After the long (and continuing) pandemic I decided to take a break from my work-life for the summer and focus on my personal values so that I can better align them with the next step of my career.
The summer was a relaxing one; bonding with my one year old son, biking around the lakes of the Twin Cities, and catching up on a stack of books that continues to grow unabated despite my best attempts. I was also able to reconnect with many of those who I have worked with over the years and get their trusted perspectives (while also enjoying some in-person together time post-vaccination).
After many cups of coffee, patio beers, and pavilion grill outs, what I have enjoyed most about my career has been a pendulum that swings between Leading high visibility and complex projects” and “Helping others grow professionally”.
While I have worked on many high visibility and impactful projects, some of my best memories come from my short stint at Genesys Works(GW). During my time with GW I connected with young professionals and helped them take their first steps into the business and technology world. Coming from a small family farm in rural Minnesota, I have personally experienced how a career in technology can change the trajectory of my own financial future and I was glad to play my small part helping others onto that path.
Working directly with these young professionals I also saw how financial systems are failing folks who might personally identify as coming from historically excluded groups. Consumer baking websites that only serve content in English is a challenge for First generation Americans who might feel more at ease making long term financial decisions if the web content was presented in their native tongue. Consumer banking that listed financial planners who don’t represent the community in which they were located. The list went on, and on. While many of the folks were able to successfully sign up or a checking account so that they could feel the joy of their first paycheck there were a few that came up to me afterwards, knowing that I was a professional who built these types of websites, and asked me why it was so difficult.
The five years since that transformative summer I have committed to becoming a better technologist and user-centered professional with a focus on always connecting with those we serve.
During my time with U.S. Bank I spent time learning with amazingly talented accessibility professionals and dove head first into making their highest profile websites exceed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for Super Bowl LII. During my time with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and The Department of the Treasury I committed to ensuring that all of my projects that I started improved the lives of the public by transforming how government uses technology by designing with direct feedback from the american public so that we could modernize our websites and meet the expectations that were being elevated by the private sector.
I believe that everyone deserves access. I believe that everyone should have agency to live life unencumbered by technology. I believe the designed space should be continuously improved as our understanding of how people interact with technology change.
I believe that we as technologists and designers can, and should, do more.
I hope to bring my decade plus of experience and help guide the next generation of User Experience professionals. To help them create a future where digital services meet the demands and expectations of both customers and the public. Where websites are quick, easy, secure, and accessible and built on a foundation that is both aspirational in the long term and actionable in the short term. To help them learn marketable skills; so that they can feel confident in their careers, safe speaking up, and contribute to work that matters.