About Gwen Thomas

Gwen Thomas, president of The Data Governance Institute Gwen Thomas is Founder and President of The Data Governance Institute, which is the premier provider of in-depth, vendor-neutral information about – and assistance with – tools, techniques, models, and best practices for the governance/stewardship of data and information.

Gwen also serves as publisher of the web’s largest data governance resource, at www.datagovernance.com; The Data Governance & Stewardship Community of Practice, located at www.DataStewardship.com.

Gwen has personally helped companies such as Sallie Mae, BankUnited, American Express, Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu),Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, NDCHealth/Wolters Kluwer, Wachovia Bank, Disney, and Coors to build or mature their Data Governance and Stewardship programs.

Before governance got “hot” and she decided to focus entirely on data-related concerns, Gwen spent a dozen years working in the trenches and in management roles as a systems integration consultant and Knowledge Manager, helping large and mid-sized organizations in the areas of data strategy, data integration, Master Data cleansing/standardization, metadata collection/repository development, warehouses, search, portals, and content management. Prior to that she managed and governed content while serving as was a college teacher, a marketing/pr person, and a publisher of a literary magazine.

Gwen is a frequent presenter at industry events sponsored by MIT, DAMA, IQIS, IRM UK, Wilshire Conference, DebTech International, and others. She frequently contributes to IT and business publications and is also the author of the book Alpha Males and Data Disasters: The Case for Data Governance.


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Right-click on the links below to download Alpha Males and Data Disasters: the Case for Data Governance by Gwen Thomas.

part 1      part 2      part 3

A note from Gwen:

No, folks - the book you're about to read is NOT gender-biased. It concerns one of the many reasons to implement formal Data Governance - the pervasive situation in which people emulate the decisive actions of leaders and make decisions that affect the security, quality, or usability of data assets (even if the decision-makers lack the perspective or incentive to understand the impact of their decisions).

When I was writing this book - in the early days of Data Governance - I searched long and hard for a term to describe such behavior. The word "alpha" by itself just didn't have much of a ring, so I took a chance myself and refered to it as the "Alpha Male Instinct." If I had waited just a few more months, I could have quoted authors Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson when Harvard Business School Press published their book, The Alpha Male Syndrome, an interesting look at leadership styles.

In the years since my book was published, it has become obvious to many of us that there are multiple reasons why an organization might need to pay attention to how it allocates decision rights for data-related decisions. And so, the stories in this book paint only part of the picture. But the core concepts remain true, and the beginning of the book can serve as an entertaining primer to Data Governance.

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