talent Today host Jodi Kulek Mayer:


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