Cambia employees marked Latinx Heritage Month through a variety of activities organized by the company’s Home of Latinxs & Allies employee resource group (HOLA) The monthlong recognition (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) included a panel discussion on the topic of “Driving Prosperity, Power and Progress” and a celebration complete with music, food and dancing. However, the main event was a competition called IronViz.
IronViz takes its name from IronChef, but instead of creating culinary delights, competitors create beautiful and informative data visualizations. This internal competition is inspired by Tableau’s nationwide IronViz competition. One of HOLA’s goals is to provide members with opportunities for professional development, so holding IronViz during Latinx Heritage Month was a way to weave that into its other efforts to develop camaraderie among colleagues, serve the community and celebrate heritage.
The community partner
For the 2023 competition, the event organizers worked with the Cambia Health Foundation to connect with nonprofit organizations in our four-state footprint to see if they wanted to partner. The Idaho Immunization Coalition (IIC) answered the call.
IronViz planners and the IIC met multiple times ahead of the competition to determine what data to use and the best questions to ask for the competition. Once the data and questions were determined, the data was stripped of all identifying characteristics to comply with privacy requirements.
Four Cambia teams – made up of volunteers across the company with varying skills in data analysis -- had three weeks to analyze the datasets and answer one of the questions asked by the judges related to the rate of vaccine-preventable diseases, health conditions impacted by vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization rates in different populations.
Danielle Anderson, a consulting research analyst on the health care informatics team, was excited to join the IronViz team this year. Data visualization is not new to her, but she enjoyed the opportunity to stretch herself, work with new people, get creative and support the work of a nonprofit.
“This year’s topic area around vaccination and the opportunity to help a local health organization were big selling points,” Anderson said. “Data visualization for me is a combination of analytic rigor and artistic design. I really enjoy the creative building. It’s fun to send my viz ideas to my team just so I can say, ‘Look what I built!’”
Senior Consulting Research Analyst Chondra Lockwood joined the competition to hone her skills and work with new people. “I wanted the opportunity to learn some better visualization techniques from my colleagues,” she said. “I enjoy collaborating with members of my department that I don’t often get to work with. I feel like each different perspective adds to the final result.”
Team members can count their work on IronViz as volunteer hours. So, on top of everything else, participants can track their hours and use the Dollars for Doers program through the Foundation to direct $20 per volunteer hour to their nonprofit of choice.
One of the IronViz organizers, Saavedra Gonzales, a data analyst on the internal audit team, reflected on the layers of impact this year's competition will have.
“The goal is to collectively gain deeper insights by analyzing data,” she said. “This year, we aim to contribute to the betterment of the communities in Idaho. This is powerful, and our collaboration has the potential to drive meaningful change. It doesn’t just end there; Dollars for Doers allows us to impact other nonprofits of the participant's choice.”
The competition is winding down as Latinx Heritage Month comes to a close. Each team will present to a panel of judges, who are looking for high-quality data analysis, storytelling and visual design. They also have a chance to present to peers for the “people’s choice award.”
The data visualizations will then be transferred back to IIC so they can integrate the findings into their strategic planning. But the partnership doesn’t end there. After the competition, Cambia will continue helping IIC to refine its data storage and management procedures.
The annual IronViz competition is a special time to shake up the work routine and work on new creative projects. But this year it was particularly special because it was in service to one of our nonprofit partners doing important work in their community.