Aside from being a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Emily Favata was once an aspiring neuroscience researcher with a fascination for human social behavior. After discovering a passion for agile software development, Emily sought out an opportunity to join a purpose-driven company where she could combine her Six Sigma skills and interest in human behavior. To our delight, Emily found her match at GivingData, joining our Client Success team as a Project Associate at the end of 2019. Today, when she's not pursuing her passion for adventure traveling, Emily helps our foundation clients with implementation, onboarding, and support.

What inspired you to join GivingData?

When I was applying to positions, finding a company that was socially responsible was really important to me. I was also interested in software development, particularly agile methodology, which focuses on translating the voice of the consumer into product features through iterative development cycles. When I found GivingData, which perfectly combined the two, I knew I found a good match. 

You studied neuroscience in college before getting your Masters in Systems Science. What was your journey to joining the Client Success team at GivingData?

I originally thought I wanted to go into neuroscience research when I entered college. After a few semesters, I learned research wasn’t for me. What I enjoyed about my neuroscience classes, and neuroscience in general, was the opportunity to approach discovery and problem-solving from multiple perspectives. 

System science is the applied study of systems and how they interact. At a foundation, a system can be as simple as an individual process, or as complex as a network of funders. After graduating, I knew that I wanted to work in a role that allowed me to be at the crossroads of multiple systems. Working in project management, I get to think critically about micro and macro systems and facilitate their collaboration and harmony. 

I’m incredibly proud to be a part of a company that actively contributes to more “good” in the world.
What does GivingData's mission mean to you?

GivingData’s mission is “to advance the use of data for the common good.” Collecting data is important, but collecting data for a purpose is critical. Good data means not only clean data, but data that means something. When you have good data, you can understand the story and then make changes to re-write it to create a better future. 

I’m incredibly proud to be a part of a company that actively contributes to more “good” in the world. We have the privilege of supporting our clients, who are leaders in philanthropy. We also give back as a company, with the team actively involved in deciding which organizations contribute to and why. We honor diversity and don’t shy away from internal and public conversations about systemic inequities that work against positive social change. 

What one piece of advice would you give a new member of our growing team? 

Use every opportunity as a chance to learn, grow, and do better the next time! At GivingData, at the end of each development cycle, we all meet together to review our work as a whole and focus on how we can collectively improve. Every team member is responsible for being a part of the solution. I’m a big proponent of continuous improvement personally and professionally. 

Which aspect of your work is most rewarding?  

Working with other like-minded people to create solutions that make it easier for foundations to advance their mission. Our clients do amazing work. When I do my job well, it means that grantmakers can better focus their effort on impactful projects. It makes my day to hear when something like our report tool saves grantmakers hours of time, or when our interactions tool allows their teams to better share knowledge.