How Asking Questions Led Me to a New Role and Finding My Passion as a Data Governance Officer

Sponsored by Siemens Energy

Destiny Desilets

Photo courtesy of Siemens Energy.

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July 23, 2024 at 9:57PM UTC

If you’re interested in growing a career in STEM, especially a Data-related career, Destiny Desilets has advice for you. “Surround yourself with people who want to help you grow,” says Desilets, a Data Governance Officer at Siemens Energy.

“When it comes to data, there are many resources, both free and paid, to help you become what you want in your career,” she explains. “Google is your best friend for this.”

Your colleagues are also a great source of knowledge. “It is completely reasonable to voice that you don’t know how to do something or that it’s outside the scope of your knowledge,” elaborates Desilets. “By doing this, you let others know your limits in some areas but also give them a chance to work with you and help you grow your knowledge.”

In Desilets’ own career, relying on her helpful coworkers was key to her growth. After starting at Siemens Energy as a Statistical Analyst, Desilets grew by taking on more projects as well as proactively reaching out to her colleagues to ask questions. “My coworkers and managers supplied whatever education and support I requested,” shares Desilets.

Then, “I started voicing my concerns about the data and the amount of time lost due to our data structure and quality,” she tells us. “My managers took my concerns seriously and had already been working on a solution: data governance. They offered me a position where I can be part of the solution, and this is where I found my passion.”

This eventually led to Desilets gaining recognition from leadership, which was looking to form data governance from their Enterprise Data & Advanced Analytics department. “Now, I work together with leaders in the organization by using my experiences and understanding of the importance of usable data to make positive changes throughout the organization,” note Desilets.

In the end, not being afraid of asking questions and relying on her coworkers helped Desilets find her passion at work. Here, she gives us a closer look at the job she loves, as well as her best career advice for you.

Tell us about your job.

As a Data Governance Officer (DGO), I’m currently working on building data governance for Siemens Energy globally. This ranges from creating roles and interviewing those who may be right for said roles to coordinating with the different areas in the organizations to ensure that we have a holistic approach to the data.

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your work?

The most rewarding part is seeing the real positive effect our work is already having on those who deal with these data issues. Messy data is something all organizations struggle with, and it really affects those who have to deal with those issues on a day-to-day basis. When data governance is brought up, many want to get involved because they see the benefits they’ll get from it. 

On the other side, there are still many who hold onto the old ways of working. They want the benefits of data governance without having to change how they currently do things. This is the most challenging aspect, getting everyone to understand that they’re part of the solution.

What impact are you able to make in your current role that most excites you? 

What excites me the most is ensuring good quality data for the users. When the data is of high standards, we can do so much more with it. Our data scientists can create more accurate models of how our turbines affect the environment and work toward finding the best possible solutions. Siemens Energy is consistently working on lowering our technologies’ negative impact on the environment, but to do this, we need usable data in all aspects of the organization.   

That sounds wonderful! Could you tell us more about the culture at Siemens Energy and how it helps you succeed?

One aspect of Siemens Energy’s culture that I love is that everyone wants to help you grow. Siemens Energy has many available courses (online and in-person) for whatever you want to learn, and there are so many passionate people here

For instance, one time in a meeting, I said that I didn’t know what an API is. No one said anything negative. Instead, they gave me a quick description in the meeting and then booked another meeting to go into detail about APIs. Another time, I told my manager that I wanted to become a leader, and he booked weekly meetings to coach me on how to lead and gave me chances to lead tasks and projects.

Speaking of leadership, what is your No. 1 piece of advice for women who are moving into or want to move into leadership roles?

Remember your strong points and that you got to this point because others see your strengths. Call out against discrimination. For example, if you’re asked to get water for everyone during a meeting, ask them clearly if they asked anyone else to do this and remind them what your actual responsibilities are. It’s important to create clear workplace boundaries.

Overall, what’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

If you know that you’ve done everything you could with the resources that you have, then you’ve done a good job. It can be disappointing when you can’t deliver exactly what the customer wanted, but sometimes you just can’t. When this happens, learn from it, and understand that it’s helping you. The next step is figuring out what to do with this information.

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