Where do you live? White Salmon, WA
What is your profession? For the past 8 years I have been an Independent Information Architect (IA). That means I help businesses, brands and individuals organize all their disparate ideas into products and services that their uses find enjoyable and meaningful. My business partner and I get to work with all different types of businesses and people.
How did you get this role and what was your path leading up to this? Fresh off working as a JAVA Developer in Hartford, CT, I moved to San Antonio, TX with my best friend on a whim. Unable to find a job as a programmer, and trying to fake my way through an interview for a visual design role, my then future (now past) employer pegged me as someone he thought would be good as an Information Architect. Twelve years later, and he’s still right!
After working in San Antonio full-time as an IA, I moved to NYC. After a year or so working as a full-time IA in Manhattan I was laid off (it was 2009). Shortly after, I kicked off my consulting career which has been going strong for the past 8 years.
What did you study in school? — Management Information Systems
How did you know you wanted to study that? I didn’t! What I did know was that I enjoyed, and was good with, all things computers, the Internet, and systems thinking. I also knew that if I focused on learning these within the context of the school of business, I’d be prepared to work in almost any industry, and, even more desirable, I’d be able to get my head around potentially starting my own business one day (a lifelong dream of mine).
Has anyone been a mentor to you? What role did they play and how do you feel about mentorship now? Most definitely. I’ve had many mentors along the way. In fact, I strive to learn as much as I can from all the people I encounter. My first official mentor outside of high school, where of course I had friends, family, teachers and counselors to rely on, was my boss during my college internship. He played the role of the organizer. Meaning, he helped me to assess, organize and prioritize my skills and interests. He then helped me to begin to target opportunities that aligned with them. That was 15 years ago, and I still keep in touch with him to this day!
I feel that mentorship is imperative to the success of anyone. I like to keep in mind that living life, and building a career within that life, are not new concepts. People have done these things millions of times before, and learned many lessons along the way. It seems to be way more efficient, and easier, to learn from their lessons, then to repeat said lessons.
That all said, I believe a great deal of the responsibility to find a mentor is on the mentee. Knowing you don’t “know it all” and being humble enough to ask for and listen to advice will take one very fair in life and work. That I guarantee.
What’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to deal with in your career so far? By far this would be getting laid off less than a year after I moved to New York City. It was the first time, in a very long time, when I didn’t have a steady income, and I was scared! But, this was also the moment that provided me the biggest career growth. After licking my wounds, I got up and redefined (with the help of my mentors) who I was, what I wanted to do with my work, and how I wanted to do it. Without the push from the universe, I doubt I would have made such strides.
What has been a really rewarding moment in your career? This is a really hard question to answer. I guess I would say having a career that allows me the time and space to think about what businesses I want to help make better, and what people I want to help see their ideas come to life, is something that I’m grateful for each moment of each day, and something that is highly rewarding. It is my way of giving back to this wonderful world around me, and it is this freedom that motivates me to keep going.
What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? There is so much that I hope to accomplish in my lifetime! I want to do the best work I possibly can, with the best people I can find, in order to create products, services, systems or whatever it is we need to make this world the best place for all of its citizens. And, I want to teach my skills to others so that they can do the same.
I want to help empower others to share their stories and gifts with the world, and to help give voice to all those whose voices have been stifled (which is why my co-host and I started the Adrift on Purpose Podcast — http://www.adriftonpurpose.com/ ).
I want to share my stories, and the stories of others, so that we can all connect to this crazy human experience, and live together, instead of separately, while in this same space.
What’s something you want young women to remember when thinking about their future? This sounds cliché, but the biggest thing to remember is you are in the driver seat. You, as the driver, determine your path. Sometimes there are obstacles in your road, and some are bigger than others, but we most always have a choice as to whether you try to go through those obstacles, or around them. I’ve found going through them is the option that brings you the most good.
What’s one thing you want to try to make an impact on in your lifetime? Oh wow. Well I certainly would love to make an impact on all of these things. I’m a systems thinker, right? So, to me, one can’t make an impact in one area, without impacting the others. BUT, if I had to single anything out, I’d say I want to make an impact on other people, help them to find and speak their truth. I believe if I do that, the rest of the good stuff will follow.
Where can people find you on social media if they’d like to connect with you?