Welcome to Beyond the Data, a curious series that investigates the people behind the talent of phData.
In this article, we’re featuring Elizabeth Dinevski, who serves as the Director of Data Science at phData.
It’s hard to describe the epicness that is Elizabeth with mere words, especially with just a paragraph to work with, but I’ll try my best. Here it goes!
Elizabeth really puts the “learning” in Machine Learning. She’s constantly evolving her skills, (which are already 11/10), expanding her knowledge, and helping educate others. Whether it’s teaching clients how they can better leverage data to make more informed decisions, coaching her team with sage advice, or contributing thought-leadership content to phData’s blog, Elizabeth is a powerhouse of knowledge.
Perhaps a better approach to introducing Elizabeth (especially her personality) is to simply share a few short snippets of feedback others have given Elizabeth from our phData #shoutout Slack channel:
“Elizabeth gave me some vital encouragement today when I needed it most and it honestly helped me get back on track and prepared me to better tackle the week with confidence”
“Elizabeth has come up to speed so quickly and immediately added value by creating new pieces of sales collateral and invigorating our approach to data science engagements. I’m so happy to work with Elizabeth on a daily basis”
With that, let’s get to learn more about Elizabeth, her role, her hobbies, and of course, her cat Simba.
Tell us your name, where you’re from, and a little about you.
Hello World! My name is Elizabeth Dinevski. I live in the Windy city of Chicago, Illinois with my cat Simba, but I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio (Go Bearcats!). I’m a super active person and am always training for my next race or trying out a new workout class.
My next big race is going to be the Chicago half marathon this spring! Because I’m active, I’m always hungry, thus I’m a huge foodie. I’m always looking for the next restaurant or recipe to try and love to gather a group of family or friends to take on that adventure with me.
What do you actually do in any given day as a the Director of Data Science?
I’m going to give the consulting answer – it depends. I’ll give you an overview of what I do within my week. First and foremost is supporting my clients and my team. I usually support anywhere between 3-6 projects and clients at a time, so I need to make sure I understand how each project is progressing.
I also like to meet with my immediate team and my project teams so I can guide project strategy or any implementation blockers. I also like to check in to make sure everyone is comfortable with the progress we’re making on each project.
Some of the types of projects that I oversee at phData are creating demand forecasting models for supply chain businesses, anomaly detection models for financial companies, and recommender engines for staffing companies. I find that data science can be a very intimidating topic, so I like to break it down and simplify it as much as possible.
In addition to project work, I help new customers with their strategy on the best way to move data science initiatives forward in their organization. The last piece of my week is figuring out how I can help make phData an even better place, which can be through things like cross-training initiatives, mentorship, and process improvement.
How do you like working for a consulting company?
I’ve been in consulting almost my entire professional career, so I guess you could say that I like it. I tend to thrive in situations where I can take on a lot of responsibility and get exposed to a variety of problems. I love that there is always something new to learn and a challenge to take on.
I’ve learned quickly in consulting that you have to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable!
What separates phData from other jobs you’ve had?
First and foremost, phData has been the best work-life balance in consulting that I’ve experienced. You will still have weeks where you put in some extra hours to meet deadlines, but overall it has been much more manageable than anything else I’ve experienced!
The secondary piece is that there is a lot of room within phData to create your own path. We’re a high-growth company, which means the only thing that is constant is change. With all of this growth and change presents opportunities to take on responsibilities that you may not get at other organizations. I love that there is always a new challenge that I can take on and get support from my leadership.
How has your job evolved over the past few years?
Another great question. I would say the biggest change for me is getting my hands off the keyboard, which has also been a big challenge for me. I love to be hands-on with my team, but as my role evolves, my biggest value add is being the strategic vision maker and leading my team vs. developing code.
Don’t get me wrong, during crunch time, I can still get into the weeds and do some great debugging, but I have learned that my time is best spent supporting my team and focusing on reaching our goals as a practice.
Outside of work, what's your life like? What do you do for fun?
I’m a super active person, so outside of work you will likely catch me on the Lakefront either swimming, biking, or running. I’m an avid triathlete and am always looking for my next race challenge. I hope to compete in a half Ironman sometime soon!
I’m also a huge foodie. I’m always on the lookout for the next restaurant to try, which is never ending in a city like Chicago!
Lastly, I’m a city girl at heart. I love living in my Chicago playground which is filled with cultural richness – music, art, festivals, cuisine…you name it! I love finding cool events to attend with my friends and family.
What is your favorite type of cuisine? And where is the best place to enjoy it?
Mediterranean food! If you want to get very specific, probably Macedonian food, but that’s because it’s the food I grew up with. Nothing beats going to my grandmother’s house to eat some delicious and truly authentic Macedonian food. I’m working on getting all of her recipes, but it’s hard when there are no measurements!
Where's the next place you'd like to travel to and what would be the first thing you'd do there?
I’ve really wanted to make it over to Africa as my next big trip. I can’t decide what I want to do first – hike Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania & Kenya, go on a safari in South Africa, or explore the bazaars in Morocco.
Want to work alongside Elizabeth?
Our team is growing! Check out our job board to see our current openings.