Welcome Rachel Wells, DataKind’s Senior Manager, Center of Excellence

April 3, 2020

We’ve been eagerly waiting to share the news of our latest addition to the team, and we’re thrilled to finally introduce you to Rachel Wells, DataKind’s Senior Manager, Center of Excellence!

The Center of Excellence is a newly-created team that will drive innovation and improvement as well as create structures that encourage all members of DataKind to measure, experiment, and share learnings with one another. Rachel will work cross-functionally within DataKind to ensure that all projects are executed with the highest quality standards, whether completed by staff members or our global community of volunteers. She’ll also build and maintain a best-in-class playbook for DataKind, outlining the engagement strategy for all data projects across the organization, including our Chapters. 

Prior to joining the team, Rachel was a volunteer data scientist for the DataKind DC Chapter. With her passion for data science for social good and commitment to systematizing and cataloging best practices, we’re so happy to have her on the team. Get to know more about Rachel below, and join us in giving her a warm DataKind welcome!

What were you up to before DataKind?

Before joining DataKind, I was responsible for capacity building at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a nonprofit that rigorously evaluates anti-poverty programs. I developed IPA's strategy for training, managed a global network of technical staff across 20 country offices, ensured projects were following the required research protocols, led regional trainings and summits, and provided technical support to projects. I have also been a Data Analyst focused on poverty measurement through machine learning and a Data Scientist at IBM.

Why are you excited to join DataKind?

I have been volunteering with DataKind for over three years and love the work we do. I think DataKind brings together a special combination of people who are both exceptionally smart and human-centered: both in the ways they think about their projects and the ways they work together. Countless times, I have seen DataKind volunteers meet the needs of project partners and transform their work. So, naturally, I'm thrilled to now have the opportunity to work full-time towards the mission I care so deeply about!

What do you like to do in your free time?

Any excuse I can find for quality time with the people I care about brings me the greatest joy. I frequently gather friends or family around our dining room table for a meal, game, puzzle, or cheese board. Living in DC, I love long walks on the Anacostia River Trail, engaging in my neighborhood community, and exploring different local parks and activities. I also enjoy anything outside and a good book!