Welcome YVN’s New Co-Chair Shawn Flynn

Photo of Shawn Flynn
Monday, August 31, 2020

What is your current role at Yale University? 

I am an Associate Analyst on the Analytics and Data Services team within Alumni Affairs and Development.

What are your main responsibilities? 

Along with my team, I support Alumni Affairs and Development through complex reporting and analysis of fundraising results and alumni activities.

What do you like most about your work? 

I like to help people understand data and trends. Specifically, I enjoy helping people to make solid, data-driven decisions and to understand what story the data is telling.

How does your job affect your general lifestyle? 

Before COVID-19 my job functioned relatively well for my work-life balance with my family, even though childcare is a challenge. During the pandemic, the landscape changed of course, but luckily my work made a fairly seamless transition to working from home. Our biggest challenge is still childcare however. Families are certainly going to be tested this upcoming school year.

How did you begin your career? 

My first job out of college was in sales, but I soon realized I was not suited for it. Luckily, my employer at the time was creating a new analytics team and I was hired to join them. As my analytic skills developed, I moved into new industries - first consumer goods, then insurance, and now higher education.

What steps would you recommend one take to prepare to enter this field? 

I would recommend studying economics in college. The subject matter lends itself to the field of analytics in many ways. Then after college, I would recommend getting an entry-level role working with data in some way, shape, or form.

What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field? 

Personally, my experience in a variety of industries contributed to some of my success. It provided me with the ability to see many different angles, perspectives, etc., as well as the opportunity to learn an assortment of technical skills. As for attributes, I would say solid communication is key. Working with a variety of colleagues and consultants over the years taught me a lot about the qualities of communication. Early on, I was somewhat introverted as analysts often times are. As I matured, I learned to value talking more and more with my peers. This really opened up my path to success.

If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change? 

This is a tough question because I am very thankful for my job and the ability to support my family. However, if hindsight were 20/20, I would probably go down a different path and work in a skilled trade. I say this because I absolutely love working with my hands, fixing things, troubleshooting, etc. In my spare time, I am consistently working on home projects. Or possibly, I would consider serving active duty to achieve full retirement benefits. If you’re lucky enough, you can retire relatively young and start a new career. My military service consisted of only six years in the Connecticut Air National Guard. I’m thankful for it of course because it helped with my college education.

What does Yale Veterans Network  mean to you, and what are you hoping to accomplish as Co-Chair? 

What YVN means to me simply put is its mission - which is to support and encourage the career development and growth of all its members. The second part about accomplishment is a bit more challenging given that Yale is on a hiring pause. Presently, we are continuing plans to make Yale University the employer of choice for veterans, reservists, and guardsmen. That way when the pause is lifted, we can hit the ground running.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

We are always looking for new members. The better our participation is, the better we can help folks to network. If you have any military experience, please come to a meeting so you can learn more. We meet the 2nd Wednesday of every month.

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