Interview: Linda Powell, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Data Governance for Finance Industry

We discuss the chief data officer role at CFPB, big data opportunities and challenges, ontology, vintage data, data governance trends, advice, and more.

AR: Q6. Can you explain the term "Paradata"? What is its significance to research?

paradataLP: Paradata is information about how a survey was conducted. Paradata serve several purposes including helping to design surveys, helping explain some results, and allowing for inferences about non-responses. For example, if you are conducting a survey about food and hunger, you might expect different results and response rates depending on the time of day you conduct the survey.

AR: Q7. Which of the current trends in Data Governance seem the most exciting to you? Why?

LP: As discussed earlier, the potential that ontologies have to transform data data-governancemanagement is very exciting. Imagine having a dynamic dictionary and thesaurus for the changing universe of financial products. An ontology can act as a translator because you know the definition and the relationships. For example, in the accounting world, capital and owners’ equity can mean the same thing or not. Knowing the base definition and relationships to other elements in the financial statement would provide this insight.

But there is a lot of work that needs to be done to harness the potential.

AR: Q8. What is the best advice you have got in your career?

missionLP: It makes your job more rewarding when you work for an organization that has a mission you believe in and that you believe does good work.

Early in my career I was also advised that I should always remember that one of my main responsibilities in any job is to make my boss’ life easier. Remembering this has served me well.

AR: Q9. What key qualities should someone working in Data Science related positions possess?

LP: A Data Scientist is the intersection of a business analyst, statistician, programmer, and data wonk.

AR: Q10. What was the last book that you read and liked? What do you like to do when you are not working?

the-goldfinch-by-donna-tarttLP: I’m in two book clubs so I read a good bit. I enjoyed The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Books that I recommend to everyone who is a spouse, parent, or coworker are Nudge by Richard Thaler and Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki. I also loved Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

When I’m not working or hanging out with my family, I like to play soccer, run, and most recently play percussion in an indie/ blue grass band.