By Shanna Lee, Director, Global Volunteers, DataKind
There’s no question that the pandemic has caused untold amounts of pain. But we could also see its presence as an opportunity to pause and ask ourselves: how can we, as a collective, support one another? Through our work at DataKind, we’ve learned that the demand for data science, machine learning, and AI are greater than ever and a critical part of building a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future. We know 2020 has been a year, but the work never stopped. Volunteers continued to meet virtually and projects pivoted and moved forward.
In the spirit of staying connected, we held a virtual event powered by Teradata to celebrate what the Data for Good community has done to make the world a better, safer, healthier, and fairer place. With the theme of “Empowering Communities, Serving Humanity”, we “charged” things up with lightning talks by volunteers sharing work that they’ve done over the past year. From our Frontline Health Systems Impact Practice that focuses on health service delivery to those who need it most, to partnering with Plentiful to help the NYC community access food pantries, to raising awareness on housing insecurity, it was humbling and exciting to hear!
When asked why their work was important to them, Monique Williams, Dona Stewart, and Benjamin Kinsella, all lightning speakers, shared their thoughts below.
Attendees also had the opportunity to mingle and meet new people at virtual tables and through speed networking. Participants shared their interests and discussed topics like the projects featured in the lightning talks and mentioned above as well as inclusion in tech, job advice, examples of data science being used in the service of humanity, including Teradata’s COVID-19 Resiliency Dashboard, and more.
As we look toward the new year, DataKind realizes more than ever the importance of staying connected to the Data for Good community. “What a wonderful event hosted by DataKind this year,” said Sherri Nugent, Director of Community Relations at Teradata. “2020 has been incredibly challenging and it feels great to know that behind the scenes the DataKind community, and specifically its volunteers, were hard at work virtually supporting nonprofit organizations in need. I don’t know when we’ve seen a year where data analytics has been more urgent and critical. Thank you all for everything you do!”
Teradata’s annual support over the last eight years has helped DataKind grow and strengthen in a wide variety of ways. Most significantly, Teradata’s steadfast support of our global community of pro bono technologists has allowed us to stage numerous DataDive events, community gatherings, and even international summits for our volunteer Chapter Leaders. In a year which has shown how collaboration is a vital part to solving pressing challenges, we’re grateful for a partner that helps to connect our community even more.
We’re excited to explore additional ways that we can connect and inspire virtually. Take a look at the quick links below and get in touch with us! To become a partner, or volunteer, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Shanna Lee thrives at the opportunity to work alongside empowered volunteers and communities toward a better world! As Director, Global Volunteers at DataKind, she’s creating an environment in which volunteers can contribute in meaningful ways to our partners, feel valued for their unique abilities, and reflect the diverse communities they represent. She brings 12 years of volunteer engagement, community engagement, strategy, public health, and partnership experience to DataKind.