Which free electives that you took outside of the Digital Media Department have helped you most in your career?
In my junior and senior years at Drexel, I began taking several electives within the Sports Management course of study. Notably, I took a class in Sports Event Management that I believe had a lot of parallels with the career I have pursued in UX Design. It was refreshing to take a class that was outside of my comfort zone, but also one that was highly interactive with other students whose passions were more business-focused. In this class, we got to plan a large scale sports event that forced me to level up my business acumen, which has been an asset to my skillset.
As a sports fan, this was an interesting topic for me – planning a Super Bowl at Yankee Stadium – but along the way, I learned a lot about project management, the details of creating a profitable event, mitigating risk, and working alongside a cross-functional team where each member has different objectives and goals to achieve. There are a lot of parallels to working at a software company, where I spend a lot of my time working on cross functional teams to balance the intersection of business, technology, and design. I was lucky to have the experience at Drexel to build empathy and understanding for some of the unsung heroes in the product development process.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
As a person within my organization who evangelizes design thinking and customer-centered processes, my team and I try to use those tenets in our internal interactions as well. One of the greatest challenges we have is making sure that our company is well-versed in what design is and how folks outside our team can be a part of it. Design is one of those things that can have a different meaning to different people, but a commonality amongst all is that it elicits feelings and emotions from all consumers of it.
We’ve come up with some great ways to work through this, like creating a UX Playbook that provides common definitions and a tactical guide on how to facilitate the types of collaborative activities that work well for us that promote participation from the broader company. By creating a culture where design is a team sport and providing the transparency into our process to the rest of the company, we’ve seen firsthand that participation leads to buy-in. Our partners in other departments have had fun engaging with our team and have been able to provide some of our best ideas and greatest insights.
What is your favorite genre of music? Why?
My favorite genre of music is Classic Rock. With most music in this genre, you get to hear the raw sound, imperfections, and talent of the musicians from a time before synthetic sound and digital mastery was able to create perfection. It’s also interesting to me to observe how the styles and rhythms of older music are recycled and brought back to life in newer music. Like traditional art, music evolves and builds off the work of other artists as it evolves over time. Classic Rock is particularly fun because there’s so many timeless songs that are popular with older generations that continue to be just as popular with millennials. I love to roll the windows down on a nice day and belt them out!