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Engineering & Product

Verena Wimmer, Head of Insights at CoGo

From dreaming of becoming a farmer to a fascinating role turning numbers into colourful charts, Verena Wimmer, Head of Insights at CoGo has found a place that she can use her creative problem solving skills on a mission that she cares deeply about.

There are many common misconceptions about working in data, however Verena is able to dispel many of those through her own experiences. With data and insights playing a critical role in how CoGo provides a feedback loop to consumers to make more conscious decisions with their spending, it is not too much of a bridge to say they are coming to work and changing the world each day. Thanks for sharing your story, Verena. 

“I turn numbers into colourful images (charts!).”

Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?

I turn numbers into colourful images (charts!). My boss and colleagues use those images as a map to help people create less waste and be nicer to the planet and animals.

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

As a data analyst at CoGo I am responsible for informing my colleagues about how successful we are as a business, how much the users like our product, and how close we are to delivering our mission. At CoGo we want people to spend their money in ways that minimize their impact on the planet.

My day-to-day work consists of analysing our user data to help my colleagues create the platform through which the CoGo community can inform themselves about their carbon footprint, align their spending with their values and ultimately lower their carbon footprint of their day to day lives.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working in your ROLE?

  • That it is magic. I actually don’t do magic. It’s mostly just SQL.
  • That it’s not creative. A lot of my work is problem solving which I find incredibly creative! And have I mentioned the colourful charts?
  • That you work on your own. Not true! A big part of my work is to engage with the different departments to make sure they can understand their progress and take data driven decisions. Data chats over coffee anyone ?
“As a child I dreamed of being a farmer. I spent my summers on our relatives’ farm and followed my aunt around from sunrise to sunset”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

As a child I dreamed of being a farmer. I spent my summers on our relatives’ farm and followed my aunt around from sunrise to sunset. I loved spending time outside with animals and in the garden but at some point I realised that being a farmer is much much harder than working in an office! What stuck with me was an interest in environmental issues, and I feel that working at CoGo allows me to do that at scale.

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at CoGo?

I studied Economics and I always enjoyed statistics the most. After university I moved to London and worked for multiple startups. That's where I picked up the technical data analysis skills that I now use.

While the London start up scene was booming, I found it hard to get excited about their missions. I still wanted to work on tackling environmental issues but I found few opportunities in the sector.

In 2018, I joined a social impact fellowship called Year Here where I learned about new organisations that work on societal problems in scalable ways by using technology. That was when I discovered CoGo. When an opportunity at CoGo popped up, I jumped on it immediately.

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

Someone introduced me to the ideas of lifelong learning and keeping a curious mind. This has very much resonated with me. Continuous learning is an important aspect of working in a fast changing field like data analytics; there are always new coding languages to learn. Similarly, staying curious has opened me up to many new experiences, meeting new people, and making the best out of the opportunities I’ve been given.

“Applying your new skills to projects can be a great way to build a portfolio and show your passion.”

Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?

There are many different avenues to get into the field. There are lots of resources for self study out there, as well as “learn to code” communities to get peer support. Applying your new skills to projects can be a great way to build a portfolio and show your passion. This might be through volunteering, tutoring, personal projects, or whatever else you find exciting to work on!

What is it specifically that you like about working at CoGo?

What I value most about working at CoGo is the dedication and love everyone brings to the team, the trust among us colleagues, and the flexibility we are given to contribute to solving this wicked problem.

Lastly, CoGo continues to grow and evolve. What kind of candidates do you think CoGo is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

For CoGo to succeed, we will need candidates that come from a wide range of backgrounds, bringing lots of different ideas and experiences, who share our passion for sustainability, tackling climate change, and social justice.

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