What are the Vizzies?

Hosted by Matt Francis and Emily Kund, the Vizzies are the yearly Tableau community awards held as part of the Tableau Conference. To participate, community members come together to nominate #datafam members for awards across different categories like Data Do-gooder, Best Designer, Notable Newbie, and more. This year has a few new categories: TUG of the year, Forum Fanatic, COE and Server Superstar. The Best Blog category was also refined to Best Content Creator, so it includes all forms of content creation and not just writing.

If you missed last year’s Vizzies, Sarah Bartlett did an excellent review of the Tableau Conference, including the Vizzies here in her blog. 

So, question – Do you think awards matter? Why or why not?

I think they do. 

In this post, we’ll be looking at a few reasons why I think they matter and why I believe you should participate in the Tableau awards, a.k.a the Vizzies, this year and every year. 

Community Development

Highlighting community members for their contributions gives them a sense of purpose and increased meaning to their work. This adds value for everyone because being reminded of their impact encourages them to continue to do more.
Anyone who’s been around knows that members’ contributions are one of the most significant driving forces behind the #datafam, and the Vizzies strengthen that force every year.

Direct the Spotlight

…to unlit corners of the room

With the Tableau #datafm being global, a lot is always going on, and sometimes things go unnoticed. Additionally, not everyone is good and comfortable with self-promotion. So, as a result, the reality is that some quality work often goes unnoticed because, naturally, we all tend to gravitate to people we already know and those who are more recognizable in the community. 

This is another aspect where the Vizzies can help – It allows us to highlight people who would otherwise go unnoticed.

This year’s Vizzies did a great job of balancing this out by giving room to nominate multiple ( up to 10 ) people in each category and providing guidelines that push us to look far and wide as we submit names for awards. In my experience, the process took much longer than it did last year, but it forced me to do my research and broaden my scope a bit.

Professional Development

Tableau is a tool used by thousands of companies worldwide, and its community members ultimately work within these companies. The Tableau conference brings these companies together each year for a period of learning and other exciting activities.
Unsurprisingly, award-winning community members during the event usually bring a sense of pride to the companies they work in or with.
In addition, external recognition can go a long way in bringing extra credibility to the skills and talents of these employees and business partners, thus creating new opportunities for professional advancement, new business engagements, and much more.

It’s no surprise that we tend to highlight our Tableau awards and achievements on our many social profiles. In addition to being very proud of our accomplishments, we intrinsically know that it can do a lot to enrich us professionally. The many congratulatory posts on LinkedIn from companies that have their employees and partners recognized in the community also prove this point.

So, go ahead and nominate someone, and that nomination might be a seed to their next career and professional advancement opportunity.

My Personal Experience with the Vizzies

2021 was an all-around great year for me in many ways. One of the highlights was winning four awards at the Vizzies: Best Designer, Data Storyteller Extraordinaire, Notable Newbie, and Biggest Growth. It was a big surprise, and even though I’m not great at speaking about my emotions, saying that it didn’t feel great to be recognized would be a big lie.

To add to that, the company I work for did an internal piece on it, and that was helpful in my position as a Data Visualization Manager.
In addition to Tableau development work, this role requires standardization work from a visualization and visual presentation perspective. Being recognized by the broader Tableau community has helped on-the-job conversations for this kind of work go a lot smoother than they could have. I’m grateful for that. It has also created business opportunities, and I believe this experience is more evidence to support some of the points raised in the previous section.

Kevin Flerlage, who’s always been a great help, support, and dare I say, a friend throughout my journey, reached out to let me know that he was the only other person to have won four awards in a year and that piece of information still has me speechless. It’s so humbling and an honor to share this with him, and it will always be special to me. So again, I say a big thank you to the #datafam community for all of it.

Final Words

Just because you don’t get recognition doesn’t mean you’re not doing great and having an impact. Similarly, winning awards doesn’t guarantee that anything will change once you’re recognized. No one needs awards to certify their work or give them value.
Something more satisfying than awards is the satisfaction we get from what we do and the journey/process of constantly learning and growing as we continually improve over time.

With that said, being involved with the Vizzies provides opportunities to discover people in our community worthy of respect and admiration and lets us engage with the great work they do. So pay attention, and you might find your next source of inspiration there.

Thanks for reading! Have any thoughts you’d like to share? Feel free to drop me a line.


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