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Diedre Downing

Diedre Downing

Lead Data Storytelling Trainer, New York

A well developed and thoughtfully interpreted data story can open a conversation about data to far more stakeholders.

Diedre was a keynote speaker at VizCon2020, the world's largest Data Storytelling conference. She's shared her expertise on using data storytelling to build influence and drive action at the Global Big Data Conference, Open Data Science Conference, and at multiple data science meetups worldwide. Diedre has presented at iNACOL (now the Aurora Institute) and Learning Forward on developing engaging learning experiences for professionals.

The organizations that Diedre recently trained include:

Diedre was amazing! I loved this course, it changed my perception of data analysis and gave me many ideas to improve my presentations

Class Participant
Cisco

I don’t like meetings, especially four-hour meetings across three days, but this was the best meeting in/related to Cisco that I’ve ever joined. Diedre is a perfect instructor, presents well, no annoying preso habits and challenged us without pressure!

Class Participant
Cisco

Professional Experience

Diedre has held the following positions

  • Head of Learning Experiences, StoryIQ
  • Senior Manager, Online and Blended Learning – New York City Department of Education
  • Director, Digital Content and Instruction, New York City Department of Education
  • Math Teacher, Math Department Chair, New York City Department of Education
  • Mentor Teacher, Blended Learning Institute
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Hunter College, City University of New York

Education

  • Master of Science for Teachers, Secondary Mathematic Education, Pace University

Diedre’s Recent Keynotes and Conference Talks

  • The Art (and Importance) of Data Data Storytelling, ODSC East 2020
  • The Essential Elements of Powerful Data Stories, Keynote, VizCon 2020
  • Bridging Data and Storytelling to Create Insight, Panel Session, VizCon 2020
  • "The Essential Role of the Analytics Translator", The Global Big Data Conference, 2020

Interview with Diedre

How would you describe your facilitation style?

My style is more of a guide or coach than a traditional instructor. We're all a team, we're all learning, and we are all helping each other out. I value everyone's experience and expertise in the room. When we solve a problem collectively, the answer is generally far more valuable and interesting than if you had just Googled it on your own. I see my role as helping each learner tap into how concepts and skills can be relevant and useful to their work and goals.

How do you keep your sessions engaging?

I fill my classes with short breakout groups to get learners talking about using the concepts from class in their work. I believe in the idea of learning by doing, so I make sure that there are plenty of opportunities to practice and get feedback. I genuinely love helping others learn. I want my class to be the best part of your day! I facilitate my classes with the energy and enthusiasm of a group fitness instructor. Get ready for plenty of virtual high fives and celebrations of learning in any session with me.

What are your thoughts on training virtually?

Teaching virtually is much different from teaching in person – but we've done a great job of restructuring our courses to create a dynamic virtual classroom. The switch to a virtual setting has made it easier for more people to take advantage of our classes. More often than not, I have learners from multiple continents engaging together. I love that we can all be in the same "room" together even though we are nowhere near each other geographically. The truth is, just being in-person isn't what makes a training session valuable. You need excellent class content, an approachable and knowledgeable instructor, and high-quality practice activities to have a great learning experience. At StoryIQ, all of our classes, whether in-person or virtual, have those necessary components.

What do you like to do when you aren't delivering training?

I love to cook. This past year I have focused on expanding my culinary skills. I spend far too much time watching cooking shows and doing recipe research. I have a hard time sitting still, so I spend a fair amount of time trying to get on the leaderboard of virtual group fitness classes or getting outdoors. I'm an avid skier in the winter and a beach bum in the summer. My secret skill is crocheting.

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