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Meet the Professionals taking part in the GDI Data4Good Program

We are thrilled to have kicked off our inaugural Data4Good Program!

From over 40 applicants and 15 interviews, 8 passionate data analytics professionals were selected based on their data analytics proficiency, humility, passion, resilience, commitment to social impact and their passion to engage with the GDI data analytics community, which is now over 100 members strong.

Diversity and inclusion was a major focus for the cohort, particularly given that many of the charities that GDI supports are focused on diversity and inclusion issues, such as Inclusive America. We were thus thrilled that 5 of the 8 members selected for the GDI cohort are wonderfully talented women.

The individuals chosen for the Good Data Institute’s 2021 Data4Good Program are based across cities in both Australia and New Zealand.

Verena Wimmer lives in the South Island of New Zealand and is the Head of Insights at venture-backed CoGo, a purpose driven organisation enabling conscious consumers to align their values with their spending through a technology such as open-banking.

"At CoGo, we are working to address some of society’s toughest challenges, such as climate change, through technology, so I am keenly aware of the urgency and importance of the work of the charity sector in this space. Some charities might not have the data resources that the public sector has, which is why I find GDI’s mission so important. Applying and developing my data skills during hackathons with organisations such as Nature Conservation Council and OneTilt, is very rewarding and gives me exposure to techniques that I have not used in my day to day work. GDI provides me with technical guidance and training while meeting other like minded data professionals, it’s an absolute win-win" Verena said.

Across the ditch, a solutions architect at AWS, Linda Eitelberg joins the program from Melbourne, Victoria. Linda was born in Canberra and shortly after moved across the globe to Germany, then to Netherlands and circled back to Australia when she was 18. After work you’ll find Linda biking around Melbourne, playing basketball with friends, swimming or hiking - safe to say, Linda loves the outdoors! Linda joined the GDI Data4Good program to further build her technical skills and empower NFPs and has been partnered with SolarBuddy for her first pro-bono GDI project.

In Sydney, we are thrilled to be joined by Nick Twort, an Economist at HoustonKemp. Nick was born and raised in Auckland where he studied and worked at the University of Auckland, and Briscoes Group before he landed as an Economist in Kangaroo land. Outside of work Nick likes to run, visit local breweries and watch the TV show Survivor. “At my last job they used to call me the Data Doctor which is as close to being an actual doctor as I'll ever be, so that was fun while it lasted”. Nick said to the GDI team, "I wanted to join GDI to apply my skills to work with amazing not for profits on cool data analytics challenges," he said. "I’ve started by working with the NSW Nature Conservation Council via the GDI hackathon and on a GDI project with SolarBuddy."

Born and raised in the gateway of South India (Chennai), Sinduja Sekar joins the GDI ecosystem. By day, Sekar works as a Cloud Data Engineer at an AWS Consultancy and in her spare time likes to play badminton, board games and do science experiments with her kids. Sekar is looking forward to this opportunity to collaborate with other data volunteers and has already benefited from GDI’s network. "The program has only just kicked off, and yet we’ve already been connected to people who are just absolute experts in the space," said Sekar, who outside work loves learning and experimenting with her newly acquired technical skills in data analytics.

From Auckland, Shivanka Kathiravel (also commonly known as Shiv) joins the GDI crew. Shiv works as a Data & Analytics Consultant for Intergen, a Microsoft Gold Partner who delivers solutions across NZ, Australia and North America. Outside of work, you can find Shiv outdoors hiking, travelling (when borders are open), binge watching tv shows, reading and exploring eateries with friends. When we asked Shiv what database she’d love to get her hands on she said: “What dataset wouldn’t I like to get my hands on is the question… as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know”.

Keerthi Nagaraj, was born and raised in Bangalore before making the move to Brisbane to pursue her Masters. Now, Keerthi works as a Senior Data Analyst with Commonwealth Bank in Sydney. Similar to Shiv, Keerthi enjoys hiking and binge watching tv shows - we know who to ask when we’re after a new show to watch! Keerthi joined the GDI Data4Good program to further build her technical toolkit, meet like-minded data professionals and give back to the not for profit sector.

Lastly, two superstars from Xero join the Data4Good party.

Brendan Law, is an Applied Data Scientist at Xero based in Melbourne. Outside of work, Brendan enjoys going for runs, playing squash with his brother, and staying up late to watch cycling on TV. Being a cycling enthusiast, Brendan thinks it would be interesting to get his hands on commute datasets – he always had a passing interest in cities and how they’re planned and set up.

Our second superstar from Xero is Kris Barton, who works as a Data Analyst in Melbourne. In his spare time he enjoys playing basketball and sipping on fine wine – we now know who to go to for wine recommendations in the GDI ecosystem. Kris told us that he appreciates the opportunity to work alongside passionate individuals in the not for profit sector. “GDI has provided me with the rare opportunity to use my technical skill set to directly benefit NFPs that have plenty of passion and vision, but are resource constrained”

GDI’s inaugural Data4Good cohort of data analytics professionals. From Left to Right: Brendan Law, Sinduja Sekar, Keerthi Nagaraj, Linda Eitelberg, Kris Barton, Verena Wimmer, Shivanka Kathiravel, Nick Twort.

GDI believes that an A-plus team of socially-minded data analytics professionals is our secret sauce and the key behind our success and growth in empowering the not for profit landscape. We are thus thrilled to have welcomed such high calibre individuals to our GDI community.

The Good Data Institute’s Data4Good 2021 class will take part in three months of learning and development seminars, peer-mentoring, and opportunities to contribute to a hackathon. In addition, cohort members also have the opportunity to join a GDI project, volunteering alongside existing members of the GDI network.

Each charity participating in a project with GDI receives a team of volunteers for a project over a 4-month period. The participating charities in the inaugural Data4Good Program include: Active Oxfordshire, SolarBuddy, Autism Queensland, OneTILT, and our hackathon partner: The NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC)

Active Oxfordshire works with partners to increase access to physical activity opportunities and to reach people most in need in the Oxfordshire region (particularly the young, disabled, and elderly). The GDI project which has been launched involves analysing and visualising health and activity data in Oxfordshire, to help facilitate more active lifestyles for a wide range of people.

SolarBuddy is a Queensland based non-profit with an aim to unite a global community to gift solar lights to children living in energy poverty. SolarBuddy’s goal is to help children study after dusk and improve their education outcomes. GDI is excited to partner with SolarBuddy to evaluate their current data practices, identify potential opportunities and produce a data strategy for their organisation.

Autism Queensland is one of Australia's oldest and most experienced providers of autism-specific education and therapy services, and has been supporting Queenslanders on the spectrum and their families for almost 55 years. Autism Queensland delivers a comprehensive range of education, therapy, and support services. To assist the organisation, GDI is aiming to launch a data cleansing and analysis project to generate strategic value and insights.

ONETILT is a New York based NFP offering several forms of support to organisations to promote inclusive management and accelerate a more diverse leadership pipeline. They are seeking to take a data driven approach to analyse and monitor feedback from their workshops. GDI is excited to partner with OneTILT to create an interactive dashboard that visualises workshop feedback data. The dashboard will be used on an ongoing basis to derive insights and drive continuous improvement.

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