What a great week for those of us working in the data wold!

Barbara Deemer, Chief Data Steward at Sallie Mae, was named the winner of the First Annual Data Stewards Day “Stewie” award, announced on 10.11.11. (Get it the humor in the date?)  

Nominated for her ability to combine a great wealth of information with a great personality, Barbara is described by the judges as a “one-woman powerhouse when it comes to business data”. October 11th is now the official International Data Stewards Day, with the Stewie Awards brought to you by DataFlux and judged by a panel of independent analysts from The Data Roundtable.

The award is open to all data stewards who have made a major impact in their organizations yet never received the credit they deserve — something I think we all can relate to.  To find out more about International Data Stewards Day and the Stewie Award, check out www.datastewardsday.com.

As someone who has worked in the data space for several decades, I am delighted to see this sort of recognition. Thanks, DataFlux, for kicking this off. Thanks to all the organizations who nominated their unsung data heroes for this award. Thanks to the judges.  And thanks, Barb, for being you!

On a personal note, I could not be prouder. I had the priviledge of helping the inimitable Michele Koch as she developed Sallie Mae’s Data Governance program five years ago. I met Barb then, before she became Chief Data Steward, and recognized her as just the sort of person who could bring a business view to the practice of Data Governance and help keep stewards focused on value and results.

Sallie Mae has a great mix of resources. Amazing support from above. (Shout out to Jo Lee Hayes, Sr. Vice President, Enterprise Technology and Architecture!) Barb Deemer and others interacting with the Business - stakeholders, participants, subject matter experts. And Michele Koch (Director of Enterprise Data Management and the Data Governance Office) and her Data Governance/ Quality/ Architecture team members running the program, understanding the data, advocating for it, and working with IT resources to ensure that data-related decisions are properly focused and framed.

Yes, over the years you’ve heard me extoll this program and the ROI they’ve achieved, starting with Day 1 of their program. (Case study.) But I didn’t have anything to do with this award. I didn’t even know Barb had been nominated. But when I opened the press release and saw who had won, I can’t say I was surprised. What a deserved honor!

Oh, did I remember to mention that earlier this year the Sallie Mae Data Governance program won the (unrelated) 2011 Data Governance Best Practice Award? You can hear all about their program on October 27th at a Dataversity webinar. This webinar is a shorter version of the tutorial that Michele will present at the Data Governance Winter Conference, Nov. 16-18 in Ft. Lauderdale.

I’ll be there. Hope you will, too.