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What I Will Miss the Most About Opendatasoft

ODS Saga

May 13, 2020

Reading: 7 min

Lora

by

Lora

Lora, who was part of our Marketing team for a while, recently left the company to embark on new adventures. What are the things she's going to miss the most about ODS? Let's find out.

Lora joined our Marketing team in Boston early 2018. She was in charge of our blog’s English-speaking content, and was also working on events and business development in the US. She wrote several of our favorite blogposts, such as How Cities Become Smarter Through the Use of Open Data, How Organizations Capitalize on Data Sharing to Further CSR Goals and 5 Myths on Sharing Data that People Believe - but Shouldn’t.

Early this month, Lora flew back to Europe to embark on a new adventure. We wish Lora the best of luck for the future and thank her for the great job she’s done with us. Maybe we’ll see her again someday for some new datadventures… 

Just before saying goodbye to the ODS team, she wrote a last article about her experience in the company. Let’s dive in! 

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I remember the day I first met the Opendatasoft team in Boston as if it were yesterday. It was a terribly rainy and windy November day - the type of weather that hits you in the face and turns each breath of air you manage to gasp into a small victory (only those who have had the privilege to spend some time in Boston will understand what I mean). It was on such a day that I set on a walk from the neighbouring city of Cambridge to Central Boston for an informal coffee with Franck Carassus - CEO North America - and Caroline Dumortier - VP Marketing - at Opendatasoft. 

I had been in Boston for just over a month and a half and I was desperately fighting the many hurdles any non-US citizen encounters when looking for a job in the “Land of Opportunity”. Opendatasoft wasn’t one of the companies on my job search list. Far from it. In fact, I had never heard of it before I emailed a public relations professional at a local pharma firm for a job. My new contact had little to offer but the contact details of a French entrepreneur (i.e. Franck) who shared a commute with her every morning. It didn’t seem particularly promising at the time, but I took the chance and two days later I was having a coffee with Franck and Caroline to discuss my CV. (I’ll skip the details on how my computer crashed the very second I hit the “send” button of the first email I carefully crafted for them and the difficulties that followed…)

So, there I was, telling Franck and Caroline all about my degrees and my experience. The more we talked, the more I realized that, although our encounter was fortuitous to say the least, Opendatasoft and I had much more in common than I expected. I had just graduated with a degree in International Public Management from Sciences Po Paris and although I didn’t have an exact career plan in mind, I knew that I wanted to have an impact on public service while having the dynamic and varied day-to-day work tempo of a business career. As a young tech company with a mission to help public (and private) organizations make sense of data to better serve their citizens, it looked like I had, quite literally, fallen into the right place. 

18 months later, I am writing from my couch about to change job and country while a pandemic is raging everywhere in between my apartment here in Cambridge and London (UK) where I will be moving next. As I prepare to make the leap across the pond, I wanted to leave you with some thoughts on what I will miss the most about Opendatasoft

 

A team with a mission 

Remember when I said that during my first meeting with our CEO North America made me feel as if I had fallen right into the right place? That feeling kept growing during the next year and a half. As I got to know the members of our teams in both Boston and Paris, I came to realize how fortunate I was to work with people who were equally passionate about delivering a service that has the capacity to impact millions of citizens around the world. 

I was lucky in that my involvement with both the marketing and business development teams gave me the opportunity to work closely with most of the company’s employees. Although we might at times have a different take on how to get there, each one of us believed in the same final objective: the ability to empower organizations (public organizations in my experience) to understand and make sense of their data so that they can provide their citizens and residents with the best possible services. 

What made the journey even sweeter has to be the fact that the full power of data is still to be unleashed. Working in a sector where so much remains uncharted territory was thrilling. It was a great opportunity for growth to me and I believe it will continue to be so for Opendatasoft as its customers discover more and more ways to leverage data. 

 

Exceptional Management 

As a student, I had often heard people say that the individuals you work with are almost more important than the work itself. I don’t think I ever fully understood the meaning of this before I joined Opendatasoft. My job here was my first long-term position and therefore the first opportunity for me to think about how I could grow within a company. If you’re ever considering applying for a job at Opendatasoft, I can undoubtedly say that the opportunities are there if you are ready to seize them

When I first joined Opendatasoft, the company was in great need of an English language content producer. This is where I started. Blog posts, customer stories, website content, interviews, how-to guides... Although I much enjoyed working on this, I was also looking for a steep learning curve and Opendatasoft delivered. As I progressed through my job, I started working on the strategic priorities for the marketing team in 2020. Based on the business objectives for English speaking markets, I was encouraged by my manager to design an editorial and events calendar that would respond to these business needs and help us shape ODS’ branding. Thanks to her, in a relatively short period of time, I gained experience in most aspects of the large field that marketing is. 

 

The ability to try new things

Finally, I wanted to acknowledge the opportunity I was given at Opendatasoft to explore my interests. I have always found it difficult to focus on only one topic at a time. I thrive in a versatile work environment where I can develop a number of skills at the same time. I am therefore particularly grateful that I was given the opportunity to get involved with our business development activities here in the US. I was trusted to help set up our outbound sales processes for the North American markets and jump on sales calls with our prospects. Mainly, this helped me gain a holistic view of how marketing and sales departments can most efficiently work together

 

There are of course other things I will miss about Opendatasoft such as the weekly marketing meetings or the endearing hyperactivity that Fridays seemed to induce in our boss here in Boston, but these are three elements that I will take with me and look for in future jobs. Now that I have shared them with you, I feel like I can log off the Opendatasoft laptop one last time and start my new adventure. If you are looking for me in the foreseeable future, you can find me in London where I will be joining the citizen engagement tech startup CitizenLab to help them develop the UK market.

Stay in touch! 

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