Confessions of a Data Cynic

Confessions of a Data Cynic

by Jeffrey Whitford, Head of Global Corporate Responsibility for MilliporeSigma
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 1:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Greener Products and Solutions

CONTENT: Article

I didn’t want to believe; in fact, I’ve spent years fighting it. People go on and on about the power of data and I just didn’t see it.

I come from a world where skill in design and creativity can make almost anything work, and creating words isn’t frowned upon—or at least that’s what I told myself.  I figured that I could sell my Corporate Responsibility story with words and pictures and do just fine—until I had one of those painful “Aha” moments.

I remember—with a level of clarity that I wish I could have on about any other topic—exactly where I was and who I was with. One of our sales managers had invited me to do a Quarterly Business Review, or QBR, with one of our academic customers in California. This was a slam dunk—I could talk about our Corporate Responsibility program in my sleep. And that is just what I did.

It went well—lots of questions and talk about how we could collaborate and move the topic forward with that particular customer. Then one gentleman, who had been particularly quiet, spoke up. He said, “This is great and all, but how can you help us quantify this?”

Say what? Quantify? Do we really need to go there? Can’t we just do stuff and make an impact? Of course it’s more nuanced than that, but if we want to boil it down, that’s what I was thinking at the time.

That moment, though, was the transformational moment for our work at MilliporeSigma—not only for our overall Corporate Responsibility program, but more specifically, for our industry leading Green Chemistry program.

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