UXR Spotlight: Babz Jewell
This spotlight was part of USERWEEKLY - a weekly email to understand what is happening in user research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies, insights across the industry, and meet new researchers. Each week, the newsletter captures the pulse of our community and answers a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hiya, I’m Babz Jewell! Working as a Principal UX Researcher based in Atlanta, GA, I have studied and worked around the world across many disciplines. I’ve taught English in Germany, studied in Austria, and worked as a Lead UXR in Ireland. I’ve been in my current role since March of 2021 back in my homebase of Atlanta. Fun fact: I was so painfully awkward as a kid that I used to write myself discussion guides on a sticky note to carry around in my pocket when hanging out with friends at recess. Studying people since I was tiny has prepared me well for a role in UXR and service design! Outside of work you can find me at my CrossFit gym, playing banjo, paddleboarding or hiking in state parks, riding bikes, or hanging out with friends and binging the best movies while eating dumplings.
What was the highlight of your (work) week?
I love this question! I think that I can get caught up in larger picture discussions and lose sight of incremental progress. This week our Lead UX Designer and I enjoyed a victory of establishing a product-wide cadence for our new UX delivery model at our tech company disguised as a trucking company (Variant). She and I have spent the last few months designing and refining a new model for initiating UX projects and delivering value to our customers and stakeholders through design. With a tiny team of 3, it will be a major victory to be able to get ahead of all product initiatives using our double-diamond-based framework. I’m very proud of our incredibly lean UX team.
Have you ever had "imposter syndrome"? How did you deal with it?
I have imposter syndrome during most moments of my career, even ones where I’m enjoying success. Some strategies that I’ve implemented over the years to support myself have been the following: 1) Giving back to the community in tangible ways that allow me to flex my expertise in a service to peers and junior UXRs. An example is helping folks write resumes, cover letters, and helping professionals make their dream career transitions. 2) Hiring a personal career coach to meet with fortnightly. She helps me through the self doubt and hard times, gives advice and listens with compassion. Finally, I make sure that I have many well-attended interests outside of my career like the sports I enjoy with friends.
What would you like to talk about with other researchers and how can they find you?
I love learning from other researchers, seasoned and new to the field! Happy to talk craft. And am especially interested in hearing from folks who work in fields that collaborate with their customers to deliver life-changing experiences for working professionals, as I aim to do with truck drivers every day. You may reach out to me on LinkedIn or via my website: babzjewell.com.
Thank you, Babz!
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