I am Meena Das (pronouns: she, her, hers). I operate a data consulting practice, NamasteData, built on the belief that each of us deserves a loving, curiosity-driven, well-represented relationship with data. I consult, train, write, and speak on different data-related, data-centered projects for nonprofits and social impact for-profits - with the guiding intention of advancing social equity.
The way I see it - my work is not meant to be perfect. Because data in itself has never been perfect, nor will the org cultures interested in that imperfect data. This work - of advancing equity in data for philanthropy - is an incrementally evolving work.
So, I (continue to) rely on six guiding values to build and operate this work:
1. Sustainability: The inputs, outputs, and outcomes of this work must be mentally, emotionally, and economically sustainable for both my collaborators and me.
2. Availability: This work must allow my collaborators and me to be physically and emotionally available for the people we care for.
3. Listening: This work should push my collaborators and me to be better listeners – of external and internal voices. Listening to our community cannot start until we can listen to our own voice beyond all the noise.
4. Community: That reminds my collaborators and me to acknowledge that while a business may sustain on the traditional metrics of success, it cannot thrive without a caring community around it. To create a sustainable impact with data - this work intends to replace Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” with “enabling survival of each other towards a fit community”. So, the community is what makes this work successful in the long run.
5. Continuous learning: This work – to listen to data - requires creativity and curiosity. We must commit to continuous learning to acknowledge, embrace, and grow both (creativity and curiosity). Learning – through different channels, platforms, conversations, and lived and learned experiences – directly or indirectly related to the core services of this operation – is the only way to ensure this work remains relevant with time.
6. Roots: This work intends not to view growth as a forward function only but to acknowledge and remember our roots as we create incremental progress.
Here is a link to subscribe to my once-in-many-days email series, called “Dear Human”, on building a loving, curiosity-driven, well-represented relationship with data.