Kat’s 2023 in Review: Transformations in 6 Core Areas and 5 Lessons in Reflection — A 365-Day Journey Unwrapped

Katherine Igiezele
UX Content Champ
Published in
9 min readDec 29, 2023

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2023 was a global odyssey, with each day charting new territories in my professional and personal life. My passion for work was my sailboat, steering me through life’s quests while my faith anchored me to the ground. These experiences enriched my growth and those I met along the way.

Join me as we unwrap my 365-day Journey, exploring transformative experiences in 6 Core Areas and 5 Lessons in Reflection across content and continents while making a significant impact and influence.

Let’s start with my year at Toptal’s Core Team, where I currently work at the intersection of UX writing, strategy, and product-led growth; the reviews say my contributions this year have been impactful and influential, and I agree.

Let’s have a quick look at some of these achievements:

1. Anniversary milestone:

I clocked one year at Toptal in October and am currently 1 year and 3 months in.

Anniversary message from my UX Writing Lead and Manager

2. Initiated and influenced several content best practices through content-led projects, advocacies, facilitating presentations, knowledge-sharing workshops, and reviews with immediate and cross-functional teams.

Some Reviews from Toptal’s SVP of marketing, Senior Growth Product Director, VP of Growth Product, and UX Writing Manager

3. Contributed to business expansion into new markets:

Katherine was a core driver behind the success of two new business models we were able to bring to market in 2023 — Bradley Michayluk, Senior Director of Growth Product, Toptal

More recommendations from Bradley Michayluk, Senior Director of Growth Product, Toptal

4. Contributed to business growth:

My work was instrumental in launching over 20+ product landing pages for new business models, such as Toptal’s consulting services, and revamping our industry-specific pages across 7 industries, significantly expanding Toptal’s market presence.

Another significant achievement in this regard was influencing the launch of Toptal’s managed delivery model with a content-led strategy and writing, which garnered recognition from C-suite executives for effective writing execution, turnaround, and collaboration across multifunctional teams.

Comments from senior stakeholders about Topta’s CEO Taso's review of my work

5. Contributed to several ad-hoc tasks/projects:

Which are not limited to facilitating presentations, workshops, and knowledge-sharing sessions with my immediate writing team and other teams within the organization.

While there’s so much more to share, yet so little space, my work wrap isn't complete without a proper shout-out to my team of UX Writers (totally killing it individually and collectively), my supportive manager, great leadership, and organizational culture that allow me to operate in my ‘zone of genius’: at the intersection of user experience writing and growth strategy. This enables me to collaborate cross-functionally across teams to ensure Toptal’s content meets both user and business goals.

As a generalizing specialist, a.k .a. a T-shaped individual, this is one of the many reasons I love working at Toptal.

Keen on diving deeper into my work process? They say my portfolio is a course in itself, or just contact me directly.

Contact me to explore the full extent of my craft in UX writing and content strategy.

Now, over to the less corporate stuff 😊

Speaking: Chanting for Courses that Matter

Beyond inspiring and influencing content best practices at Toptal (no pun intended, my work buddies actually call me that: ‘UX Writing influencer,’ haha), I lend my voice to courses that matter in the larger content and tech industry.

Nothing to see here, just my work buddy with the ‘influencer’ title

Here are some of my selected talks this year.

  • UX in Africa: Interview with Usability Pioneer Jakob Nielsen, Co-Founder of Nielsen Norman Group. Read the full interview.
  • Co-organized the first Content Design Meetup in Kaduna State, Nigeria: Breakthrough Content Design: Introduction to Writing in Tech 101 at Colab Technology Hub. See more details.
  • T-Shaped Workshop: Organized a workshop at Toptal focused on the T-shaped skill mapping framework I created. Read more details.
  • Growing in Content Conference 2023: Spoke on ‘T-shaped Transitions’, emphasizing adaptive skill development in the content industry. Read reviews and more details.
  • UX Writers Africa Conference: Delivered a keynote speech titled ‘Beyond Words: Using Content to Design Experiences’. Read reviews and more details here.
  • UX Writers Africa Community: Spoke on ‘How to Grow as a Freelance UX Writer’. Read more details.
  • Developer Meetup on Building an Inclusive Digital Ecosystem: Discussed designing digital financial services products with a focus on women. Read the full panel discussion.
  • Conversation Design Unscripted: Spoke on the power of voice in designing digital experiences. Read more details.
  • Writing Community: Spoke about strategies for growing a writing career. Read reviews and more details.
  • The UX Content Champ pre-launch webinar: Spoke on strategies for discovering the futuristic skillsets writers need to future-proof their careers, which also forms the core of the academy’s T-shaped curriculum.
  • Techyounity: Session on ‘Tech 101’, exploring different writing careers in tech.
  • Twitter Space: Spoke on collaborating with other disciplines:

And that’s a wrap on speaking engagements; please feel free to contact me for a comprehensive list of my speaking engagements.

Next up, my personal projects turned into purpose projects.

Personal Projects: Championing Digital Content Education and Talents

  • Launched the UX Content Champ Program: I spearheaded the curriculum development, creation, and launch of the ‘UX Content Champ UX Writing Academy, a pioneering initiative aimed at championing accessible digital content education. Visit the academy.
  • Project Management and Collaboration: My role in the UX Content Champ project encompassed managing the project from conception to launch. Which involved extensive collaboration across various domains, including strategy, content, design, creative direction, marketing, and development.
  • Launched Scholarship Initiative: Upholding my mission to make digital content education accessible, especially to underrepresented communities, I awarded three-course scholarships to the program. View the beneficiaries.
  • Book Giveaway Collaboration: In collaboration with Content Design London, I facilitated a giveaway of best-selling content design books, furthering the reach of digital content education. See the winners.
  • Community Building for UX Writers: Beyond education, I’m dedicated to building a safe and engaging community for UX Writers. View our UX Writing Community.
Reviews

Mentorship and Coaching

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Fun fact: my traditional career dream was to be a lecturer and, ultimately, a professor like my papa. And the reason isn’t far-fetched. My unique ability to simplify complex concepts into bite-sized information which also influences my UX Writing skills.

Although I didn’t end up a professor, at least not academically, with these reviews from the writing community about my teaching skills, it's safe to say I’m still fulfilling my lecturing dreams.

  • Global Mentorship: Conducted 29 direct mentorship sessions across 7 countries via ADPlist, reaching a diverse array of mentees. Book a free session with me.
  • Indirect Mentorship: Influenced countless individuals through my educative posts online, sharing knowledge and insights. Read some reviews.
  • T-Shaped Content Career Framework: Publicized a framework for writers, guiding them to upskill and future-proof their careers strategically. Read some reviews on the framework.
  • Coaching at UX Content Champ: Actively coaching a community of UX Writers and helping them champion their growth and careers. Hear from some of our students.

Features and Publications

I embarked on this path for impact, not acclaim. Yet, along the way, I’ve been graced with recognition. These accolades now serve as beacons — guiding and inspiring me, especially on days when the sun lingers below the horizon — Kat

  • Digital Content in Africa: Featured on the Content Design London podcast with Sarah Winters, discussing the evolving landscape of digital content in Africa (soon to be published).
  • International Women’s Day Recognition: Recognized in over 8 features as an inspiring and leading female figure. View more details.
  • Top 130 Women in Content Design: Listed among the top women in content design. Read the article.
  • AI & Writers: Published an article on AI and writing that received positive feedback. Read the article.
  • Social Media Publications: Regularly published posts across various social media platforms, contributing to the discourse in content design and UX writing. Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter), or visit my website.

5 Lessons in Reflection

That’s enough about me, lol. Let’s talk about you; here are 5 guiding lessons that inspired all you’ve read so far, which I believe may inspire you too if you read on.

  • Build Bridges: As always, the importance of connections and collaborations cannot be overemphasized. Building bridges, my friend, whether between disciplines, ideas, or people, creates new opportunities for exploration.
  • Think Like the Other: Empathy has been a guiding principle in my work and interactions. By putting myself in others’ shoes — whether it’s a user, a team member, or a stakeholder — I’ve gained invaluable insights that have driven more inclusive and diverse solutions.
  • Value Comes Before Reward: One of the most profound realizations has been that true value lies in the contribution itself, not just in the accolades or rewards that ‘may’ follow.
  • Just Do It!: Choose action over hesitation. Taking initiative, even in the face of uncertainty, will lead you to unexpected opportunities and experiences or what we call the ‘aha’ moment.
  • The Multifaceted Nature of Today’s Work: 2023 reaffirms the power of T-shaped skills — broad knowledge with deep expertise in one area in a multifaceted world. Supported by thought leaders like Jakob Nielsen (read his article on the rebirth of the unicorn) and innovative companies like Apple, IDEO, and Nike, I’m known to champion and advocate for owning versatile yet strategic skills in our fast-evolving work landscape.

To help you develop these essential futuristic skills, I’m offering you a 70% New Year discounted access to my T-shaped UX Writing Academy, the uxcontentchamp. Here, you’ll master one core skill: UX writing while gaining complementary knowledge in research, design, testing, AI, and more, preparing you to thrive in a constantly changing world.

Thank you for unwrapping this condensed version of my 2023 journey with me. I wish you an inspiring end of the year and a fulfilling 2024.

Kat

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Katherine Igiezele
UX Content Champ

UX Writer & Strategist @Toptal | 🧑‍💻 at the intersection of tech & marketing | Speaker | UX Mentor | Coaching UX Writing Champions @uxcontentchamp.com