Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe the 2020s have already arrived. As I reflect on my career journey so far, the theme for the last decade was product and user experience. In January of 2010, I left the client-driven world of agency web design and front-end dev to join a cheeky little company called Mailchimp as a UX designer. The following 6 years were some of the most exhilarating of my life. Having the opportunity to help build a product that thousands of people used, then iterating on our work based on feedback from those users was a new and amazing experience for me.
In my tenure at Mailchimp, we grew from a 35 person company with ~240k users to over 500 employees and 10 million users. It was an amazing ride with some of the most passionate and brilliant people I’ve ever worked with. In 2016, I left Atlanta and Mailchimp to move closer to family and joined PowerDMS in Orlando. The hardest part of jumping to another SaaS product was getting to know who my users were, and what problems we were helping them solve. That understanding came quickly thanks to the UX research practice that Matt Lavoie had establish there. We typically hosted about 3 user conversations per week and while I thought we were fairly user-focused at Mailchimp, I grew a lot as UX professional at PowerDMS.
About a year and a half in though, I felt the itch to work on a larger product again. More specifically, I wanted to do so remotely. I started reading articles about remote work and began reaching out to people I knew on distributed teams, asking how UX operated in their org. I had worked fully-remote a couple times in the past, but never for a remote-first organization. The more I learned, the more curious I became. Eventually, I knew it was a step I needed to take, so I started applying to remote UX roles. I didn’t expect to be pumped about a publicly traded HCM software company, but I could tell from interactions I had in the interview process that Paylocity was a great place to be.
In June of 2018, I joined Paylocity as a UX Designer, working primarily on our benefits administration products. After 7 months, Benefits became its own product category and I applied to the UX Team Lead role that opened up as a result. I had been in management positions at both MailChimp and PowerDMS, but not specifically a manager of designers, and never as a remote lead. I began that role in January of 2019, and started managing a second category of products in July. One year into supporting and helping to grow our amazing UX team, I’ve never been happier.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to see how the work my team is doing makes Paylocity better for our users, and having the opportunity to influence design across multiple products. So what will be my professional theme for the 2020s? As I continue to learn and grow as manager, I truly hope it will be a decade of design leadership. Cheers!