PowerBI + R blog

Defying imposter syndrome - a journey of an introvert to becoming a first time public speaker

March 29, 2019

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

In recent years I have attended many data and technology related meetups. I travelled all around the country to be part of the communities. As an introvert, networking with new people is a struggle and being a woman from a minority background at an event where the majority of attendees are male adds on to my nerves and anxiety. Nevertheless I always continue to be inspired by the topics I learned from the events.

So if you are an introvert like me, maybe you resonate with my experience above. I am writing this blog in the hope of encouraging people, like me, who love to share their learning journey. If self confidence is a barrier that stops you, you don’t need to struggle anymore

You aren’t alone

I truly believe that there are communities out there that everyone can feel they belong to. As for me, Twitter was a good platform for me to learn and engage with online communities, thanks to hashtags #PowerBI and #Rstats. I also believe that everyone has their story to tell and share. After all #SharingIsCaring I hope you all agree with me :)

Defying your imposter syndrome and let yourself shine!

I did my FIRST EVER powerbi talk a couple of years ago, as a matter of fact it was a virtual session. However that still does count right? :) In reality, my in-real-life data talk was at satRDay in Cardiff - June 2018. I had a good time, I hope my audience did too, I gained confidence and learned from feedback to better myself for my future talks. I have two people to thank -

First talk - Virtual session at [Belgium PowerBI user group](https://www.meetup.com/Flemish-Power-BI-User-Group/) I spent many hours feeling super nervous, "what if they ask me questions and I dont know the answers?". "what if my analysis is wrong?" At the end of the session, it wasn't my best - I was struggling with performance on my machine. The live demo wasn't great.
While it was obvious that it was my first session. As an event organiser, Jan had kindly informed the audience that I wasn't very experienced in presenting.

“People did enjoy your session” - Jan mentioned that to me and added “You showed them something that was new to them. If it wasn’t new or interesting I would probably have advised you to change the topic beforehand”

Nevertheless, I felt great I did it. It's something that I defied my inner low self confidence that I actually could come outside my comfort zone and I was ready for the next challenge. I learned from this lesson and I moved on. It wasn't a bad session and I patted myself on the back.

First In life talk - satRDay in Cardiff I took a leap of faith and submitted my “Introduction to Tidytext” session which was accepted. I had a good mentor - Steph Locke who was at the event too. Overall, again I was glad I did it, bit by bit I have gained more confidence as a speaker.

Finding a mentor

While I was googling away for tips and advice on how to prepare myself for my first talk, I came across Steph Locke’s office hours where she offered half an hour of her time to chat about data projects. Having attended one of Steph’s session at SQL Relay in Nottingham, UK - I took that chance! I benefited from her valuable advice and little tips to get my presentation started, and how to structure presentations. It may be very obvious for experienced speakers but a novice like me often skips those sort of details.

This year, I consider challenging myself to the next step. I submitted a few proposals to speak at PowerBI and SQL user groups. I came across http://www.speakingmentors.com/ that allows me to look for mentors.

To me, its a one stop shop for for a new speaker. There are so many “tags” or topics that I can filter to find the right mentors for my requirements. I just popped in my search criteria, “Data Science” and “Power BI”


Being outside your Comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing. It reminds us that we are all here to live and learn. Mistakes are often made and like me thats how I learned.

I hope to continue my talks at user groups and continue to learn. I hope one day I have gained enough experience to becoming a mentor - because once again “Sharing is Caring” let the world hear your story, success or failures - we can all share our lesson learned.

Kyle Mathews

I am Nujcharee Haswell (Ped) I do good things with data using PowerBI and R. I am on Twitter