I wrote most of this back in April. I returned to it today and thought I’d finish it out.

This weekend I am buried in a seminar on how to be a more engaging public speaker. Most of us fear public speaking. We fear being embarrassed in front of crowds or not being seen as credible in what we are talking about. I too have those fears, which is why I am in the seminar.

Our homework tonight was to write our defining moment, a story about why we are talking about what we’re talking about, so here’s mine:

Having started my career as a visual designer, I was quite happy just dealing with colors, objects, and fonts. As long as clients were happy, I was happy. Though throughout that time I found I really struggled with clients who didn’t appreciate my viewpoint on design. Like most designers I felt I was the expert in all things related to the “beautification” of a product.

Then the dot com crash hit and my life changed forever. After a year of underemployment and struggling to make ends meet I landed in the mortgage industry. I was working in a call center taking calls from people who needed their mortgage loan yesterday. I came to the quick realization that people didn’t understand finance nor did I to be frank. Calls such as “now I can afford a home with this interest only loan” & “I need to pay my contractor who started a month ago; why hasn’t this loan closed?” left me more then a little concerned. This would be an ongoing theme in my life as I began the journey towards financial literacy.

Then I landed in the insurance industry working on a change program to shift resources around the company, save money, and streamline the overall business. Here I suddenly had a new voice. I was hired to work on the internal web site redesign and any other admin related tasks. Having come out of the dot com bust with experience in web design I was a perfect fit for this small group. I knocked out the redesign, creating what I would (years later) come to understand were called wireframes and user flows not specs and process flows. They began to move me around to other similar projects and before I knew it I was a business analyst bringing design thinking to business objectives and suddenly it hit me. There was something to the designers way of thinking that was a different more encompassing approach to problem solving then the traditional MBA thinking. I began to explore what this meant and eventually found my way to Interaction Design but it was that project starting as an Administrative Assistant that led me where I am today.