I offer virtual and on-site half-, full-, and multi-day workshops in data visualization, presentation skills, and data visualization tools including Excel, PowerBI, R, and Tableau. Workshop attendees will expand their graphic literacy and learn best practices to create more effective graphs and data visualizations. They will also gain the knowledge about what types of visualizations work best for their audience and why. I will also work with your current visualization projects and suggest redesigns that will illustrate what better data visualization means for you and your content.

I bring my experience as a PhD economist to your data. We will not only explore how to communicate your work but can also explore the statistical underpinnings–the theoretic. Beyond an ordinary workshop, I also offer project-specific consulting services to help you and your team work better with your data and create more effective graphs, interactive visualizations, infographics, and more.

If you would like more information about these and other workshops, please contact me directly

Core Principles of Data Visualization

The study of data visualization—the visual representation of data—plays a crucial role in the work of researchers and analysts. Organizations tasked with producing, releasing, and analyzing large amounts of data can more effectively analyze and communicate their work by understanding how to better visualize their data. Often, however, visualizing results comes as a last-second addition to the output and secondary to the analysis, which ultimately limits the effective relay of information.

This workshop provides

  • an overview of the data visualization field
  • introduction to different graphic types and purposes
  • an overview of best practices and strategies to create effective visualizations

Workshop attendees will work together with simple data sets and graphics to apply the lessons learned.

Better Presentations: An Introduction to Presentation Design and Techniques

Most people who work with data approach the task of presenting analysis by converting a written document into slides. Unfortunately, the result is often a text-heavy presentation saddled with bullet points, stock images, and graphs too complex for an audience to decipher―much less understand.

In this workshop, attendees are shown better ways to create, design, and deliver their presentations. Specific resources, tools, and approaches are defined and discussed to demonstrate better ways to deliver memorable content. Workshop attendees work in small groups to evaluate presentation slides, and develop and refine their own presentations.

This workshop provides

  • techniques to plan and structure a presentation
  • design ideas to create better and more effective presentation slides
  • strategies to be the best presented you can be

Workshop attendees will work together with provided worksheets and sample presentations to apply the lessons learned.

Introduction to Data Visualization in Excel

In this hands-on workshop, attendees will learn how to extend the data visualization capabilities of Excel. The class is primarily taught in Excel 2013 (PCs), Excel 2010 (PCs), and Excel 2011 (Mac). Attendees should have some basic working knowledge of Excel.

Attendees learn basic productivity-enhancing skills in Excel and more advanced data visualization techniques. This class covers:

  • Basic formulas: INDEX, MATCH, VLOOKUP, XLOOKUP
  • Data importing features
  • In-cell charting and conditional formatting
  • General Excel visualization tips and tricks
  • Advanced data visualization in Excel

All workshops include hands-on exercises. Participants work individually and in small groups, and discuss concepts within the larger class.

Introduction to Tableau

The Tableau training workshop includes sample data, exercise documentation (with answers), and final workbook. The format of the workshops includes, “follow along”, “do it yourself”, and group exercises.

The class covers:

  • an overview of the Tableau software tool and how to import data
  • basic data visualizations including tables, bar charts, line charts, maps and more
  • how to create custom color palettes and shapes/icons
  • general techniques to understand when first learning Tableau

Participants work individually and in small groups, and discuss concepts within the larger class. The Tableau training workshop includes sample data, exercise documentation, and a copy of the final workbook.

Introduction to R

This is a special workshop in which I team up with Aaron Williams, a data scientist at the Urban Institute, where he works on retirement policy, tax policy, microsimulation models, data imputation methods, and data visualization. Aaron leads the Urban Institute’s R Users Group and assists researchers across Urban with projects that use R for statistical analysis, data visualization, mapping, and automation.

In these workshops, attendees learn the practical R skills that will improve the quality of their work and discover approaches to programming away the mundane. Workshops begin with a clear motivation, followed by an explanation of the approach and code, and end with hands-on examples. There are three separate workshops: Introduction to R; Data Visualization in R; and Creating R Tools for Organizations.

Data, Designed

This is a special workshop in which I team up with Stefanie Posavec, a London-based designer with projects ranging from data visualization and information design to commissions data art. This workshop provides attendees with the core skills needed to conceptualize, plan, and develop data visualization products. This entire workshop is off-screen—I teach core principles in the morning and Stefanie teaching hands-on design and conceptualization in the afternoon. Attendees are given a simple data set they explore, sketch, and ultimately use to create a visualization using pen and paper.


Jonathan’s workshop was a perfect combination of unique knowledge, great visualization examples, and some humor to keep things fun. We had a variety of expertise and experience levels in the room and everyone came away from the workshop with something to improve upon and all left the workshop eager to get started on new projects. Highly recommend!

Christy Friedman

Program Manager, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Department of Health Policy

I do have to say that this was likely the best event we have had. Really informative, had tons of practical tips, and highly relevant to all the work we do. It’s obvious there is a real skill at being at a higher level in terms of presenting complex data.  The workshop will stimulate our thinking and hopefully move us to be more creative in the way we summarize and present information. Thanks again for your effort and absolutely LOVE all the ready hand sheet reference sheets you provided to us – they will be frequently used.

Amy Culbertson

Department of Homeland Security

I consistently find myself asking “What would Jon Schwabish do?” when I have data that I want to present in a compelling, nuanced way. I recommend his writings as a resource to all my students. We booked a day long training with Jon, and it turned out to be a terrific investment. I highly recommend his workshop!

Melissa Kearney

Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, former Director of the Hamilton Project at Brookings



The class size allowed for great questions/participation and teams. The hands-on visualization at the end was perfect for bringing everything together. So much fun!
Mike Kainrath