8451 900 X 635 Employee Spotlight 900 X 635 Helena James 2 X

Employee spotlight: Helena James


What makes 84.51˚ an intriguing company? Is it the flexible hybrid work options, the free food regularly found around the office or the challenging problems that we tackle? While these aspects are undoubtedly great, it’s the people that make working here truly special. Check out our Employee Spotlight series to learn more about who we are and the unique traits of our teammates.

Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana Office Location: Chicago Start Date: February 14, 2022 (Valentine’s Day!) Job title: Senior Data Scientist

Describe your role

I am a Senior Data Scientist on the Merch/Ops team. I also help lead our Multicultural Growth Pool.

How long have you worked in data science and what inspired you to pursue this field?

Prior to joining 84.51°, I was a Data Science Consultant for nearly three years. I’ve been in this field since I graduated in 2019. My initial career choice was going to be related to social sciences, but I attended an event during my sophomore year in college that helped solidify my future in data science.

I learned that data analytics and AI were used to help deliver medicine to a certain population in Atlanta (this population was previously determined to not require/need medicine due to biases). At the time, this seemed so interesting and groundbreaking to me and I knew I wanted to pursue this field!

“I find it interesting that we can help deliver goods to people I see in my everyday life.”

What interested you in joining 84.51°?

In my previous role, I started working more and more with CPG firms and knew that working in a field where the products were physically tangible and had some impact on the general population was important to me. I find it interesting that we can help deliver goods to people I see in my everyday life.

What has been the most memorable experience or favorite project you’ve worked on?

I love my team because we have the unique experience of having some projects be somewhat consistent and others be completely unique. Some of my favorite projects have been when there is a broader legal/data privacy issue that directly impacts our work. For example, there are several data privacy laws that have and will continue to go into effect that limit the demographic data we can pull for analysis. This has directly impacted our Multicultural Growth Pool. Understanding how we can best proceed and identify new strategies has been interesting.

What’s your favorite part about working at 84.51°? Do you have a favorite benefit or perk that is offered?

I love my team! They’re easy to work with and we often lean on each other for support. I also really appreciate all the vacation days, but I need to remind myself to actually take them!

“Find what interests you most and what problems you like to solve and then find out how data science fits into that.”

What advice would you give to those who are considering working in the data science industry?

I love that so many companies are embracing data science! However, I think when you’re first introduced, it can feel overwhelming because there’s so much to data science. It isn’t just ChatGPT or algorithms Netflix uses to determine which movie to watch next. There’s so many roles and levels within the field and I believe many people can find their niche here. My advice would be to find what interests you most and what problems you like to solve and then find out how data science fits into that!

What do you like to do in your free time outside of work hours?

My favorite hobbies include hanging out with my friends, reading (my goal is 100 books this year!), going out to eat, yoga, and sometimes boxing. I also love traveling and exploring Chicago!

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