Name: Jacqui Maroun
Designation: Head of User Experience (UX)
Company: NATIVE VML
What do you do every day? I am in meetings all day, helping my UX team
and project team solve problems, facilitating consensus on issues, or brainstorming amazing outcomes. We find ways to innovate around the user experience and technology, and offer our clients solutions that will transform their relationships with their customers for the better. Each day is an exciting maelstrom of ideas and people, so the evenings are often when I get to email and any presentations I have to put together, usually for pitching our work to new clients, which I love, so I don’t mind doing it at night!
How did you get into the tech space? Unwittingly. I studied a BA in Industrial Psychology and Philosophy and then joined a publishing company to earn money from the only skill I felt was marketable: an ability to write. I explored many areas of magazine publishing including journalism, editing and magazine layout. One day I was laying out a book review called “I Sing the Body Electronic”. I was so gripped, I read it there and then, and realised I needed to jump from print to digital, which seemed to be an intriguing convergence of all media. I phoned the only company I had heard of that developed websites, VWV Interactive, and got a job that week, writing their proposals. My first day on the job was the first time I saw a website, I was so clueless. And every day since then has been thrilling. I cannot remember how boredom feels.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? A Buddhist teacher advised me to see myself as responsible for the creation of my world, that every thought and every action manifests my next reality, both immediate and far-flung. That positive, kind, loving thoughts bring great joy. I try to practice this, in my work too, as far as I am able. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of its truth.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Learn to love the feeling of “not knowing”. Train yourself on how to learn fast, because you will be faced, constantly, with new ideas, new technologies, new paradigms. If you tingle with excitement at the prospect of learning something new, and are prepared to work hard, you will have what it takes to thrive in this industry.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? In UX design, we get to make a positive difference in real people’s lives. We may just be helping them get an admin task done more easily, or we may be brightening an activity with fun and reward, or we may be changing their lives. But no matter how humble or grand, the sense of responsibility to do good with the resources that clients give my team and I, is what gets me up… but the complete picture would include some groaning, mad rushing from one snooze too many, and much caffeine.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? The hardest question, because I’m happy being me. So I’ll turn it to my dream of a future that continues the work I love, but has time for travels to the world’s mystery sites, and archaeological digs, and shamanic training, and teleportation, time-travel and a ride on a spacecraft through our solar system and beyond.
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