Upskilling Excel

Excel is the go-to tool for working with data for most employees in most organizations on the planet. And most people know how to open up a spreadsheet, poke around and look at numbers, and even do simple tasks like basic formulas. But the vast majority of employees have a lot of room to improve their ability to work in Excel.

This is not a complete Excel training course. The purpose is to simply work on a few areas that will lead to potentially exponential improvement for beginning to intermediate Excel users. There are a few areas that basic Excel users can work on that will dramatically increase their efficiency and success with data analytics in Excel. They are:

  1. Shortcuts – learning to use the top 5-10 keyboard shortcuts will increase productivity in countless ways
  2. IndexMatch and XLOOKUP –  to improve the ability to match items across data sets
  3. Pivot Tables – pivot tables make certain types of analytics so fast and easy and yet beginner Excel users don’t know how to really make pivot tables part of their routine

Intro to Power BI

Power BI is Microsoft’s powerful business intelligence tool. Since it is free for many corporate licenses, and there is a completely free desktop version for all users, it is grabbing market share quickly and is a tool well worth learning. On top of Power BI itself, there is the incredible Power Query tool, which is also available in Excel, for data transformations, that is incredibly useful for anyone working with data.

In this introduction to Power BI, attendees will learn:

  1. Power Query and the incredible toolset available for connecting to, transforming, and modeling data for analytics
  2. Data visualization in Power BI, including creating multiple charts, linking charts to filters, and animating charts over time


Attendees will not simply watch an explanation about how to do X, Y, or Z in these tools. They will be lead along a learning path where they will be introduced to concepts, and then asked to build on those concepts while creating real usable outputs in both Excel and Power BI. They will learn by doing. They will walk away with hands-on experience that they can put to work immediately in their every day work activities.

Together or Separate

These two half-day workshops can be combined into a full day of learning, or taught separately as stand-alone learning opportunities.

Who Should Attend


  • Analytics
  • Communications
  • Content Creators
  • Content Marketers
  • Designers
  • Editors
  • HR
  • IT
  • Journalists
  • Marketing
  • Public Affairs
  • Public Relations
  • And more…


  • Agencies
  • Education
  • Financial Services
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • High Tech
  • NGOs
  • Nonprofit
  • Professional Services
  • Publishing
  • Startups
  • And more…


Heather Huerta – CALPERs

We invited Bill to come share his expertise with 24 members of public affairs and stakeholder relations teams. Bill customized a dynamic workshop specific to our needs. Bill provided a format that was engaging, educational, and inspirational. Our team is excited to put to practice his methodology and tools including his memorable acronyms for distilling messages!

Heather Huerta
California Public Employees' Retirement System
Joe Procopio – International Monetary Fund

Bill Shander’s workshop was perhaps the most highly praised workshop our department’s staff training committee organized this year. Bill was happy to work closely with us before the workshop to help tailor its contents to make it more relevant for our organization’s communications objectives and staff’s current skill level. Everyone left the day energized and more confident in their ability to tackle future data visualization projects.

Joe Procopio
International Monetary Fund
Gretchen Hall – Strategy + Business Magazine

Bill started with a highly entertaining and informative history lesson on data visualization and then took our team through several exercises designed to give us the tools to think about our data and our content more interactively. It was an extremely successful session for us all.

Gretchen Hall
Strategy + Business Magazine
Brian Rus – Acxiom

Bill led our analytics team through a full day virtual data storytelling workshop and did a fantastic job! There was excitement and energy throughout the day with the use breakout rooms and exercises to keep us engaged. Our team has a wide range of data visualization experience and everyone was able to contribute and learn in a collaborative environment. Bill kept the conversation friendly yet productive, and we received outstanding reviews from attendees after the event. I would recommend this workshop for any team that works with data.

Brian Rus
Susan Justus – Betterment

Bill is an engaging facilitator and very knowledgeable on the topic of Data Visualization. He has a unique way of mixing the lecture with activities to make for an impactful and hands-on learning experience. He also challenged us to think outside the box by providing helpful frameworks that are tangible and easy to apply immediately.

Susan Justus
Melody Wilhelm

From the moment the team began working with Bill, our data visualizations improved, and we began to tell better stories. Bill’s relaxed style put the team at ease and helped open them up to the possibilities of using data to help tell impactful stories.

Melody Wiilhelm
Electronic Arts
Jenny Rone – US Department of Agriculture

Bill’s class inspired my staff. For example, he effectively led a critique of some draft visualizations, provided pointers, and walked the staff through a ‘before and after’ demo. That “real life” activity, in particular, has helped challenge the staff’s creative thinking and transformed their process and deliverables. It was tons of fun!

Jenny Rone
US Department of Agriculture
Erin Souza – Charles River Associates

Bill Shander’s data visualization workshops have been well received across all roles and levels at our firm. Bill is clearly an expert on the topic and he is also a talented facilitator! His creativity and flexibility in the classroom bode well for true problem solving.

Erin Souza
Charles River Associates
Rachel Richter – Dun & Bradstreet

As an Analytics & Insights team at a B2B company, we are in the depths of data and analysis all of the time and can become disconnected from the needs and preferences of our audience. Bill really helped us think about how to tell a compelling story and visualize data & insights in an engaging way. He worked through specific materials with us and gave us tips & tricks that will help bring our work to a new level.

Rachel Richter
Dun & Bradstreet

Research-Driven Best Practices

These workshops aren’t made up of just Bill’s opinions on design and visualization. They’re backed up by decades of academic research by the top minds in the field.