A Week in #DataikuLife: What It Was Like to Attend My First Company Kickoff in Spain

Dataiku Company Emma Irwin

Every year, Dataikers travel from all over the world to spend a week of learning, camaraderie,  and fun together. Want a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to attend one of our annual kickoffs? Meet Emma Irwin, a sales engineering manager based out of Toronto, Canada. This week, she is sharing what it was like to attend her first Dataiku kickoff in Huelva, Spain. Since Emma joined Dataiku in March 2020, this was one of her first times meeting fellow Dataikers from all over the world in person! From Ikig.AI activities to a masterclass that has already helped her assist clients, to her panel discussion on the main stage (and everything in between), Emma shares all her favorite moments from this year’s kickoff.


Imagine, after two years of working remotely from your tiny downtown apartment, your company announces that everyone is invited on a week-long trip to SPAIN! When I first heard the news, my immediate reaction was to jump for joy. 

Dataiku Happiness team

Dataiku’s Happiness team (that’s right, we have a whole team dedicated to employee happiness!) sorted out everything: flights, beachfront accommodations, and activities all week long. I packed my bag within one pound of the checked luggage limit and was ready to go! 

Being greeted at the airport by dozens of my colleagues felt like a homecoming. Finally meeting the people I’ve been working with from inside tiny Zoom squares for years was incredible. Hearing dozens of languages spoken throughout the group was overwhelming, exciting, and reminded me just how much we’ve grown as an international organization since I joined. Getting to the resort and seeing giant Dataiku logos everywhere could not have been more surreal. 

tree planting Huelva

One of my favorite sessions was put on by Ikig.AI, Dataiku’s AI For Good initiative that extends into climate and social justice issues. During the kickoff, Ikig.AI hosted a tree planting and reforestation activity. Everyone came together to hear about the impact of climate change on the local ecosystem before being given a bundle of seeds to create seed balls. These seed balls will be distributed to nearby areas in Andalucia impacted by forest fires. We made enough seed balls to grow 3,500 new trees!

A company where I'm encouraged to make a positive difference for the climate under the Spanish sun with my coworkers? Yes, please! When it was time to get my hands dirty with the software and not soil, I headed to a masterclass about how to create web applications using Dash (a super powerful Python framework) inside of Dataiku. I’ve been able to use the output of this session in front of multiple clients already.

Preparing for My Panel Discussion

Rewind to a couple of weeks before I left for the trip. I got approached about being part of a panel, titled “Building a Unique Product,” on the main stage. I would be presenting alongside Kenji, our VP of product; Krishna, a senior product manager; and Agathe, a software engineer — all who work out of the Paris office. I knew it was going to be a great opportunity to work with incredibly smart people outside my usual cohort, but it was extremely nerve wracking nonetheless. 

As I was preparing, I thought about what I could share in front of all of my colleagues and I had a moment to reflect on just how lucky I am in my role as a sales engineer at Dataiku. Every single day, I get to interact with prospective and current clients who let me in to learn about their goals and challenges when it comes to data science and machine learning. 

This appreciation for my role was reinforced when I went on stage and was able to speak to nearly the entire company (878 Dataikers who flew in from 23 countries!) about how my team directly impacts our product’s development and company’s success. After sharing, I felt grateful and connected to the work I do every day! 

Emma Huelva panel

When that was over and I could finally relax without thinking about forgetting how to speak in front of a crowd, it was time to enjoy the rest of the kickoff! The rest of the week included a walk on the beach, a night of eating tapas in a historic bullfighting ring, and my first experience with Spanish flamenco dancing! 

bullfighting arena


We wrapped up the week with a keynote directly from our founders and a gala dinner that was more elegant than most weddings I’ve attended! Next stop: Paris, to visit our head office and all the friends I made at the kickoff! 


Wondering where in the world we’re traveling to next? Join us — we’re hiring! If you’re looking to grow your career at a global tech company, be sure to visit our careers page. From company kickoffs to team summits, Dataiku’s global identity and commitment to accountable camaraderie are things that we embrace and celebrate whenever possible. And for more behind the scenes looks at Huelva and other past Dataiku kickoffs, be sure to check out our Instagram Highlights!

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