Karen Akens, Senior Consultant – Data Services
Here at Impact Makers, we like to shine a light on the incredible people we are lucky enough to call coworkers and friends. Today, we explore the life and career of our most recent “Employee of the Quarter” (2019 Q3), Karen Akens, who earned this distinction for her impressive involvement in our business development efforts across numerous active projects and pursuit teams.
Karen is someone who goes out of her way to help other teams that are not part of her scope because she recognizes and pursues superior value for the client. Enjoy this chat with Karen, and learn more about her life before Impact Makers, as well as everything she’s learned as an integral member of our team.
Paint us the picture of your career.
My career in the data management space started right after college at one of the then “Big Eight” firms as a Systems Analyst. I moved from there to another consulting firm where we primarily focused on federal contracts.
I was fortunate to then spend a number of years working part-time and volunteering at a wide variety of places as I raised children. When I rejoined the IT consulting industry a decade and a half later, the technology had changed, the data management principles had evolved and the amount of data we were dealing with had increased exponentially.
I am fortunate to have worked with lots of different clients to help them solve problems and create value from their data and am thankful to all the people along the way who provided those opportunities.
What is your team working on right now?
I’m currently working on a team that is moving a data analytics platform to the cloud for a global hospitality company. I’ve played multiple roles on this team – worked on Enterprise Architecture, worked on the ingestion and registration team for the data lake, and am currently working on the data governance team for the platform.
What is the most exciting thing happening in the data and analytics industry right now?
I’m excited about two areas of the industry right now – visual analytics and data governance. Visual analytics is an area that I’ve long been interested in and the various tools available today make it so much easier to use data to tell actionable stories. In the data governance space, I’m thrilled it’s become a mainstream topic. Six or seven years ago, we had to do a lot of education about data governance and the value it adds to any enterprise. Today, we are actively sought out by companies and organizations looking to mature their data governance.
What changes have you seen unfold at Impact Makers since you started here?
The company has gone through a lot of change in the past year. Our business development efforts have really ramped up in the past year, which is something I’ve been excited to play a role in. Change provides opportunity and I’m looking forward to being a part of shaping Impact Makers’ future.
What keeps you motivated to do your job?
Working for a client where I feel like I’m actually adding value and making a difference. When a client views me as a trusted advisor, and I’m doing something that ultimately is going to make someone else’s job easier to do or better, then I’m happy.
Do you have any advice for prospective candidates, looking to join the Impact Makers team?
Being part of a consulting team means always needing to be ready for change and new opportunities – if you are looking for a place to learn new things and you can be flexible, this could be a good place for you.
Tell us about one of your hobbies?
I’m fascinated by the stories of my ancestors and I like to spend time researching my family history.