My Strengths and Achievements

About Me

My Strengths

  • Self-taught Python programmer since 2003, full-time since 2011
  • I do not have a STEM degree; in fact I have a music degree and used to be a professional opera singer! (See my Life Story personal page for the weird paths my career has taken)
  • But you know how in job description, often they write "degree or equivalent experience"? Well, I have equivalent experience AND THEN SOME
  • Extremely versatile skill set, with experience in the data science and data engineering domains
  • Have produced data visualizations that have been published in yearly best-of anthologies
  • Have been published in Reader's Digest. I know it's not super impressive, but isn't it cool?
  • Very well rounded person with a working knowledge of many subjects, but also very cognizant that I don't know what I don't know
  • Not particularly extroverted or introverted, but somehow an alternate personality takes over and I'm an AMAZING public speaker
  • Have a talent for breaking down problems into their component parts. This also translates into a talent for explaining complex subjects to others in terms they can understand. I also love explaining; there's no better way to understand what I know and what I don't know

My Achievements

  • 2017-2018: Was in charge of CLUE (Commercial Lines Underwriting Excellerator) internal tool for Aviva Canada, from POC through all steps of Agile development process to putting it into production with TDD & CI/CD
  • 2017: Had an infographic published in Reader's Digest. I think of all my accomplishments, my relatives are most impressed by this one.
  • 2016: Had this infographic from my blog published in Harcourt-Mifflin's annual Best American Infographics 2016. Cover: Infographic: (click images to see enlarged)
  • 2015: Won the Montreal Big Data Week Hackathon and was immediately offered a job as a Senior Data Scientist by Greg Gilbert, Aviva Canada Property & Casualty Insurance's VP of Research and Development, to start the process of adding Python and the synergy of machine learning to that of actuarial science. This despite having no formal machine learning or Python training, just personal/on-the-job training
  • 2015: Served as consultant to Lillian Pierson's Data Science for Dummies, Wiley Publications. Cover: Acknowledgements: (click images to see enlarged)
  • 2015: Had this infographic from my blog published in Harcourt-Mifflin's annual Best American Infographics 2015. Cover: Infographic: (click images to see enlarged)
  • 2010: Due to outstanding performance, and despite having no formal training in the subject, was promoted to Team Leader of Proteomics in a Fungal Genomics project at Concordia University, the largest science grant ever given by the federal government, after previous team leader stepped down.
  • 2009: Was the only person hired by my own school, Dawson College, to work there in a program to uptrain welfare recipients in biotechnology
  • 2009: Received the Canadian Chemical Society's Silver Medal for Academic Excellence upon graduation for my Diploma of Professional Studies in Analytical Chemistry
  • 2000-2006: Had short stories and poems published in various literary journals. See the writings portion of this website> for more details.
  • 1999: Promoted to copy/news editor of a major daily Canadian Newspaper, the Edmonton Sun, despite no formal education in journalism, just work experience.
  • 1995: Performed Beethoven's Mass in C at Carnegie Hall, New York after much practice, practice, practice
  • 1990: Self-studied, at university level, in three months enough classical music theory and history to be exempted from ALL first-year classes in those subjects after I was accepted to McGill University's Martin Schulich School of Music in the Opera Performance on the strength of my voice. I later switched to the Double Honors in Composition and Opera Performance programmes
  • 1989: Received a perfect score on the Law School Admission Test (I never did go to law school, but that's another story)
  • 1987: Was class valedictorian for my high school graduation

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