What is the best thing about being a Principal Product Designer?
For me, the best thing about being a designer is tackling the big, sticky, complex problems underlying guest experiences and finding that “ah ha” moment when you realize how to make things easier and more delightful. I enjoy using diverse skills every day (visual design, information architecture, research, strategy) and working with different subject matter experts to accomplish things I never could have done alone.
What is the hardest thing about being a Principal Product Designer?
Wanting to do so many things and not having enough time. Where does the time go?
What was the most exciting thing that happened this month?
I partnered with the Internal Innovation Team (facilitators of Techstars) to develop a new curriculum for product teams to take their pitching skills to the next level. The half day workshop provided the skills needed to craft and deliver effective pitches for product ideas, from 30 seconds in an elevator to 4 minutes on a stage. It all culminated in the final Shark Tank-style pitch competition with an executive panel of judges to help the teams secure support & resources to pursue their big ideas. It was a lot of fun!
What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
Spending nine months building a business case and lobbying to start a new product team for operational email. It took a lot of time and persistence to help people see the vision and commit resources, but it was worth it. We got some rock star talent on the team and they are really making a difference!
Who/What should every designer be reading/following right now?
TechCrunch and Wired are my go-to’s for design/tech news. I’m also really interested in service design, so I follow Andy Polaine, Christopher Noessel, Jeff Gothelf and the Adaptive Path crew. My favorite things to read by far are books by Brené Brown, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, or watching TEDtalks by awesome female entrepreneurs.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional figure skater, a unicorn or a designer. My parents are both designers so I had some great inspiration. I guess I’m kind of a unicorn too?!
Best career advice that you’ve received?
Be true to yourself and focus on your strengths. Don’t spend your whole life trying to overcome all your weaknesses and be something you’re not. Find allies who can compensate for you in those areas and together you’ll make a strong team…and you’ll be happier!
Dogs or cats?
I love both! I lived with dogs growing up, but currently we have two rescue kitties at home: a black cat named Mozzie and a gray tabby named Neal.
What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
Maybe the flavor would be rainbow? I do a lot of research and IA work, brainstorming/ideation, visual design, prototyping, and sometimes front-end code. I also have a background in marketing, so I do a lot of writing and selling ideas. My leader likes to tell me I am the queen of designing PowerPoint decks (not a compliment), but it’s mostly because I enjoy helping people become persuasive storytellers. I don’t have one specialty – I kind of dabble in a little of everything.
Anything else you want to say?
For me, UX design is a part of daily life that I can’t turn off in my brain. When I go somewhere and the signs are confusing, or there’s a bad interface that causes frustration, my first thought is always “how would I fix this?” I usually turn to my husband and express these inner thoughts, to which he rolls his eyes and says “stop working.” Honestly, when you are in the business of being a designer who solves usability problems, your work is never done!