Change is interesting. It leads to unique and strange places, and challenges us in ways we can never anticipate but from which we can always learn.
I suppose that’s how I ended up where I am today: a former poet turned fiction writer; a former technical writer turned product manager and then user experience designer; a mild techie who also enjoys people and wants to help them find for themselves their own path in life.
This mixing and melding of skills has led me into some fascinating work and a diverse set of interests. According to The Birkman Method®, I have a strong creative (blue) aspect followed immediately by a strong practical (red) aspect. In laymen’s terms and as it was described to me, I love being creative, but the creativity has to have a point or be in service to a greater good, whether that’s a business, a professional service, a product, or a cause.
It’s one reason why I do well in both corporate environments and small businesses — I love the vision of the Big Picture, but I’m also concerned by the details about how to achieve it.
I suspect this is also why I became a published commercial fiction author: There’s the creativity of telling a good story, but also the understanding that books are “products” and must conform to market expectations. Writing full-time requires structure, discipline, goal-setting, and planning. Writing commercial fiction is as much about creating a vision and then executing a plan to achieve it as it is about writing “the book of your heart.”
There’s an additional aspect to achieving goals in business life, and that’s bringing people together to meet those goals. Something I’m known for and that gets commented upon in my performance reviews is my ability to coordinate and support cross-functional teams. I don’t have to have the right answer myself, but see an important part of my work as creating the space in which the right answer can arise from the group. Everyone is drawn in; no one is sidelined or ignored. The cohesion of the group strengthens, and morale goes up. Everyone wins, including the project and business.
I understand the importance of communicating a message, and have presented UX designs to Fortune 100 clients as well as small business decision-makers. The same general guidelines apply: Meet the client where the client is. Listen closely to naysayers, because they often see things the “happy path” group doesn’t. Under-promise and over-deliver.
Interested in seeing what I can do to help your business succeed? Let’s talk and explore how we can create something beautiful — and useful — together.
Obligatory job-oriented information:
- Currently employed part-time as a Senior User Experience Designer at Fiserv, Inc. in the Electronic Payments division. (Yes, we move money! Actually, we mostly try not to frighten the people needing to move the money.)
- Have worked formally in UX for around 7 years. Before that, my Product Management positions required a lot of design work in addition to the usual PdM work.
- Spent 10 years in Product Management, which gives me a strong lens for understanding business needs in the context of user experience design. I did the usual things: developing business cases, helping with product marketing communications, writing white papers, performing competitive analyses, etc.
- Comfortable working in an office or as a remote/distributed team member.
- Highly skilled in the interface prototyping tool, Axure. (Yes, I do fun things with dynamic panels and raised events.)
- Enjoy writing marketing materials for email blasts, newsletters, and brochures. (And can code HTML around the idiosyncrasies of Gmail.)
- Published 3 action/adventure novels with Silhouette Bombshell before the line folded, and continue to self-publish women’s fiction.
- Once rode a bicycle nearly 1000 miles through southern California (and no, climbing 7% grades in the mountains on a Cannondale touring bike weighing around 90 pounds is not fun).
- Fenced for a semester in college.
- Lived on a motoryacht for 7 years in a marina in southeast Texas.
- Attempt to work the word “Jasper” into every novel I write. Because it sounds funny.
- Love camping and have been known to attend WebEx-based design sessions from state parks.
Need more information? It’s doubtful, but if you do, shoot me a question.