Suzannah Dunbar

Suzannah is a seasoned data storytelling and facilitation professional who strives to make clients feel empowered and enthusiastic about presenting data stories.

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“Data storytelling doubles down on two superpowers of the human brain: interpreting visual information and soaking up stories. It works because it’s how we work.”

Data storytelling is an efficient communication tool that transforms complex data or muddy insights into a clear, concise stories that boost confidence for both the presenter and the audience.

As a former snowboard instructor, Suzannah knows the importance of efficient and concise communication. She inspires confidence and enthusiasm in learners to analyze, visualize, and present data through engaging and active instruction. She sees learners as active participants who can build upon each other’s knowledge through activities and discussion.

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Professional Experience

Suzannah has held the following positions

  • Master Facilitator, StoryIQ
  • Senior Consultant – Data Strategy, Training & Facilitation, Change Management, Guidehouse
  • Program Analyst and Trainer/Facilitator (Contractor through Apprio, Inc.), USAID
  • Special Assistant to the Executive Director, AidData
  • Program Assistant for Monitoring and Evaluation and the Frontiers in Development Forum, USAID


  • Master of Global Human Development, Georgetown University
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in International Studies, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business
  • Bachelor of Arts in Russian Studies, The Ohio State University

Suzannah’s Recent Keynotes and Conference Talks

  • The Art of Data Storytelling, CPA Ontario Data Analytics & Insights Conference, 2022
  • Increasing the Utilization of Evaluations, American Evaluation Association, 2019
  • The Secret Life of Dashboards, MERL Tech, 2019

Interview with Suzannah

Practical, engaging, and fun.
I bring in content that is interesting to me personally like fun facts, studies, anecdotes, or books I’m reading to keep the content fresh. I also provide plenty of opportunities for others to share the things they find interesting about the content and beyond. I think providing opportunities for participants to root the content in their own enthusiasm and context provides for an engaging learning experience for everyone.
I used to play a role very similar to many of the learners we teach, and I understand the pain points they face because I used to face them myself. Anytime I am facilitating content, I try to make it as practical as possible by explaining common pitfalls, cautionary tales, and success stories that I’ve seen in my own work.
I used to deliver exclusively in-person training, but, like most of us, had to shift quickly to adjust to the virtual environment. I was skeptical at first, but I begrudgingly began to accept that virtual training has a number of benefits over in-person training. Virtual training eases participation for quieter voices – as an introvert, when I’m a training participant, I’m not someone who likes to raise my hand and share my thoughts in-person, but I will absolutely participate in polls, a chat, or use annotations. I’ve found this to be true for others in my trainings as well. Virtually, I find I have more individual participants than in-person because there are more “light-touch” opportunities to do so.

Virtual training is efficient – it’s much easier to log into a Zoom or Webex space for a few hours during the working day than budget time to commute to a central location. At StoryIQ, we can span our content over the course of a few days for a few hours each day, freeing up the rest of the time for participants to take care of their emails and hold meetings without disrupting their schedule.

Virtual training is flexible – certainly, it is possible to pivot mid-flight during in-person trainings, but it has not been uncommon for my virtual participants to focus on a specific area and signal to me that they’d like to move “off script” to dig deeper into a specific area. Facilitating virtually makes it easy and efficient for me to pivot and pull up additional content I have on my computer or demo a resource on the fly without impacting the rest of the agenda.

And finally, virtual training is tree-friendly – no printouts!
Before moving to a mostly-remote schedule, I began my facilitation career facilitating exclusively in-person. While virtual facilitation has grown on me, there are a few benefits to in-person training that I haven’t yet been able to replicate one for one in the virtual environment. In-person training has a team-building element baked in – due to the nature of being in-person with colleagues working together to learn something or solve a problem creates a team-building dynamic that is amplified in person.

In-person training also puts real time feedback front and center – I know in an instant when I need to pick up the pace, slow down, or immediately retire a joke, which creates a natural and fluid dynamic between me and the participants.

Finally, in-person training maximizes group and breakout discussions – there’s something about physically seeing someone’s facial expressions that can prompt thoughtful follow-up questions or signal to dig more deeply into sticking points.

Data to Insights. Demonstrating how the data analysis process is relevant for everyone – not just people with fancy degrees or who know how to code – is one of the reasons why I do this job. My personal favorite portion of the class is the point-and click Excel demo. On paper, this sounds incredibly boring, but the way our activity is structured makes it much less of a dry demo and more of a scavenger hunt to trace lines of inquiry. It’s fun. And it makes my day when I discover that a learner has developed a newfound enthusiasm for Excel.
When I’m not delivering training, year-round I’m either reading a book, cooking something new, or hanging out with my husband, Soham, and our dog, Stuart. We also like to be outdoors and like to take advantage of the many hiking trails and “ski” slopes (we are both snowboarders) in New England.

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