Exeleon Magazine

Emily Kund: A Value-Driven Women

Emily Kund Exeleon magazine

Values are the guiding compass of our lives, helping us experience the world in a unique way. It is what defines us and forms the basis of our identity.

As such, values play an integral role in how we function as leaders. Unfortunately, many leaders do not spend the requisite time and energy tuning in to their personal values. These leaders may recognize values on a superficial, surface level, however, rarely do they dig into the core beliefs that drive the creation of their values.

Emily Kund is an example of a transformational leader who is committed in making a difference through her leadership while living by her values.

Exeleon proudly looks into the story of this powerful women and her inspiring journey.

The Spark

Growing up, Emily was determined to become a doctor specializing in adolescent pediatrics. “I felt bad for the teens who had to sit next to toddlers in the waiting room at the doctor’s office,” she recalls.

During college, Emily started off as a pre-med. However, juggling between going to school and working at her “almost full-time job” became too difficult for her to manage.

This led her to take an assessment at the Career Counselors Office at Salisbury University. She discovered business to be a more practical and suitable career choice for her.

After working for over 10 years as a bank examiner, Emily got introduced to a visual analytics tool – Tableau. Through this tool, she recognized the power of data visualization, and the ability to experience insights much quicker. She immediately fell in love with data and never looked back ever since.

Emily began learning more about data, the value it held, and it soon became her newfound hobby.

“I co-founded the first community podcast in the Tableau eco-system (and I think I was the first woman podcaster in that space), co-founded a Data+Women initiative that is now a global initiative, founded the Tableau Fringe Festival, a global online conference for the Tableau ecosystem; all the while still working as a bank examiner!”

Through these initiatives, Emily wanted to give back to the community that embraced her during her foundling years.

Quiz and more!

As Emily transitioned into her journey as a full-time entrepreneur, she realized the power of quizzes.

She mentions, “Quizzes can help people learn more about themselves and join a business owner’s community, which are two of the most basic needs we have as humans.”

Initially, Emily actively helped online entrepreneurs attract community and build their lists with the help of quizzes. “I would meet my clients where they were at, whether it was me doing the research, creating the quiz, and connecting it to their email service provider, or providing feedback on their draft quiz. With opt-in rates of over 65% on some of my quizzes, I was in a good position to help entrepreneurs.”

Today, she has gone back to her first love of helping people to create more accessible dashboards by working as a Tableau Enablement Consultant at Red Hat. “It’s awesome to be in a place that values data-informed decision making and a good data culture.”

However, Emily continues to take upon quizzing projects selectively and help business leaders grow their community.

The Change

True to her values as always, in 2017, Emily realized how she wasn’t living her family value. “I left a career that had made me feel like a bad mom and strained a relationship with my husband,” she remembers.

Now, she works remotely at home with her family as her topmost priority.

She is grateful for the time she is able to spend with her kids each day and the ability to work from home. “Working from home allows me to get the kids up by 7:30am vs. 6:30am and out the door by 7am. I also spend time with them about an hour before bed. It might be watching Mr. Beast on YouTube or anything, but I’m meeting them where they’re at, and it’s something that we can connect on.”

Aside from her family, Emily goes out of her way to prioritize herself. Having been diagnosed with chronic illness, she has made sure to devote her time managing stress, working out, and doing things that she enjoys. According to her, this enables her to become a better mom and wife.

Furthermore, she mentions, “I take that time and my husband is my partner; he supports me in this so that I can be the healthiest, happiest version of myself as possible.”

Emily is proud of what she has been able to achieve and work upon, as this has given her valuable perspective.

Nonetheless, talking about what she could have done if she were to start again, Emily reflects “The one thing I wish I would have done differently is to test out my entrepreneurial ideas before I left my career.”

She adds, “While I did a fantastic job estimating expenses, because it took me a while to find my rhythm, I under-estimated income and that caused significant stress, which negatively impacted my health.”

Value-based Leadership

For Emily, a powerful woman is someone who knows her strengths and leverages it to impact change. She is someone who knows her value and lives by them. She is someone who dares to be different.

“She’s a change-maker.”

As a powerful women herself, Emily leans into her strengths, instead of dwelling over improving her weaknesses always. She aims to empower other women with the same thought and make a difference.

Through her platform Pretty Strong Smart, Emily is dedicated towards empowering women and girls educationally, economically, and socially.

Going Forward

In her quest to continually learn and improve herself, Emily is currently doing her Executive MBA Program from the Quantic School of Business and Technology.

“I love learning, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I enroll in a doctorate program as well. Additionally, I would love to be more of a resource in accessibility in data visualization and help enable analytics at Red Hat and have others learn from what we’ve done as well.”

Grateful for her time as an entrepreneur, Emily now wants to impact people in a formal leadership capacity in analytics or marketing.

Aside from this, she sees herself winning a national pageant title. Talking about pageantry, she mentions “Pageantry has been such an interesting journey and I love how much more empowered I am because of it. I’m chasing the best version of myself, so the work is never done.”

At a personal level, being healthy and raising healthy, happy kids are one of her topmost priorities going forward.

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