Building a Strong Community for Women in Data Management and Governance

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Read more about author Kelle O’Neal.

In September, I had the privilege of co-hosting a new special interest group (SIG), Women in Data Management and Governance, alongside DATAVERSITY’s Shannon Kempe, at a pre-conference Enterprise Data World (EDW) event. I’m so honored to be part of building this community and to better serve a critical and growing constituency in our industry. 

Supporting the growth of women in data has long been a passion of mine. From our Women in Information Management blog series, to our company, which is 70% women, to loads of informal conversations with women wanting to enter the data world, I currently dedicate time to encouraging women to enter or advance in the data field. The opportunity to work with Shannon will further broaden the reach and impact of this personal passion.

The SIG occurred before the main conference began, and our initial hope was to talk with a group of at least 20 women, so you can imagine our excitement when we welcomed over 100 women and more than a dozen men to the SIG! Our goal with the first meet-up was to create awareness of the group and gather attendees’ input on what a sharing forum and community could look like. It was a lively and productive discussion covering topics that included mentorship and sponsorship, the need for cross-training and career advancement, negotiating pay and benefits, and promoting the rewarding aspects of working in data management and governance.

We plan to continue these conversations and the momentum from the first SIG by hosting another Women in Data Management and Governance meet-up at DATAVERSITY’s Data Governance & Information Quality Conference (DGIQ) on December 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

What We’re Passionate About

Mentorship was one of the most popular topics to emerge from our EDW discussion. This focus area is exciting as it presents an excellent opportunity to cultivate stronger relationships and build trust through more regular interactions and new programs. Our industry is known for its close-knit community, and we need to leverage these connections and our shared concerns and interests to foster career satisfaction and growth.

Career advancement and cross-training also emerged as important themes during the SIG discussion. Women want to explore new areas within our industry, such as transitioning from data governance to data management or engineering, and how to best make the move. And, of course, mentorship can assist in career advancement and provide guidance to the optimal cross-training to achieve specific career goals. 

Additionally, we must address the issue of pay equality to ensure women have equal compensation and benefits in the industry. We need to find innovative solutions to bridge the talent gap to inspire the next generation of women data management and governance leaders.

Let’s Keep the Momentum Going

I’m excited about the ideas we’re advancing for the SIG and our ability to adapt and improve the group after DGIQ and into the future. 

To further support our community, Shannon and her team are in the process of creating a dedicated space on This platform will feature a mentorship section, relevant articles and industry perspectives, podcast interviews with women in data, and more. It will serve as our SIG’s hub for connecting the women of Data Management and Governance, supporting our shared goals and interests.

I’m thrilled to be a part of this initiative and the direction the Women in Data Management and Governance SIG is taking. I invite you to sign up for the SIG’s periodic emails and newsletter and to share this invitation with women you know.

I look forward to seeing you and continuing our conversation at DGIQ. In the meantime, please connect with Shannon and me on LinkedIn and with women you met at EDW or hope to meet at DGIQ. 

Cheers to the future of the Women in Data Management and Governance SIG and the amazing opportunities that lie ahead!