Data Thoughtleaders I Recommend (2021)

Over the last decade, I have had such great fortune to personally get to know many of the most pivotal thought leaders in the data industry. While I named many of the prominent ones within the pages of the book, I personally recommend following and getting to know the individuals listed below. I selected these people because I’ve personally found them to be:

  • Kind – In other words, they’re dedicated to truly supporting other data professionals in the spirit of “collaboration of competition”.
  • Credible – These people all have different types of credintials, but from what I’ve seen of them – they are experts in the areas in which they specialize.
  • Trustworthy – From my online dealings with these individuals, I’ve proven to myself that they are all honest and trustworthy people.
  • Caring – This goes back to the kind thing, but the following individuals seem to really care about others and how their actions may potentials impact others.

Without further ado, and listed in alphabetical order:

Danny Ma

Creator of Data With Danny

After several years of working as a data scientist and machine learning engineer, Danny Ma started building an online community of other data professionals, to help them level up in their own data science implementation careers. He started his dynamic LinkedIn community back in 2020 and grew it to over 45,000 members in just 12 months. Aptly named, Data With Danny, Danny’s free community is a great place to go for real-life input on everything from data science interviews to SQL coding memes and everything in between. If you’re new to the data science field and looking to work in an implementation capacity long-term, check out what Danny is doing over in his LinkedIn community here:

Eric Weber

Head of Experimentation, Economic Insights and Metrics – Yelp

Eric Weber is a perfect picture of what it looks like when you combine exceptional data science expertise, data leadership skills, and a healthy dedication to professional mindset. His thriving LinkedIn community is where he shares about data science, data careers, interviews, hiring, and job opportunities. I most appreciate Eric’s emphasis on mindset, as well as his product-driven approach to leading in data science.

Felipe Flores

Founder and Host – Data Futurology Podcast

After 20 years of experience in data science implementation, consulting, and leadership, in 2018 Felipe Flores started the Data Futurology Podcast. As a fun and heartfelt host, Felipe uses this podcast as a means by which to help data enthusiasts, data scientists, and upcoming data science leaders advance their careers. He achieves this goal by inviting dynamic guests to share their stories and lessons learned with respect to data leadership, strategy, management, team building, stakeholder management, value delivery, and the skills required to become a truly great data scientist. If you’re looking to become a better data science leader, the Data Futurology Podcast is right up your alley. Take a listen here:

Harpreet Sahota

Founder and Host – Artists of Data Science Podcast

Harpreet is the Founder of Artists of Data Science – an online community and podcast that’s exclusively focused on the personal growth and development of data scientists. Outside of growing his podcast community and carrying out his day job as a Lead Data Scientist, he has spent several years mentoring aspiring data scientists inside the Data Science Dream Job course. Harpreet and his community are honestly the one-stop online shop that will get you there in comfort. Take a listen to Harpreet’s podcast here:

Kate Strachnyi

Founder & CEO – DATAcated

Kate Strachnyi is the founder of the DATAcated community whose powerful presence is predominantly active on LinkedIn. The vibrant DATAcated community is focused on helping data professionals improve both their data visualization and data storytelling skills. If you’re looking to improve your visual and verbal skills in communicating data insights, take a peek at what’s happening inside the DATAcated community, as well as the data storytelling courses they offer at the DATAcated website. Personally, I’ve learned alot from Kate about the data community, and what it means to be a good steward of that community. Be sure to join her LinkedIn community here, then listen and learn your way to data storytelling excellence:

As Founder of DATAcated, Kate is providing brand amplification for companies focused on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science. She’s also the founder of the DATAcated Academy – delivering training on data visualization best practices. She’s delivered several courses on data storytelling, dashboard techniques and visual best practices. Additionally, Kate is the host of the DATAcated Conference and the DATAcated On Air Podcast. Kate was appointed a LinkedIn Top Voice of Data Science & Analytics in 2018 & 2019. She’s the mother of two girls and enjoys running ultra-marathons and obstacle course races.

Kate’s Free DATAcated Chart Selector Guide: What is the freebie? DATAcated Chart Selector Guide: Selecting the right chart to represent your data is a critical step in the data storytelling process. Each data story is unique, so there isn’t a clear rule for choosing the best presentation (chart or graph). However, some are better suited than others to help you achieve your goals. The DATAcated Chart Selector Guide was developed to help data analysts / data scientists select the right chart for their data. The Guide does not include every type of chart out there but is a great starting point!

Ken Jee

Creator – Ken Jee on YouTube

Ken Jee is a data scientist out of Honolulu, Hawaii. He founded his YouTube channel in 2019 and grew it to 100,000 subscribers in just 12 months. He also has a podcast, cleverly named Ken’s Nearest Neighbors Podcast. His magnetic YouTube channel helps new and aspiring data scientists get prepared for seeking and landing a job in the industry. His videos are dedicated to data science implementation topics like how to do well in Kaggle, best portfolio projects, studying to become a data scientist, and perfecting your data science resume. His podcast is where he features data scientists from all over the world, who serve in a wide variety of capacities – from data science leaders, to implementers, entrepreneurs, and everything in between. If you’re looking to learn more about how to get started in your data science career, be sure to check out Ken’s YouTube Channel here:

Kirk Borne

Chief Science Officer at DataPrime

Kirk Borne has been a highly-esteemed data science thought leader since 2013. He’s most active over on Twitter, where he shares about things like breaking news in AI and free data science learning resources. I am most appreciative of Kirk’s emphasis on community, as well as his generosity and consistency as a long-standing community leader in data science.  In addition to the work he does as Chief Science Officer at DataPrime, Kirk has also authored introduction-level data science courses with a company called AI+ Training. Follow and learn from Kirk Borne here:

Sadie St. Lawrence

Founder & CEO – Women In Data

Sadie St Lawrence is a serial entrepreneur in the data science space. Sadie has a data consulting company where she has been working as a data science instructor, educating over 300,000 data professionals for Coursera since 2017. She also serves as a board member for multiple start-ups. For her other business, Sadie is the Founder and CEO of Women in Data, an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and get more women in the C-Suite. Women in Data has been rated as the #1 Community for Women in AI and Tech. Currently, Women in Data is in 17 countries with over 47 chapters and has a community of over 20,000 individuals. If you’re a female in the data space, consider yourself invited to join us inside this amazing community here: Sadie’s work has been featured in USA Today, Dataversity, and she is the recipient of the Outstanding Service award from UC Davis. She is most active on LinkedIn, where she shares about the female perspective of career development in the data science field.


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