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Meet Sonia Ardila, balancing words and numbers

Design that reads "Kin+ Sonia Ardila" with a headshot of Scott

Our name is intentional. “Kin” refers to family and “Carta” refers to maps. When together, we’re Kin + Carta — a group of connected makers, builders and creators, who come together everyday to help our clients build experiences and plot a clear path forward in today’s digital world. Carta is what we do, Kin is who we are.

Kin+ is a series that uncovers the experiences, stories and lives of the people who make our collective “Kin” exceptional.

In March for International Women’s Day, Kin + Carta highlighted the career story of Sonia Ardila, a Data Strategist based out of Colombia. From the advice Sonia shared, we were intrigued to learn more about her. And in doing so, we were simply blown away.

Sonia is an adventure-seeking individual who is committed to doing well for those around her. She is devoted to a life full of balance, always seeking to fill in gaps she’s sensing in order to do great work with both words and numbers. This is how data fell into her life, but alongside it came technology, love, entrepreneurship and Kin + Carta. We are so proud to share some of Sonia’s experience with you.

Design that reads "Kin+ Sonia Ardila" with a headshot of Scott

I was born in Barrancabermeja, Colombia, the city with the largest oil refinery in the country. It’s there where my father worked, in the electrical department, and where I had one of my first encounters with data. Data is something that would follow me all throughout life, and it’s thanks to data that I discovered that, alas, my school friends and I were wrong — our city is not the hottest place in the country!

Design that reads "Kin+ Sonia Ardila" with a headshot of Scott
Chart showing Sonia's city is not the hottest place in the country!

Growing up, my family was a team of athletes and sea lovers, with nearly every vacation filled with competitive games near a body of water. If I had to label us, I’d call us a ‘dream team’: my mother, my father, my brother and me. It was through experiences with them that I learned discipline through sports and the love for competition. Together, we shared countless kilometers running and cycling, embedding in me the courage of getting up after falling down. This was a learning I leaned on last year, when our dream team broke with the passing of my mom. Her legacy, lessons, and love remain core to who I am.

Sonia and her brother at the beach
Sonia and her brother at the beach

It was before finishing high-school when I learned to write code, programming a virtual friend to talk to. Today, we’d call this a chatbot. Years later, another chatbot would come back into my life, this time as a part of the final project for my Master's Degree in Data Analytics. I designed with one of my classmates, Elias, a chatbot classifier of cardiovascular risk.

Now, back in high school I always considered myself to be a very good student, specifically excelling in math and writing. It felt like numbers and letters were something of magic in my life. However, when it came time to choose a career, that duality was a challenge. In the end, letters won and I enrolled to study Social Communication. My first job was as a market research assistant in an ad agency where I used concepts from Aristotle's rhetoric to replace boring surveys with fake information. The result was a series of in-depth covert interviews full of wonderful customer insights.

During this time, I enjoyed the qualitative part, but I sorely missed working with numbers. So I said goodbye to the ad agency and decided to start a new adventure as an entrepreneur with Jorge Eduardo, an incredibly talented software programmer and the love of my life. We designed information systems for companies in the automotive industry, and together we’d work alongside exceptional teams creating delight for our customers. With Jorge Eduardo, I experienced the world of entrepreneurship, creating a myriad of useful applications for many clients — even having the chance to represent Colombia in an event in Scotland where I talked about entrepreneurship. But that’s only one part of our adventure — we’re both also runners, scuba divers, and we love to kayak. 

Sonia and Jorge Eduardo at a run race holding medals
Sonia and Jorge Eduardo at a run race holding medals

With an eagerness to welcome numbers back fully into my day-to-day life, I went back to college and studied mathematics. It was during this time that I learned data analysis. I loved this, as it added touches of storytelling into the more technical, quantitative work that I enjoyed being part of.

With this knowledge, I started to analyze my mom’s medical indicators after she was diagnosed. In doing so, I found that the data trend already has been showing a problem two years earlier. But the lack of data visualization meant that the disease was not detected in time. This is one example of how important data visualization is and how playing with data can lead to interesting insights and results.

Sonia's mom’s medical indicators chart
Sonia's mom’s medical indicators chart

From this, I became captivated by the idea of applying analytics and digital transformation in the health sector where timely diagnoses are sorely lacking. This has been one of the things I’ve most enjoyed while working at Kin + Carta — moving from transactional reports to analytical dashboards that make life easier for our customers, allowing for better, data-informed decisions.

However, I sensed in myself that I was missing something — this time the letters. So I took a few courses on children’s literature and jumped into writing books for children focused on entrepreneurship. I’ve kept up with this while working at Kin + Carta, while also speaking at tech events. It’s here where I can mix numbers and words through data storytelling. I’ve also continued to discover new ways to help, like volunteering, co-organizing the ColombiaAI machine learning meetup, and supporting the Haiko Foundation and Científicas de Datos.

Sonia combined her passion for stories and numbers by writing children books
Sonia combined her passion for stories and numbers in Data Storytelling

When I joined Kin + Carta, it felt like the perfect match — a company that invests in and celebrates helping others, sharing knowledge, and using technical and functional practices to build world-changing digital products. It’s here that my love for data and my passion for people is encouraged and stretched.

Digital transformation, data analysis, and entrepreneurship have become such a fulfilling part of my life, and I feel proud to know that the projects I’ve led continue to impact people in many ways.

Are you eager to work alongside Sonia and learn from her passion for data?

Apply now

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