Becoming a Tableau Zen Master is like making it to Carnegie Hall. It starts with practice, practice, and more practice. However, like most top honors, it takes more than just practice to be the best. The same holds true for becoming one of 30 Tableau Zen Masters world-wide.
Tableau Zen Masters are a select group of individuals, nominated by the Tableau community for their mastery of the product, their willingness to share their knowledge and to help Tableau and the whole community deliver great solutions. A new group of Zen Masters are chosen each year, so it isn’t enough just to be chosen if you want to continue to be part of this select group. You have to demonstrate the qualities of a Zen Master throughout the year to be re-nominated and re-selected.
This is what makes our very own Bridget Cogley and Joshua Milligan so amazing. Not only have they been selected to the 2019 Tableau Zen Master class, they have been part of this select group of the Tableau community for several years. This is Bridget’s 3rd year as a Zen Master, while Joshua is celebrating his 5th year nomination and selection to this top honor.
What is their secret? They, like the other 30 members are good at what they do, are constantly practicing their trade craft, and have a passion for data, the sharing of ideas and best practices while helping others to transform their data into actionable insights. But what really sets Bridget and Joshua apart is their servant’s heart. Everything they do is designed to help others and to give back to their communities. Whether it is teaching a class, conducting a webinar, working with a client, working with the Tableau community or collaborating with other Resultant employees, they share their passion for data and the art of telling a story through visualization with each and every person they connect with.
We asked Bridget and Joshua to share what it means to them to be a Tableau Zen Master. Here are their thoughts:
“In 2010, I first used Tableau. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t jump right in – no, I struggled immensely. I was part of the committee that selected Tableau, but it took me a bit to find my groove. With Tableau, I needed the support of others, so I could learn both the product and the paradigm. Michael Cristiani was my first contact within the Tableau world, outside of my company. He was one of the founders of the Tableau community, leading the early social media charge on Twitter on behalf of the community. He was friendly, with eyes that nearly vanished into his beard when he smiled. He’d chuckle and praise things as groovy. He mentored me, guiding me to blogs and people that would help me grow.
Michael was also my first experience with the Zen Master program. I nominated him, hoping to forever put him with the various legends that helped me mature and progress. He introduced me to people, nagged me to be involved, and celebrated every milestone – no matter how small it seemed at the time. We all need our champions, people that see us, celebrate us, and lift us up.
I have never been able to articulate what getting Zen Master means. I was never someone voted “most likely to succeed” or anyone that sought the stage light. I’m usually the one in the back running the lights and sound. It’s an honor I hope spreads the light on others who don’t often find themselves in the crowd, the misfit toys realizing they have a place. It’s an honor and privilege that this is my third year as a Zen Master. I can only hope I mirror the examples of all those that taught me. I’m also pushing myself to honor Michael’s legacy by connecting people with others.”
– Bridget Cogley
“I’ve always been a fan of Bob Ross. I grew up watching him on PBS and even have tried emulating some of his painting over the years (even in Tableau!). I remember – I was probably 8 or 9 – the very first time I sat down to paint a landscape in the style of Bob Ross and I was convinced that it would turn out just like his. It didn’t! Not even close! But I was energized to keep trying. Here’s why: Bob Ross never said, “Look at what I can do – it’s amazing!” He always said, “Look what you can do – it’s amazing!” And “amazing” didn’t mean perfect. In fact Bob Ross emphasized that there were accidents – but to accept them and embrace them and see them as “happy”. When he said, “You can do amazing things” he meant that anyone could create and share beauty and happiness and joy. And he never once made me feel anything less than amazing, even if my paintings weren’t as “good” as his. Instead, he inspired me to experience his joy in the creative process.
As a Tableau Zen Master, I have the incredible honor, responsibility, and joy to take that same kind of inspiration to the Tableau and dataviz community. I want everyone to experience the joy and satisfaction of uncovering truth, being creative, and telling a data story. And I’m inspired by the community. There are many individuals out there doing amazing things! And by “amazing” I don’t mean “perfect” or complex. There are people telling truly compelling data stories with “simple” vizzes. I look forward to another year of engaging with the community, sharing fun and exciting Tableau and Tableau Prep tips and creations, and collaborating with the Tableau developers as the Tableau platform continues to grow and expand. And I look forward to growing and learning more and more, too. Who knows what happy accidents we’ll have along the way!”
– Joshua Milligan
Resultant would like to congratulate all 30 Class of 2019 Tableau Zen Masters for achieving this great honor. Joshua and Bridget, congratulations on being nominated and selected again. We are blessed and honored to have you as part of the Resultant family and celebrate with you on this great achievement!