Level Up Your Leadership | Pooja Sund on The Artists of Data Science

Some notable segments from the show

[8:57] Leadership skills that you aren’t taught in school

Where to listen to the show

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, YouTube, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Pooja’s journey into data

Pooja was initially interested in becoming a doctor, but this changed when didn’t get into the university that she wanted to. She changed her career path, and instead decided to go for an MBA. She realized that she had been so focused on becoming a doctor to serve the broader community, but she realized that she can serve the community by analyzing data.

Key takeaways from the episode

Leadership skills that aren’t taught in school

[8:57] You need to be able to see the big picture. You need to know how to think outside the box, and be able to connect your organizational goals with the goals of your team.

Important soft skills

[9:49] You need to learn strategic thinking, negotiation, and the ability to network in and out of your organization.

Three key questions to ask stakeholders


  1. What is that thing that we are trying to solve?
  2. What is the risk involved here? What would happen if an alternate course is taken?
  3. Is this a high priority project? How does this help the organization as a whole?

What do you look for in a data scientist?

[10:29] Have the curiosity to learn. When I interview candidates, I look for someone who is open to learn, and has been that way in their career path. I look for someone who is proactive and creative, and is able to connect the dots between multiple projects and skills. I look for candidates that can influence without authority, and collaborate well with others.


[17:38] The way data scientists analyze data sets should be how they analyze their own mind. Ask questions regarding outcomes and what you want to achieve. This will allow you to focus your energy on the appropriate tasks, without wasting time and every opportunity that comes your way.

How to develop self-awareness

[24:32] When I talk about self-awareness, I mean the capability to conquer yourself before you can conquer the world. I call this executive presence. You might think that you need to keep learning more to begin solving problems, but sometimes you need to take a step back and realize that you already have the tools. Pause and evaluate yourself.

Advice for women in tech

[27:31] Be you, not someone else. Don’t hesitate, and be assertive.

Memorable quotes

The one thing Pooja wants you to learn from her story

[27:52] Follow your passion, and combine your passion with your leadership persona and create your own brand.

From the lightning round

Favorite question to ask during an interview

What is your superpower?

Recommended book

“Data Science from Scratch” by Joel Grus

Books and other media mentioned in this episode

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

Where to find Pooja Online


Episode Transcript

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Full episode on YouTube



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The Artists of Data Science

The Artists of Data Science

The ONLY personal development podcast for data scientists.