– Hi, I’m Joe Welinske and I’m the program manager for ConveyUX, and that’s been Seattle’s annual user experience conference for the past seven years. It’s produced by Blink and we’re going into our eighth year. So the conference is going to be March third, fourth and fifth in downtown Seattle. We’re excited about that and I get a chance to talk to all of our many speakers. And today I’m talking to Erin Newby. Hello Erin, how are you?
– I’m good, how are you Joe?
– That’s really good to have you in the program. And talking to you today and usually I’m talking from our Blink Seattle headquarters office. Today I’m out and about. Where are you talking to us from?
– I’m from New York City. I am in lower Manhattan right now specifically, I’m sitting at work.
– All right, good, well why don’t you tell us a little bit about work, your background that type of thing.
– Okay, so yeah, so I guess I have been designing for quite a few years now. I started, well roughly around eight years eight or nine years. I started off in advertising and I made the transition into a product designer about four years ago when I sort of realized that the value of human centered design. Since then, I’ve worked in a lot of different industries. I’ve had the most experience in FinTech ’cause I currently was at Nasdaq for the past three years exploring that space. I’m currently exploring telecommunications at Verizon, where I specifically work on the rewards program within their mobile app.
– In so what are some of the things that typically make up the days at work? Are there any certain patterns, or activities that you regularly get involved in?
– Yeah, there’s quite a few. I guess there’s a lot of on a higher level, there’s a lot of brainstorming. We have a pretty tight process here. We work really closely with research, ’cause they do a lot of our user testing, and gather a lot of our insights. We also do a lot of white boarding. Generally partner up with other design colleagues. To just go over a lot of different concepts and just explore a lot of different solutions for a lot of the problems that we’re trying to solve.
– Is there anything new and exciting going on? Or things that have your interest in addition to your regular design work?
– Yes, so outside of work I try to remain active within the design community, in terms of writing and public speaking, I’m also volunteering at an accessibility non-profit currently ’cause that’s something I’m extremely passionate about. I try to explore topics within the design community around diversity inclusion and then accessibility. Just because those are very close to my heart for a lot of different reasons.
– In addition to doing the program managing work at ConveyUX, I’m the accessibility director at Blink so that’s something that’s an important area for me as well. What are some of the activities that you get involved in, in your community service related to accessibility?
– Right now, it’s very interesting I do a lot of, with the non-profit that I work with currently, I do a lot of their marketing materials just to help them out with, like in terms of outreach. Then I also help them get connected with companies to run, like bring in people with disabilities so they can user test their products with. So they can have that broader group to be able to test their solutions with. Just because a lot of companies they don’t have that in house. They don’t necessarily know how to bring that in house. So I try to do outreach in that way as well. So, I’ve connected a few companies with the non-profit that I work with to be able to connect that user group with some of the solution that they’re trying to test.
– Well, let’s talk a little bit about your session. That’s going to be one of the ones that we feature as having a high level of discussion involved in it. Your topic title is “Unmasking Imposter Syndrome as a Minority”. Tell us little bit about how you came around to that and what you’ll be presenting to us.
– Okay, so I mentioned earlier that I’ve been designing for quite a few years. I started off in advertising but as I was making the transition into product design I sort of, a lot of that was self taught. So I didn’t have formal training in that so that and combination of being a minority, a woman of color. Then also living with a disability, there’s a lot of self-doubt that came along with that. Just because a lot of my peers come from and extremely different background, have formal training in product design. So, just over the course of my career I’ve seen how that has held me back in a way, but I saw that it was definitely something that although, I was qualified for the work I was working on, I did bring a lot of perspective to the companies that I was working with. That all of that within myself, that imposter syndrome really held me back, from different opportunities. And like, sharing my ideas at certain points just because I felt like I didn’t fit in. I just think that this workshop is going to be very valuable for people that, number one, are within that position. Just to show them different ways to break out of that. Then also for people that are not in that position, just to give them more, just to build awareness around that, that exists. Just show them a different perspective that someone that they can be working alongside, you know, has. Or different experiences that they’ve experienced so.
– We really appreciate you coming to the front of the room for something like this, and talking about your challenges, and expressing that. I know this session isn’t necessarily set up as there’s any specific solutions, but rather for you to talk about your story and then open it up for discussion from other people that may have the same challenges or be interested in understanding how to, you know, best work with colleagues.
– Yeah, which is very important because I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of, other people, that they’re working with their colleagues, their peers that may not come from the specific background that I come from, but that have their own unique challenges that need to be brought to the forefront as well. So just, creating a conversation to get these out into the open so that we can just build a community where people are comfortable and also just expressing their particular needs.
– Well I think it’s going to be a great contribution to our program, and we look forward to having you here when you make your journey form New York City, and also thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.
– [Erin Newby] Yeah, thank you for talking with me as well. I’m excited!