Ellie Graeden is founder and CEO of Talus Analytics. The name “Talus” comes from the geological term for a type of sedimentary rock that, while made up of numerous small pieces, is strong enough to build a mountain when brought together. Much like the rock, the company Talus Analytics is a data analytics group that specializes in translating millions of points of data to create a more understandable “big picture” for users. These users include Federal agencies such as Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Executive branch and the private sector, including the insurance and energy sectors. Talus is also working in collaboration with non-profit organizations and NGOs including United Way Worldwide, Georgetown University, and others within emergency management and global public health.
Ellie’s creativity is sparked by an interesting problem to be solved. She possesses the unique ability to see the big picture at a systems level, understanding what her user needs and being able to bring this data to life for them. For instance, a major challenge in emergency management is to use the large amount of quantitative weather data to make practical operational decisions; it is Ellie’s job and passion to communicate these data in a way that is both compelling and relevant to her audience, in hopes of driving more informed decisions. During Hurricane Matthew, Ellie and her team gathered information about power outages and predicted impacts to help support an effective emergency response. She has also analyzed and modeled data for large scale disease outbreaks for the US government to make more informed public health decisions. This is what Ellie values most about her profession: seeing her hard work generate large-scale progress that can literally save lives. To her, this is more rewarding than any amount of money could be.
Ellie’s mentor and the co-owner of Talus, Rocco Casagrande, inspired her to launch the company. Both graduated from the MIT Biology Department with doctoral degrees; Rocco helped Ellie apply her research background to practical, policy-relevant life sciences issues within government. Having introduced her to epidemiological modeling and public health response, he supported her launch of her own line of business, and eventually Talus, translating these results through data visualization and user interface development. Rocco’s mentoring and support has also been key in supporting Ellie as her work has expanded to a global scale.
Ellie and the Talus team has worked at Impact Hub for 8 months. She values the hard-working environment, but most of all the people and the community it provides. She states, “I appreciate that, though we are a bunch of introverted scientists and engineers, the Hub provides us a place where we can come out and be social when we want to be”.
Ellie Graeden’s professional mantra is simply put, “all in”. Whether she is in the office with her team, at home with family, or even on the mountain biking trail, Ellie Graeden gives her whole self to every aspect of life. She believes that you never have to fear failure as long as you give it your best, which in her book is the true definition of success.