Stephanie Guzmán is Grassroots Unwired’s Designer/UX/Project Manager. Read more to learn about her first few months on the team and her insights on user experience, young graduate life adjustment, and Amish Market pretzel logs.
My technical title is Designer/UX/Project manager and what really ties it together is the user experience (UX) part. What is really interesting about being in my role is that I have to lend some new perspectives on how to make interaction on our app better and follow up on the implementation of that. When I studied Product Design, it was about how do you make a product well, and how do you manufacture it, not so much on the project management side of things. This is a more end-to-end type of situation.
We are slowly trying to think about taking more responsibility for data analysis and data sorting and lots of things that CRMs typically do. We’ve been a really really good resource for people collecting data in the field, and now we’re realizing that there’s a lot of need around what can you do with it, how can you present it to people, what can we do beyond downloading a bunch of Excel spreadsheets.
That has to include the story of why I joined Venture for America. My mom used to work in Santiago, Chile at the US Embassy and she did a lot of things around women entrepreneurship. There was a screening of Generation Startup at a coworking space in Santiago and I watched it and was like, “wow this is so cool.” Generation Startup is a movie that is broadly focused on entrepreneurship but mainly about VFA and the sort of things they [VFA fellows] were doing really intrigued me. I’m a very social impact driven person, and when I applied to VFA I made sure to really let them know that I was looking for those sorts of opportunities. I wanted to do my work with a purpose and I also really loved small teams. I found Grassroots Unwired on Match [portal for VFA fellows to apply to opportunities] and I was like, “this is perfect!”
There’s been a lot of interesting situations that I’ve been in with a first real-world work experience outside of school. The biggest shift of that is that the scope of everything is so much longer, not necessarily because you’re working any slower but instead of three weeks to churn out a mostly functional prototype, we have months, years, to work on things. I have a lot of ideas all the time and I write them down in a Google doc that’s almost three pages long and it’s a good check for me going back and seeing “Oh, I’ve actually learned how to do this now!” and the growth there is building knowledge and becoming much more of a product expert.
Father Joe’s was a success and I really felt like that was a team effort. One piece I was really proud of was all the design work and wireframing for what the three different TeamRaiser app workflows would look like with the new payment portal and merchandise sales, so I was really happy to produce it and it worked well for at least one event.
So many things. I tell people I don’t drink coffee and instead I listen to rap in the mornings. This week I’ve been listening to a lot of [NPR’s] Tiny Desk Concerts. My absolute favorite because of how he interacts with the audience and how he explains his songs is D.R.A.M.’s.
Russ [CEO] has said he wants Grassroots Unwired to be a home, essentially saying all your needs are taken care of while you’re here, and that says a lot. The people are always a joy to work with. Just looking at our staff and how diverse everyone is in terms of age, background, and experiences in life, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to work here – one of the things that has definitely helped me feel supported and validated in being here. How often can you find a startup that supports you and all of your identities, and for me, that’s very acutely being mixed, being a woman of color… how often can you bring your fullest professional self to work?
Especially when I’m not at work I try to to do not-computer-related things. What I’ve really liked about the Philly music scene are Sofar Concerts. They’re mystery concerts, you don’t quite know where you’re going, you don’t know who the artists are, you show up and it’s a beautiful live performance by 3 artists. It’s a fun way to get to know the city. Other than that, whenever I find an opportunity to craft, to talk to loved ones face-to-face or on the phone, I like having those moments outside of work and checking in on life.
It’s such a cute place to be. The walk down our little tree-lined path (between the office and the train station) is always an enjoyable time. I really like the small town outdoorsy vibe. Also, Amish Market pretzel logs.