In Conversation: Director of Impact Andrea Incudine On Data, Storytelling, and Leadership
“I don’t really love data,” Andrea Incudine, MPH, Director of Impact at Family Reach, admitted. “I love the story that comes from it.”
Often found outside running, snowboarding, hiking, camping, or walking her dog Maverick when she’s off the clock, Andrea is our in-house numbers queen with vital superpowers like measuring, evaluating, and sharing the organization’s impact through data dashboards, detailed reports, and staff training. Her nonprofit experience coupled with her passion for data storytelling and the families we serve makes her a natural fit to build and evolve the Impact Department at Family Reach.
I had the distinct honor of chatting with Andrea all about her career in data, connection to the Family Reach mission, and advice for other women working toward a seat at the leadership table.
Stevie Snow, Creative and Brand Manager at Family Reach: Let’s start with your Family Reach origin story! How did your personal and professional paths lead you to this organization?
Andrea, Director of Impact at Family Reach:
If you asked me when I was 18 what I wanted to do for a living, the answer was to help families affected by cancer, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I studied business management but then stayed on to get my master’s in public health because as much I loved the business side of things, I knew it had to be for a cause I was passionate about.
Since then, I’ve worked mainly in the nonprofit world but it really clicked for me when I could tell the story of the organization and the families we were helping through data. Getting to Family Reach actually involved beer and our CEO, Carla!
My husband and I had just moved to New England and we were trying to get out in the community and meet new people. We both love craft beer and running, so we wound up at a Trillium 5K event that supported Family Reach. Enjoying my post-run beer, I listened as a family and Carla spoke to the crowd about Family Reach. It was everything I always talked about wanting to do. I found the courage to introduce myself to Carla and a few months later they called to tell me they had an open consultancy role.
Stevie: Now it’s four years later and data-driven decision-making is an organization-wide priority for Family Reach. How has the organization’s growth led to evolutions in your role and the creation of your impact team?
About six months after my consultant contract was up, Family Reach had an open position for Senior Manager of Programs & Evaluation. When I started in this full-time role, we were focused on explaining our Financial Treatment Program, enhancing our ability to document and document well, and improving our data quality.
Now we’ve evolved to the point where our Operations team has built an incredible system for documentation and reporting in Salesforce and we’re ready to shift our focus. We want the entire organization to have access to data that tells the entire story about the families we serve and the impact our solutions have on those families.
Stevie: Fast forward to the end of this year, what kind of impact department achievements do you hope to be celebrating?
My number one goal is to help empower and educate staff to ensure they’re comfortable with the data and can easily access it to tell the story of our work in each of their worlds. Next, I want to refine our patient impact survey so we have a closer look at how our services are affecting and impacting our families. My third goal is to support the organization’s key objectives and initiatives with data, such as strategic partnerships, program pilots, and equitable delivery of our patient services.
Stevie: What role does data play in helping Family Reach fulfill its mission?
Data doesn’t lie. It tells us what we do really well and where there are opportunities for improvement. Organizationally, it’s important for us to have data to be successful and transparent in our efforts — but the other piece that’s critical is that the data we collect ties directly to the families who need our support.
Data can inform our next steps, from prioritizing the top languages our resources should be available in based on patient demographics to implementing program improvements to better serve the needs of the cancer community.
Stevie: Do you have any words of wisdom to share with other nonprofits that may be nervous about digging into data?
Data can be tricky for nonprofits because you need quantitative data but a lot of times, it’s the qualitative data that tells the real story about the organization’s impact. It’s all about mastering the art of using anecdotal data to support the hard numbers. For Family Reach, this means that patient voices will always be part of our impact story.
It’s also important to keep asking yourself, what does success look like? Break it down for certain areas, and know that it can look different for each program, service, or initiative.
My last tidbit would be to give yourself time to pause and evaluate how things are doing and then make recommendations for the next steps. Adding a bunch of data fields is one thing, but digging into what those data fields are telling you is where the story shines.
Stevie: What advice would you share with young women working toward leadership positions, especially those who also love data storytelling and are looking to pursue impact-driven careers?
Be self-aware. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and don’t be afraid to own them! You have skills that are so needed, so don’t worry about the historical limitations of women in leadership and instead focus on the amazing ability you have to tell stories through data. Soak up every ounce of experience — good and bad — and learn from the leaders around you. We need the voice of women in leadership so never stop bringing your perspectives to the table!
Stevie: More than being an influential leader, you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty at Family Reach! You volunteer at events, run with our Reach Athletes, and more. What motivates you to stay so connected to the organization’s mission?
After losing my grandmother and great aunt to cancer in the span of three months, and later losing my mother-in-law to a diagnosis, I’ve seen firsthand how cancer can truly turn a family upside down. I’m not an oncologist, social worker, or boots-on-the-ground professional working directly with patients, but if I can support these families with my skillset or by running a half-marathon, then that’s exactly where I want to be.
Stevie: Let’s wrap it up with one thing you want people to know about Family Reach!
I know it sounds like I’m jumping on the bandwagon or stating the obvious, but the character of our team really is instrumental to our success. Our team is supportive, innovative, creative, compassionate, and ultimately so dedicated to alleviating the financial barriers of cancer that I truly believe we won’t stop until this issue is no longer part of anyone’s cancer journey.
Always walking the fine line between her right and left brain, Stevie brings her creative and strategic thinking to her role as Creative and Brand Manager. Through writing and design, she amplifies Family Reach’s voice and brings attention to the financial barriers that often accompany a cancer diagnosis.
Reach Leadership Spotlight: Melrose High School Students Set the Bar High for Supporting Cancer Families
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Here’s why it’s important for patients and caregivers to consider finances when going through cancer treatment.
Here’s how Stephanie and other patients navigated elements of life with cancer, including finances, anxiety, and hair loss.