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Three Questions With… Monica Gragg

Head shot of Monica Gragg

The Data Visualization Society supports learning and career growth for data viz practitioners at all levels, which is why DVS is so pleased that Monica Gragg recently joined the team as education director. Monica has a background in education and data visualization, so Nightingale asked her to share a few details about herself—and even tested her mettle with a data viz challenge (which she rocked)!


Monica Gragg is the Global Head of Data Strategy for Sitel’s learning and development division. Over the past few years, she has held several roles, including Head of Learning and product owner for early stage startups. Monica specializes in adult learning, producing over 5,000 online courses and authored an elearning book for entrepreneurs. Monica has worked and studied in seven countries, primarily in higher education, nonprofits, and social impact organizations. She recently completed an M.P.S. in Data Analytics and Visualization from MICA. Outside of work, Monica moonlights as a Strongman athlete and is a drone enthusiast.

  1. If you were a broken record about something dataviz-related, what message would always be on repeat? What is your soapbox topic?

Data literacy is like financial literacy. It’s not something everyone learns growing up, and sometimes people are even ashamed to admit they don’t understand it. Your audience may be experts in what they do, but that doesn’t mean they know how to navigate data.

When designing for your audience, you should always be user-centric; conduct user-testing with your personas and ask for feedback. Use simple language, use visuals, and focus on the most important parts of your story.

2. What’s one topic you would love to visualize but have not yet had the chance to?

In the U.S., it’s common for politicians to have a long career and still serve well past retirement age (62). It would be interesting to show a timeline of the innovation that has happened since their birth and the historical events they have witnessed or contributed to as politicians. It would also be fun to compare their tenure to random facts. For example, a current senator was born in 1942, the same year duct tape was invented. He started his political career in 1968, the same year the first human spaceflight reached the Moon.

3. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make a chart expressing something about your life using only objects currently around you. Look around you—what would you use to make your chart, and what data would it reflect?

I’m a curious person, so I have a million hobbies.

Nightingale Editors

Our Nightingale editorial team currently consists of Emily Barone, Jason Forrest, and Claire Santoro. Reach us at Nightingale(at)Datavisualizationsociety.org