Black History Month is celebrated from the 1st of February to the 1st of March. According to History.com, “The Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history”. To honor this month, ADPList is proudly featuring 3 of our global mentors: Tere Sagay, a Product Designer at Kuda Bank based in Nigeria 🇳🇬, Susan Ikegwu, the Acquisition Marketing Manager at QuickCheck also based in Nigeria 🇳🇬, and Aarianna Barnes, a UX Designer at Edward Jones based in the USA 🇺🇸.
They will share their stories, challenges, and advice to succeed in your career. Let’s read their stories and get motivated 🔥!
“I have an educational background in architectural design, and this foundation has largely influenced my socio-empathetic approach to design in digital spaces. I had the opportunity to begin my product design career with an internship at one of the fastest-growing digital banks in Africa: Kuda Bank. During that time, I developed a foundational understanding of product thinking for financial digital products. Now, I’m currently providing simple and efficient solutions to complex banking and finance experiences, and designing features to optimize growth at a global scale.”
"An interesting challenge I’ve had in the course of my career has been taking design ownership of the internal tool at the company I am working for. Working in a start-up environment (where everything is fast-paced) definitely made this a sink-or-swim experience for me."
"I needed to work closely with the engineers to work around existing engineering limitations, understand the workflow of internal users, and collaborate with the product manager on the product requirement gathering. I had to learn a lot very quickly. But I came out stronger because I had the support and mentorship from my team lead and a support system within the tech community.”
“It’s difficult to experience exponential growth in your career if you are constantly only looking around at what others are doing. Put your head down and learn as though your life depends on it. Learn about design and every discipline it interfaces with. Learn how to present your work in relevant ways. Learn how to sustain professional relationships. Learn how businesses grow and how design contributes to that.”
“Then intermittently, between all of this learning, practice your craft. Try your hands at new software and design ideas. Balance your learning with practice.”
“A marketing professional. Spend day to day making sense of data, coming up with hypotheses, running experiments and managing the acquisition of African revenue in the Western market.”
"My biggest obstacle was myself telling myself that I wasn't good enough for the opportunity that I got or I wasn't good enough for the dream that I had and how I came over that was remembering all the things that I had done all the things that I had achieved and the amount of work that I did put in to achieve all of these things and then I realized that I was a superstar and I should admit that I'm a superstar."
The advice I would give to my mentees at a very early stage of their career is:
“Stay hungry for work, be hungry for more work, that's the only way you can actually reach your career."
“I'm Aarianna. I'm a designer. I work in the financial tech industry. I'm an advocate for mentorship and mental health and I believe that everyone can be their best selves when aligned with the right leaders, the right friends and of course the right mentors.”
“The biggest career obstacle was pivoting from graphic design into tech while also mentoring and being a caretaker all at once so it was a huge adjustment for me at first. I kept telling myself to keep pushing and to keep going and what I've found was that through my silent struggles I was able to empower others through their struggles and their challenges. I don't believe in coincidences. I believe the challenge of learning how to juggle life, my career, my family, my health, and my finances has taught me how to be a better woman, a better friend, a better mentor and of course a better designer.”
“The advice that I would pass along is don't look at anyone else's journey and wish that you were them. The truth is that you don't know what they've gone through to get to where they're currently at just like most people are not going to know every single step in your journey once you've gone through to get to where you're at. You owe it to yourself to acknowledge just how far you currently are. It’s also important to look at others' journeys and acknowledge how far they have come as well. It’s important to do these things independently of each other, without comparing yourself to anyone else in the process.”