Episode 22 - Finding Your Footing in a Male-Dominated Field with Sheila Talton of Gray Matter Analytics

podcast tracyholland Jun 23, 2021

Today, we are speaking with a digital transformation and analytics powerhouse, Sheila Talton. Sheila owns Gray Matter Analytics, a healthcare data analytics company founded in 2013. She is here to share with us her perspective on important topics such as the lack of women in the big data and big tech industry, raising working capital in a business, and what it means to be an entrepreneur. As an African American woman, Sheila is an ardent advocate for African American rights. She currently serves on three public boards, two of which are John Deere and Cisco.

In This Episode:

[03:37] Sheila reflects on her childhood, labeling herself as a rule follower until she realized she wasn’t accomplishing as much as she wanted to quickly enough.

[05:44] Marching and demonstrating in protests, making sure her voice was heard around important issues facing African Americans.

[08:52] The point when Sheila knew she wanted to pursue a career in technology.

[16:57] Not getting the support of her then husband as Sheila’s career started to grow exponentially.

[19:16] Sheila’s next steps as she transitioned and pivoted her focus to becoming an entrepreneur.

[21:18] How Sheila negotiated and structured the deal to get her business started.

[27:59] Hindsight of Sheila’s career, she spent 50% as an entrepreneur and 50% in corporate America. Does she feel the time she spent in corporate was beneficial?

[30:31] Sheila speaks about her current company and what she expects the future of this company to look like.

Key Takeaways:

Sheila marched and demonstrated during the civil rights movement to ensure her voice was heard regarding the different issues facing African Americans during that time.

How Sheila found success in Big tech and Big Data, even though the odds were stacked against her, being a woman and a woman of color. 

Working in corporate America before she became an entrepreneur - Sheila felt this was beneficial to her because she was able to observe what good and bad management looked like.

We can never achieve success alone, having a support system is necessary to finding success.

Negotiating the deal and investment for her business - Sheila looks back to that moment and knows she took all the right steps in formulating that deal.


Find Sheila Talton on LinkedIn and at GrayMatterAnalytics.com

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Until next time… High Five!



Sheila G. Talton is currently the President and CEO of Gray Matter Analytics, a healthcare data analytics company that she founded in 2013. Her latest mission at Gray Matter is to encourage clients to take ownership of their data, maximize its value and more effectively standardize data across large, complex enterprises to address interoperability challenges that proliferate in healthcare.

She is an innovative global leader and Big Data strategist with over 30 years of experience in helping organizations increase value, build successful businesses within larger companies and expand into emerging markets. She is recognized for her expertise in developing and executing bold initiatives.

Her experience in governance extends to corporate, civic and not-for-profit sectors; currently serving on the boards of Deere & Company, Sysco Corporation, OGE Energy Corp., Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation, The Chicago Network, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Chicago Urban League.

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