Interview by Sarah Shumick
Name: Rehgan Avon
Profession: Head of Solutions at Mobikit; Founder/President of Women in Analytics
Neighborhood: Downtown Columbus
Education: B.S. Industrial Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University
Quote: “I think a lot gets accomplished here because of our culture to be open to collaborating with one another.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter
It only took one programming course at OSU and Rehgan Avon was hooked on data analytics. As an undergrad, Avon started a student organization called the Big Data and Analytics Association. When she was just a college senior in 2016, Avon launched Women in Analytics, an organization she has continued to run “on the side” along with roles as a data engineer for a local startup, a remote role for a company based in Chicago, and as the Head of Solutions for a brand-new venture called Mobikit, another local startup.
With executive roles at Mobikit and Women in Analytics, Avon keeps quite busy, admitting that most days, she is “not even sure what day it is.” But you can be sure she’ll be spending a few of those days at her annual Women in Analytics Conference which welcomes thousands to Columbus every June.
Give us a snapshot of your career path:
I moved to Columbus in 2011 for school and studied engineering. After taking my first programming course, I decided to specialize in data analytics and take computer science engineering courses. I launched the Big Data and Analytics Association (a student organization) my junior year and went on to found Women in Analytics in 2016, during my last year of school. After 6 internships during college, I discovered a passion for startup companies and decided to work for one in Columbus as a data engineer called Clarivoy. I then spent 2.5 years working remotely for a company called ModelOp, based in Chicago, building a model operations software product primarily for the financial industry. I spent a lot of time in New York City with this job. I decided to move on and go back to a local startup company and found Mobikit, an early stage company focused on building data and analytics products around mobility and telematics. I have continued to run Women in Analytics on the side for the last four years, hosting an analytics conference in Columbus every year.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
Coffee gets me up in the morning. I typically stay busy throughout the week with Mobikit and WIA, so most days I am not even sure what day it is.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I have gotten a lot of advice about balancing my work life with my personal life. One that sticks with me is “Do. Delegate. Drop. For every task, pick one”. Dedicating decompression time every day and saying no to things will help keep a balance. It is okay to say no.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I like to unwind in quiet places usually by myself. Any calming environment void of distractions.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I think I said I was going to be a lawyer.
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I just finished Secrets of Sand Hill Road.
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I was not sure what this award was for at first, but I think it is great to recognize people for their contributions to the Columbus community!
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Most people say this, but I will repeat it because I think it is very true. Collaboration. I think a lot gets accomplished here because of our culture to be open to collaborating with one another.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in Central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. Special thanks to the Columbus Young Professionals Club, Discover Financial, and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2020” »