In this series, I’ve welcomed guests to the Empowered Leaders in Tech podcast to inspire you to take control of your career and build a life YOU love.

We’re all facing the fear of the next move, the feeling that we can’t keep up and that we will never be enough. 

The all too familiar imposter syndrome, and every time you think, I am the only person to have this. We hear another story of someone who feels just the same. Yet in our professional lives, we rarely let it show. 

Today I’m sharing with you an Interview with the inspirational Karen Jean-Francois.  An analytics manager, Karen is passionate about how data science and analytics can support businesses and help them better understand their customers. While she finds digging into data fun, she believes that it comes with responsibility, and her uncompromising focus on data integrity enables her to build trust and strong relationships with stakeholders. 

Most of all, she strives to help others craft their own path to personal and professional fulfillment. She believes that focusing on personal development and having access to role models is key to having a successful career – no matter what your definition of success is. This is why she created the Women in Data Podcast in partnership with Women in Data UK. This resulted in an industry recognition as a Twenty in Data and Technology 2020, which awards visible and accessible female role models for the next generations of data professionals. 

Karen’s story reminds us of the importance of being open to new ideas, exploring alternatives, and asking those difficult questions.

Starting her career as a Mathematician, it’s no surprise she came to work in data analytics. 
But like many, this was a squiggly career. In fact, starting life in Guadeloupe with her family as an aspiring maths teacher without even a computer at home, we can now see how unlikely this was. 

She became an athlete training in Paris, where her sport became a way to step out as a natural introvert. 

As Karen juggled the demands of her athletics career and a master’s in France, far from home, she heard some advice that helped her to see she wasn’t alone. 

Later she took the brave decision to drop her track career and focus on studies to become a data analyst.

She took a master’s in Engineering & statistics and loved it.  

We talked about the importance of knowing your own skills and passions, and how role models and mentors can help a lot. 

Then onto career progression and the unspoken rules surrounding promotions and recognition that see many high-performing professionals leave organizations. They feel unrecognized, unfulfilled and disengaged. 

Karen shares with us openly how she too questioned her career, when on the track you know what time you have to run to be at that level

In business you can’t compare, it creates conflict and the career ladder can be ambiguous at best.

We talked about diversity and Karen admitted to once thinking, ‘I’m different and that means maybe I shouldn’t be here.’

Role models and mentors help a lot.

With Karen acclaiming one book that really transformed her thinking by Valerie Young, Secret thoughts of successful women.

Not to mention that the Women in Data podcast also helped Karen to become more visible in the community.

Inspired? Are fellow women in data? You can always check out the Women in Data Podcast and find Karen Jean-Francois on linked in. 

I would love to hear what you think of this episode and the first season. 
What would you like to see more of? Let me know over on Linked in or mail sue@elitedigitalspace.com

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