Eight years ago, a team at Tableau started a customer recognition program. They called it the Zen Masters. At its inception, Tableau Evangelist Andy Cotgreave wrote,

"The Tableau Zen Master program recognises exceptional contributions to the community from our best experts. It is not just a recognition program—it’s about leadership. We want to cultivate a community of experts, innovators, and teachers who help develop future generations of Tableau users. Acceptance into the program comes with an expectation that you continue to contribute high quality, expert content to the community. "

The first group of Zen Masters included seven individuals from three countries. When we started the program, we drew from a community we knew and who knew us. At the time, we could not have imagined how our customer community would grow in so many diverse ways, and with it, how this program and others would evolve. As the community grows, so does the program. The 2020 Tableau Zen Masters include 34 individuals, representing 11 countries, and four global regions.

Including the current selection, only 76 people in the world hold, or have held, the title of Tableau Zen Master. It has become a pillar of excellence that many aspire to, and the embodiment of many of Tableau’s core cultural values and stewards of our community code of conduct, but also—surprising to us—a criteria on various job postings.

How did it come so far in only eight years, and how do we select the Zen Masters?

The selection committee for the Zen Masters includes a cross-section of Tableau employees representing development, sales, and marketing.

To ensure a diverse pool of nominees representative of our global community, we reach out to our extended networks to promote the public nominations. We rely on the reach of our customer community on social media to help us spread the news even further, and watch as we receive a strong, distinct collection of nominees. We rely on all of you to champion your peers and showcase and shine a light on those doing incredible work that elevates others in a public space. We avoid selecting individuals whose work is internal and private to their organization. We respect that as our communities have grown, internal communities have flourished. We want to celebrate these, but continue to choose to only select from those who meet our criteria in public spaces, where their work is not fee-gated.

From that pool, we look at all the public nominations and solicit applications from the nominees to be sure their candidacy is well represented. Each nominee is considered by the selection committee

We are excited to announce the inductees into our 8th cohort of Zen Masters!

Tableau Zen Master Hall of Fame

Entering the ranks of the Tableau Zen Master Hall of Fame, we are honored to welcome Anya A’Hearn and Joshua Milligan as new inductees this year. They join Jonathan Drummey, Andy Kriebel, Craig Bloodworth, Kelly Martin, and Steve Wexler.

We thank both Anya and Joshua for their dedication to the Tableau Community. They will hold the title of Tableau Zen Master in perpetuity and be honored in the Tableau headquarters in Seattle, as well as on the official Zen Masters page.

Criteria for the Hall of Fame:

  • Inductees serve at least five terms as a Zen Master.
  • Inductees receive a majority vote by the selection committee.

To learn more about the Tableau Zen Master program, check out the official Zen Masters page. Updated photos and bios of the new Zen Masters will be posted soon.

The 2020 class of Zen Masters have exceeded all expectations as teachers, masters, and collaborators and have been a force for good in the Tableau Community. They have helped to champion building data-driven cultures and have been stewards of innovative design. Several have supported Tableau Foundation projects, building new bridges for collaboration, and helping to solve global issues. Many have worked closely with our development team on new features, testing alphas and betas, and blowing our minds with new Dashboard Extensions. They have built and supported programs that have inspired a new generation of data viz enthusiasts, and they have all made us better with their feedback, support, and passion. With this and more—they have made the Tableau Community stronger. Please join us in welcoming them and continuing to further the work of elevating the community.

Subscribe to our blog