Interview with Jacqui Moore
Jacqui Moore is a Senior Data Visualization and Analytics Consultant at Cleartelligence in Boston, Massachusetts. But don’t let her career in data viz define her – she is the mother to an adorable 3-year-old son and wife of 9 years to her husband Brian Moore. When not working or taking care of the family, Jacqui enjoys painting (she is so very talented), reading, and (of course) vizzing.
One thing I love about Jacqui is that she appears to be a soft-spoken mother, but she is full of ideas and passion for the data visualization field, family, and creating community. She is a brilliant motivator for other women to excel in this field. In fact, I participated on a panel with Jacqui and other fantastic women at a past Boston TUG on “Closing the Gender Gap.” Additionally, as a mother in data viz, she is unique because she and her husband both work with data visualization.
Lindsay Betzendahl (LB): How did you discover Tableau and join the #datafam community?
Jacqui Moore (JM): I got my first Tableau license in 2012 while working at EBSCO. I discovered the community through searching for blogs as I was learning. I started a Twitter account to follow some of the people who’s blogs I used (Andy Kriebel, Andy Cotgreave, Kelly Martin, and more). I started attending the Boston TUG and meeting other users in the area. My first Tableau Conference was 5 years ago, I think, and it was so energizing and inspiring that I really started to get into the community. I started participating in #MakeoverMonday and other challenges to practice and learn.
LB: Wow, you have been using Tableau for some time. That is impressive! I agree that the best way to get involved is to dive in to some of the “places” that the Tableau #datafam hang out such as Twitter and the Conference. Personal blog are also a fantastic way to learn. Makeover Monday is the best way to get involves as a newbie, IMO. Given that, I find that once connected the Tableau community can feel like family sometimes. Tell us, what makes the community so great in your opinion?
JM: The people in this community are so passionate and have so much energy and talent. What really makes it a family is that there is so much support and generosity. Nearly everyone I have met or interacted with has been amazingly kind, helpful, and welcoming.
LB: Couldn’t agree more. If you are reading this and are new to Tableau, the biggest lesson here is just reach out, ask questions, DM or email people when you need help of have questions. People are really willing to be supportive and encouraging. We all want you to succeed! Speaking of success… Motherhood is often one of those things that is challenging to feel successful at. It’s such a balance of “Am I doing this right?” and “What is right?” But despite it all, we love it. What is your favorite thing about motherhood?
JM: Motherhood has taught me so much about myself, and there are so many wonderful things, and so many challenging things. The most incredible part of motherhood is re-experiencing all of the newness and unadulterated joy of childhood through his eyes. It makes everything new for me as well, and we get to carry on traditions or make new ones. That is one of the most rewarding pieces of parenting.
LB: I’m so glad you mentioned traditions. As a previous therapist, I used to tell clients that any sort of tradition or ritual can be very grounding and important for kids. They often remember them into adulthood. Creating your own family traditions is rewarding and creates a bond that only your family has. I love it. Great point! So, what are some challenges you face trying to balance family life with data life (including your work life)?
JM: I think the single most challenging part of balancing family life with data life is that you want to give 100% to everything, and it simply isn’t possible. There are so many things competing for my time. The time to spend with my son, the time to work on personal vizzes and paint, the time that I spend at work, the time I spend with my husband, friends, and other family. It’s impossible to give all I would like to in all of the areas, which can leave me feeling like I’m falling short. I would love to do more for and in the community, but I simply don’t have the time or energy by the end of the day. Even with an equal partner, there is simply too much to fit in a day. I’m learning to let some things go. Rather than ‘balance’ meaning I do everything, I’m trying to treat it more like I am on a skateboard; to stay balanced, you lean a little more left or right, forward or backward. Ultimately, it will be easier to stay upright that way rather than trying to force it with rigidity.
LB: I think we all agree that what you just said is one of the biggest challenges. Plenty of research tells us that mothers (and women) spend time considering the impacts their choices have on others. Often, because we are maternal and want to ‘care’ and ‘take care’ we often put ourselves last in the list of priorities. Which means we usually feel like we are falling short. Men are often less self-critical of how well they do a parenting job. My husband always says “Dads do it different,” which often means, he does the task to his ability (without comparison to me) and moves on. There is little mental weight. Unfortunately, for women that weight of ‘doing it all’ can drown us. I know I’ve felt that way. But there is so much we can do to support one another and identify strategies that work. So, what advice do you have for other mothers in the data viz space?
JM: Do what it takes to find something that motivates you to viz, and make a goal around it. Make it a reasonable goal. If you can only get one personal viz done, then that’s great! Weekly may be too much, and that’s ok. In some seasons of motherhood, you might have to cheer from the sidelines. That’s still giving something to the community, and keeping you engaged.
LB: Brilliant advice! It’s so true that your goals need to reflect what is possible for you. You don’t have to create a viz every week or blog every month just because someone else does. Please, read my post last year about why I considered #MomsWhoViz, it started because I felt a bit envious of my male counterparts and the time they seemed to have to do amazing viz things. You are so right that the act of supporting others is invaluable. We all need strong women in our lives who build us up and if that’s all you have time to do, then you are still amazing! Clearly, time is something we as mothers discuss quite a bit, so how do you create time for your hobbies (if you do)? If not, do you have goals to find time? What needs to change?
JM: I don’t create enough time for my hobbies. I’m trying to be better at this. I call it a night early so I can read. I paint when my son naps, or after his bedtime, if I can. In all honesty, it is the guilt in taking time for myself, combined with a lack of energy that keeps me from fully enjoying and practicing my hobbies. I think we need to give ourselves permission to be our own people. We and our families will be better for it.
LB: Your honesty probably resonates with so many mothers. I’ve been there too. I think as mothers we can try to support each other to take time for what also refuels us. In order to be great mothers, we have to feel ‘full’ ourselves. Our kids, in the long run, will be totally fine if we take time for ourselves. Being that a mission of #MomsWhoViz is to built up, support, and connect, what’s one thing you think we can do to support other moms who viz?
JM: If we can talk more openly and start a meaningful dialog about the challenges of motherhood, we can all feel less alone in our struggles. We can lift each other up. And, we can build cultures at work and in the community that understand and accommodate for the flexible priorities and time demands that come with parenthood, and still allow this important subset of the community to contribute meaningfully.
LB: Thank you, Jacqui, well said! So lastly, what is your favorite viz that you’ve done and why?
JM: My viz, titled “To the Mama with PPD – You are Not Alone”, is my favorite viz. It is close to home for me, and I really enjoyed making it as part of my own healing process. I hope it will help others feel less alone.
For more information on #MomsWhoViz, please check out my original post here and my viz template here. Subscribe to follow my blog for more updates and interviews with other mothers in the dataviz community.
Also, please email me if you know of mothers who should be spotlighted by emailing me a link to a visualization they have done.
Thanks for reading!