Staff Spotlight: Lily Brennan, Data AnalystReading time: 4 minutes
In the Staff Spotlight series, we highlight the experience, expertise, and interests of a member of the Rapid Insight team. In this entry, we shine the spotlight on Lily Brennan, who joined the company two years ago as a data analyst.
Background and Education
Lily grew up in Intervale, New Hampshire, just north of Rapid Insight’s headquarters in Conway. In the summers of her youth, Lily worked as a face painter at Storyland, a nearby children’s amusement park, developing a patience and artistic flair that would be integral to her success in analytics. While pursuing her Bachelor’s in Statistics (with a minor in Computer Science) at the University of Vermont, she interned at GlobalFoundries, a semi-conductor manufacturer headquartered in California.
Lily was drawn to data analysis and statistics because of the profession’s wide applicability to a range of industries and fields. “While the subject matter may differ greatly between education, environmental affairs, and sports medicine, analytics is important across nearly every industry,” Lily said. She was compelled by the fact that she could work with statistics while also contributing to causes she supports.
An Exciting and Collaborative Workplace
After graduating from UVM, Lily felt very fortunate to hear of an open position at a tech company in the beautiful part of New Hampshire she grew up in. Not only was the job conveniently located, but it also aligned perfectly with her interests and experience. It offered her the chance to work with data analysts in a wide variety of fields on a massive range of projects. She applied and was hired as a Data Analyst at Rapid Insight in June 2019.
Lily appreciates Rapid Insight’s collaborative, tight-knit, team-based approach to work. She sees her colleagues as an excellent learning and support resource, and beyond that, as a fun group of people to spend the day working alongside. When a challenge arises, the Support team all dive in to find a solution, sharing what they learn along the way with the rest of the group.
But the collaborative atmosphere doesn’t only apply to Rapid Insight’s employees. Another aspect of the job that Lily greatly enjoys is that it allows her to work closely with Rapid Insight’s highly-capable users. At first, Lily felt somewhat intimidated by the expertise and qualifications of Rapid Insight’s customers, but she quickly learned to look at support calls as opportunities to both learn from and assist each user.
“Most of the time, you can learn from them and they can learn from you. Really, they just want to have a genuine discussion about their data and hear about the help we can offer,” Lily said.
Wearing Many Hats
Some jobs require exclusive specialization and focus in one particular area of expertise. But Lily’s role at Rapid Insight requires a different skillset: the ability to apply her skills and analytical mind to an ever-changing set of projects and tasks.
On any given day, Lily might help a user fine-tune a predictive model or perfect a data prep workflow, plan or present an informative webinar, or beta test a new version of the software. Her ability to quickly turn from one task to another is a huge asset in her work.
Lily takes inspiration from a French proverb shared by James Cousins, Rapid Insight’s Analyst Manager: “Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid (Little by little, the bird builds her nest).” To Lily, this quotation speaks to the gradual accretion of skills over time. It helps her remember the importance of working toward and achieving goals but also keeps her grounded in an understanding that it may take time to reach them.
Her hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed. James Cousins said, “Lily consistently performs at a very high level, benefitting her projects, her colleagues, and more to the point, Rapid Insight customers.”
Applying Values to Data
In line with her interest in improving social conditions through data analysis, Lily reflected on a particularly meaningful recent project Rapid Insight’s support team assisted with:
“This past winter we worked with a team from Bunker Hill Community College discussing food insecurity on college campuses. This is an issue that is perhaps not thought about as often on college campuses; since students are paying for their education, you sort of assume they are also able to pay for food. However, that’s not always the case.
“To address this, Bunker Hill’s student success team compiled a dataset and built a predictive model to identify students who could use food assistance. The team started by meeting the students’ basic needs. This in turn helps keep students enrolled, benefiting both the students and the university.
“This story is inspiring to me because it shows that the work our users do with our software goes so far beyond just data analysis. It impacts peoples’ lives in huge ways.”
Outside of Work
Lily pursues a wide range of interests in her free time: reading, practicing yoga, gardening, paddle boarding, and traveling, especially camping.
She recently returned from a cross-country road trip in her teardrop trailer which we tracked on our blog. Check out some of her stops and the data-related insights we derived along the way!
To connect with Lily and the rest of the Rapid Insight support team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-585-6511.