Building a Data Team: 3 Perspectives

October 4th: 11-11:50am PST

In this session DrivenData co-founder Peter Bull will talk about how organizations can build their own in-house data team (and think about the tradeoffs for even making this investment). To accomplish that you will hear from three different and critical perspectives on building out a data team.

Technical: Peter Bull, Principal Data Scientist at DrivenData. Brings a perspective on decisions of picking the most effective technical tools, the process for hiring technical talent, which data skills you need when, building vs. buying, and in-sourcing vs. out-sourcing.

Operational: Ginger Zielinskie, Chief Growth Officer at The Federation of American Scientists. Brings a perspective on building a high-functioning data science team within a non-profit, with perspective on recruiting talent, organizational support, budgeting, and building support.

Funding: Claudia Juech, former Vice President of Data and Society PJMF. Brings a perspective on how funders think about supporting investments in data capacity for grantees, how to talk about these initiatives, and what makes for long-term success.

Peter is a co-founder and Principal Data Scientist at DrivenData. For the last nine years, DrivenData has worked with non-profits, governments, and social enterprises to realize the promise of machine learning and AI. In addition to building solutions for these organizations directly, DrivenData also hosts the largest data for good crowd innovation community—these data scientists help push the state-of-the art in using data to solve the hardest problems we face. Recently Peter has worked on projects to detect cancer in digital microscope slides, identify hateful speech online, build disaster resilience from satellite and drone imagery, and empower women through access to digital financial services. He earned his master’s in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard. Previously he worked as a software engineer at Microsoft and earned a BA in philosophy from Yale University.

Claudia Juech leads program development and program design for the Government Innovation portfolio at Bloomberg Philanthropies. As a former Senior Executive at the Rockefeller Foundation, the founding CEO of the Cloudera Foundation, and most recently, the VP of Data and Society at the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF), Claudia has more than 15 years of experience leading programs and operations across geographies. She pioneered new approaches in program development at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she and her team used foresight approaches and innovation methodologies to identify the most promising ideas in health, climate change, and economic inclusion that could be shaped into the next $100M initiative. At Cloudera and PJMF, based on conversations with 300 nonprofit organizations, she implemented a new foundation model designed to deliver the key elements nonprofits need to use data effectively: appropriate funding in combination with direct access to technology, data expertise, and long-term technical support. Claudia has a degree in information science from the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and an International MBA from the University of Cologne.

Ginger Zielinskie currently serves as Chief Growth Officer at The Federation of American Scientists where she works across a variety of topics to embed science, technology, innovation, and experience into government and public discourse in order to build a healthy, safe, prosperous and equitable society.   She was formerly Chief Strategy Officer at, where she worked to bring the power of data science to the world’s most challenging social problems.  Prior to, Zielinskie served as President & CEO of Benefits Data Trust (BDT) where she led the successful scaling and disciplined strategy that helped more than 800,000 people access benefits that help them eat, heat their homes, and enroll in healthcare. With over twenty years of experience, Ginger is an action-oriented executive leader who builds strong partnerships to achieve systematic and meaningful change. Ginger earned her BA from Skidmore College and has an MBA in Social Policy and Management from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.  

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