February 29th, 2016.

Leap Day has the dubious distinction as a date; it is often associated with either a way to procrastinate on your taxes or annoyed children who happened to be born on this date.

For me, Leap Day has historically represented, well, nothing. They’ve blurred together as completely unremarkable blips in my cosmically brief timeline.

But this year, Leap Day had a significant meaning for me. On a day that will not exist again in four years, I accepted an offer to embark upon a new path in my journey to presentation enlightenment that I believe will serve you better than ever before.

As of April 18th, 2016, I am joining Search Discovery, Inc., as Director of Data Visualization and Storytelling.

Lea Pica - Move to SDI - Atlanta Sunrise

In the past year, I had the supreme privilege of providing part-time analytics support for a lovely non-profit organization John Lovett and Tim Wilson, senior partners of Analytics Demystified.

Learning Excel from Tim, aka Gilligan on Data aka the Grand Master Grumpy Cat of Analytics, is a privilege few will experience, and I consider myself blessed.

In my other part-time, I built an analytics / presentation / data visualization training and consulting practice from scratch and it’s been one heckies of a ride. Heckies. Not a typo.

One of the gifts of my side business has been traveling to various digital agencies and training their staff in the ancient art of effective data storytelling and presentation though my Raise the Bar Chart Boot Camp workshops.

One such agency was Search Discovery, affectionately known as SDI.

When my friends Mike Gustafson and Michael Helbling (from the essential Digital Analytics Power Hour podcast) contacted me for private training, I jumped at the opportunity.

I spent a week with the company during its semi-annual onsite all-staff meeting, which doubles as a weeklong holiday fiesta. I felt privileged to take the company hostage for two whole days of viz-entation boot camp.

Lea Pica - Move to SDI - Holiday Cheer

Now, I adore all of my training companies and coaching clients, every last one.

But, I knew there was something special about this place when I saw this scribbled on a giant dry erase wall:

Lea Pica - Move to SDI - Funny Chart

Oh yes. They were ready for me.

My very first immersion experience was during the company’s White Elephant party, which if you aren’t familiar, is an exchange of unwanted, orphaned holiday gift-astrophes.

SDI took it to a whole new level; gifts exchanged included a box of melted cheesecake, Darth Vader underpants, and a coffee table photo book of one analyst’s facial expressions snapped over Skype by his ingenious teammate titled, “Hey You”. Below, a meager recreation:

Lea Pica - Move to SDI - Hey You.

Solid gold. Right away I was struck by the team’s camaraderie and energy, which carried through to their training participation in my workshop.

The participants were highly engaged and asked brilliant, thoughtful questions (with the exception of one extolling the merits of clipart. You know who you are.)

It didn’t hurt that I was treated like royalty, and for the first time, I understood the meaning of “Southern hospitality”.

I left feeling exhilarated and full from serving and connecting with so many amazing analysts. And when I returned home, I realized something.

As freeing as entrepreneurship is, it’s a bit…lonely.

I have to admit that felt a twinge of sadness that everyone would all continue to enjoy each other’s brilliance while I departed back to my lone wolf journey.

A Fateful Phone Call

When SDI dialed me up a month later about “continued training opportunities”, I brimmed with glee at the prospect of visiting again.

Except, they lied. They weren’t interested in more training. They wanted me to come work for them as their Director of Data Storytelling, a brand-new position designed to bring the Present Beyond Measure workshops to so many more analysts and marketers in need.

It is their first subject matter expert role, with the objective of building unique internal competencies. All while allowing me to build my own brand through blogging, podcasting, and speaking.

I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

You mean, a full-time job…at a crazy-awesome company…doing the very thing I abso-posi-tutely love to do most???

It didn’t take me long to say yes, and I did. On Leap Day, as luck would have it.

So what does this move mean for you?

Simply put, this move means more.

More time to create content that helps you kick ass in the conference room every day.

More access to a gaggle of top analytical talent to understand the challenges you face in getting your insights remembered and acted upon.

More ways to empower you with a practical toolbelt for impactful data storytelling, not abstract or aspirational theories.

And finally, more ways to get to know you.

As for SDI, helping them to build a competency of effective data presentation to help distinguish them in the digital analytics industry is a mission I’m only too glad to support.

What will change about working with me?

Nothing! I’ll still be bloggin’, podcastin’, trainin’ and speakin’ so if you’re ready to accelerate how insights are presented in your organization, contact me anytime!

Final Thoughts

This leap simply had to be this year, this company, and this “me”. There was no other time where this new path would be so clear.

So as I take this new leap, I look forward to serve you in more ways than ever before. It’s time to make sure there is “No Slide Left Behind”.

Thank you for all your support during my journey thus far, and I’ll be seeing you on stage!

See you soon, Atlanta. Namaste and stuff.

Lea Pica - Move to SDI - Atlanta Sunset