We bring you another installment of our employee spotlight series with data analyst Zena Teferi. Part of the Analytics team at BenchSci, Zena (pronounced “Zay-na”) joined us from Toronto, Canada, to share some of her perspectives on work and life at BenchSci.
What does your role at BenchSci entail?
I practice full-stack analytics to help build and maintain our data ecosphere so that our internal business partners can make data-driven decisions. Full-stack analytics means we’re responsible for the entire data analytics pipeline, from building connections to our external data sources, to modeling and transforming the data using business logic, and then creating visualizations for sharing insights. We fall under the Platform stream of the organization but regularly work with nearly every department. As transparency is one of BenchSci’s core values, we’re also really big on data democratization and supporting data literacy through interdisciplinary collaborations.
Why did you choose BenchSci?
I chose BenchSci because I was really excited about its big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) of bringing novel medicine to patients 50% faster by 2025. It feels really good, knowing that the work you’re doing is contributing to the development of therapeutic products that will have a real-world impact. I continue to choose BenchSci every day because the work itself sparks joy and the people here are amazing.
Zena outside the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France
What skills are needed to work on the Analytics team?
I’d say it’s important to have a willingness to embrace curiosity and collaborate with colleagues. Attention to detail and the ability to balance the bigger picture while scaling are also key.
What's an interesting project you've gotten to work on so far?
I had the opportunity of collaborating with our People and Culture teams to help them ask and answer business questions more efficiently using our applicant tracking system and our internal human resources information system. By building these new pipelines (which pull data directly into our data warehouse and apply business logic), we were able to implement dynamic reporting (rather than stale or monthly refreshes) to help alleviate the manual process of exporting CSVs. The main goals of this collaboration were to determine ways we can make our hiring process even more efficient and track the success of our DEI initiatives by better leveraging our internal data sources.
Where did you go for your “Roam Like You Work from Home” trip, and what was the best part?
For my “Roam Like You Work from Home” trip, I spent two months working remotely in Portugal, England, and France. What I loved most about this opportunity was that I was able to take my time getting acclimated to a new city while still working and contributing meaningfully. There’s something so exciting about doing the same things you would do at home, only somewhere else! Of course, it also helped that, in Lisbon, the beach was only 20 minutes away! In terms of highlights, I’d say meeting some of my family for the first time, discovering the vibrant vinyl music scene, and going to the beach almost every day. Oh, and also visiting the Benagil Caves!
Photos from Zena’s trip (L to R): historic architecture in Lisbon, Zena on a boat ride on the Tagus River, and crepes in Nantes
What is the biggest misconception about your job?
I think probably the biggest misconception is that people believe I only work with numbers when in reality, I actually spend a lot of time working with people too! The Analytics team is collaborative by design, which means we’re engaging with folks from a variety of backgrounds every day. It's crucial that our team is able to communicate effectively with our different partners.
What three words would you use to describe our culture?
I’d say collaborative, innovative, and supportive.
Teleportation or flying?
I’d go with teleportation over flying. I think flying would be uncomfortable outside of a metal aircraft.
What’s your favorite snack?
Chips; I’m a sucker for salty snacks! I still wish they would bring back the salt and vinegar Hickory Sticks from my childhood (they’re a Canadian thing).