Los Angeles, CA
Manager, Product Design
Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I manage the Enterprise Product Design team at Hulu where I oversee the design of apps and services for Hulu’s Ad Platform, Content Management System, Customer Support, and Data & Analytics. I represent my team within my department leadership as well as with initiatives in other areas of the company. I keep my team running smoothly, facilitating a culture of open communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Hands-on design is also part of my work, which entails figuring out how people can use our apps better and improving upon the look and feel for the Hulu brand.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
Although I’m told that I do well in presentations and meetings, it is still terrifying when I open my mouth to speak in those situations. That fear has decreased over the years by gaining more experience, and also through the support of my stuttering community. I’m in a position where I have to do a lot of talking with business leaders and team members and I want them to have trust and confidence in me. It’s important to show them what I have to offer and not let my stuttering keep me from that.
Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
Yes, I self-disclosed. I did so in the context of bringing up my work with Stutter Social and the National Stuttering Association. It’s a unique thing for most people to hear about and they always want to hear more. Self-disclosing lets others know that you’re not hiding and that you’re comfortable talking about stuttering. I’ve found this puts them at more ease, which in turn puts you more at ease!
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
No doubt about it, stuttering has made me a more compassionate person. I’m a better listener in terms of giving people the time and space to say what they need to say. And I can establish empathy faster because EVERYONE has “something” in their lives that has caused them pain, shame, embarrassment, struggle, etc. When people see me with my “something” on clear display, they open up more quickly about themselves and this helps build professional relationships.
What is your proudest moment at your current company?
My proudest moment was when I got promoted to manager. I was so excited I had to walk around the block a few times just to let the energy out!
About two years earlier, I was laid off from a company whose private equity owners decided to take the company in a different direction. It was a big blow because things were going well for me. I had two young kids and it just came out of the blue. It knocked me off my feet for a bit. But, I decided I was going to see the opportunity in the situation. I worked diligently to up-level my career from that point, first as the lead designer at a known startup, and then as a senior designer at Hulu. When the manager promotion came around, it was like the completion of a two-year cycle of my hard work paying off.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I want to uplift people’s hearts and minds through art, technology, and unconditional love. I don’t know how that will play out in my career and I don’t put limits on the possibilities. VP of Product Design? Inventor of new technology? Performing artist (with said new technology)? Writer and speaker? CEO of Hulu?????
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
I have a whole lot to say about this topic and it has little to do with stuttering. To summarize, I’ll give you the “Three P’s”: Personality, Preparedness, and Positioning.
Personality is a major factor in how others perceive and relate to you and also how you see yourself. Personality determines things like the opportunities you pursue and what people you attract to support you in your endeavors.
Preparedness is about what you have done to date that makes you capable of doing the work you’re seeing to get a job doing. You’ve got to be prepared! This includes education, training, and work experience—and this also includes work ethics like persistence, diligence, and awareness.
Positioning is the fusing together of personality with preparedness to put yourself in the best position to get the right job and follow the right career path for you. It’s probably the easiest of the Three P’s to do, but it requires that you get the other Two P’s right first. And to do it well, you need an understanding of your industry, market, peers, and professional network.