Photo Courtesy of Bloomberg.
Many of us dream of having a career where no two days look the same. But for Desiree Abad, that’s been a reality for eight years. In her time at Bloomberg, Abad has held nine roles, one of which took her overseas to a location where she knew no one. She says that big move was the best decision of her career.
Currently the Global Manager for Global Data News Automation and Automated Events Generation, Abad and her team use data to automate the most relevant news for clients globally, ensuring they never miss a beat on the markets. Abad is also the Diversity & Inclusion Business Champion for the Americas, helping Bloomberg nurture an inclusive environment that drives innovation for all.
Abad recently spoke to Fairygodboss about Bloomberg’s Global Data team and their initiatives, what auto-generated news really looks like, and how she drives impact at one of the world’s best known companies. Then, she shared her best career advice.
How long have you been with Bloomberg? What about it made you first want to join?
I’ve been with Bloomberg for about eight years. At the time, I had been interviewing with many different companies, across a variety of industries. Bloomberg stood out as a company where you can create your own career path and take on additional responsibilities if you prove yourself.
Tell me about the roles that you’ve held at Bloomberg, as well as your current one. What about this role most excites you?
In the eight years that I’ve been at Bloomberg, I’ve had the opportunity to take on many different roles. I started out as a Global Data analyst across many domain areas. After a few years on various teams, I was offered a new opportunity in our London office to become a Product Manager for 8 different products and teams. In 2017, I returned to the US to start a new group within Global Data focused on News Automation and generating data insights for our clients.
Can you tell us a bit more about News Automation? We heard that’s a big initiative, what does it mean? And what has your role in this been?
When you think about News Automation, a good place to start is with a concept called “data journalism.” Data journalism is a way of leveraging different sources of data to surface hidden trends that can drive a news story, utilizing data to generate infographics for visualization, or using data to assist in telling a story.
While data journalism still involves an editor manually publishing a news story, automated news means that the story is being generated, written, and published by technology. This is especially useful for headlines and stories that clients expect from Bloomberg as quickly as possible, giving our subscribers an edge. You’re dealing in seconds or milliseconds.
In my role as the Global Data Head of News Automation and Automated Insights, my team works across numerous departments within Bloomberg, including Engineering, News, Product, and more to deliver the highest quality data to meet the needs for automated journalism.
What does a typical day look like?
No two days are ever the same. As a project-based team where projects can last a day, weeks, or months, we work with many different products and teams across the company. This means that we need to quickly learn about different products, data workflows, and technical infrastructure in order to identify the best implementation methods to support automated content.
What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of Global Data at Bloomberg?
Global Data brings together individuals with unique skill sets to work towards one goal: equip our customers for success with the most relevant and actionable information.
This is a very exciting time to be at Bloomberg because financial data is evolving more than ever before. Financial professionals need to navigate all this new data to make the most informed decisions possible, and Global Data has always been at the forefront of this. We stay ahead of the curve with the latest technology and training so we can continue to deliver high quality data to our customers quickly.
Day to day, the roles and responsibilities can really vary. One day you could be assisting with a sales campaign for your product, another day you could be building out new technology and tools to work with your datasets, and another day you could be working with the data to identify trends and anomalies that lead to market-moving news stories.
The fact that Global Data is so dynamic and allows for the utilization and development of a wide range of skills makes it one of the most exciting departments to work in at Bloomberg.
Tell us about your role as Global Data Diversity & Inclusion Champion for the Americas.
This year, I began to serve as the Diversity & Inclusion Business Champion for Global Data Americas. In this role, I work with our Bloomberg communities, including women, members of the LGBTQ community, Black professionals, Latinx professionals, disabled professionals, and more. I partner with a variety of teams including my fellow D&I Business Champions in our EMEA and APAC regions, and engage with leadership at all levels to ensure we are developing an inclusive and diverse environment to drive better business impact.
The idea of working in a company and culture where I — along with all employees — can bring our authentic selves to work is what drives my efforts to ensure we nourish and develop this environment. These efforts can include creating forums to share new ideas and perspectives, pointing out and providing feedback on unconscious/conscious bias in the workplace, and looking at the business to identify opportunities to eliminate or improve practices that impinge on a diverse and inclusive culture.
What’s something you’re especially good at at work?
In my time at Bloomberg, I always strive to tackle the most challenging problems, teams, or products whenever possible. My willingness to take risks and my ability to quickly jump into new areas, learn about them, identify gaps and opportunities, create a strategic plan, and engage with my teams and internal and external stakeholders to gain consensus and drive results has shaped my career here.
What about outside of work?
I’m a bit of a game fiend. From video games to cards to sports to board games, I love playing a good game by myself or with friends or family. I also love to create new things or experiences and am particularly passionate about creative writing, cooking, gardening, painting, and throwing parties for friends and family.
What are you trying to improve on?
There are two main areas I am focused on improving right now. One is expanding my technical coding languages and libraries; the other is paying close attention to how I deliver feedback to senior management so we can drive positive action and results. Bloomberg has provided a dynamic approach in expanding my technical skillset through education and practice. There have been opportunities to engage in training courses and online programs that focus on building coding skills in certain languages, and I’ve also been given the flexibility to take on stretch projects that require me to build on and leverage these skill sets.
What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
The career move I’m most proud of was my move to London to take on a new manager role leading 13 different products and 60-plus analysts. It was a huge risk in all areas of my life. Professionally, I was managing more products than ever before, moving to a different country, and working in a different office culture with people I’d never met. Personally, I was leaving behind my friends, family, and boyfriend to go to a country where I literally only knew co-workers. While I am now back in the US, my time in Europe put my self-development into overdrive and made me a better manager and a stronger individual.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
While I love almost all music genres, I’ve recently been listening to the Silkroad Ensemble’s “Sing Me Home” album. Founded by Yo-Yo ma, it’s a blend of cultural influences and musicians from all over the world to create unique cross-cultural music. I’d recommend starting with the songs “Cabalino” and “Heart and Soul.”
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
Be confident in yourself and take risks. If there is an opportunity you are interested in but you don’t meet all the “requirements,” pause a moment and really think about whether or not ticking off those one or two boxes will impede you from success in that role.
If I hadn’t had this mentality, I would have never had my many different roles at Bloomberg, because every time I moved positions, there was always some sort of skill gap.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
The best boss I ever had was able to work with a multitude of people and find the unique quality or skill set that each person brought to the table, regardless of tenure, experience, or background. This manager could bring together a disparate group of individuals and create a high-performing team. At the same time, this manager was always willing to stand for his people and take risks on them.
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