Celebrating Women’s Day With Christina Connelly

Celebrating Women’s Day With Christina Connelly

Designwhine Interviews Christina Connelly

Here are some phrases that describe Christina Connelly – Scottish ginger lass living in England. Lego Addict. USA Explorer. Published Illustrator. Business owner and Experience Design advocate.

How are you planning to celebrate Women’s Day this year?

I love to teach and mentor people and have been doing this for the past few years. Especially new designers. When I was starting out in the design industry myself, I didn’t have anyone I could reach out to. So I made it my mission to be an approachable mentor in this field. This Women’s Day I have arranged some 1 on 1 virtual chats with amazing women designers around the globe. So I can support them on their journey into design. I can’t wait to meet them.

Would you say there is an under-representation of women in UI/UX design?

Recently I have seen the under-representation of women in the junior and mid-weight roles of the Design industry and it’s women now dominating the senior roles. I see more amazing and powerful women in leadership now more than ever, and it’s inspiring to watch. I still keep in touch with a lot of women I have managed in the past when they were trainees and juniors, who are now in senior leadership roles and it makes me very proud.

What are some personality traits of women that make them better (or worse) UX designers?

Women alone don’t bring good or bad personality traits to the design industry. But in-fact everyone as individuals do. People are so unique and interesting in their own ways. Each one of us brings our own personalities and quirks to the design thinking process.

Who are some design leaders (male or female) you look up to?

Liz Leakey – I worked with Liz during my time at the BBC. She was my first real mentor in the design industry. She taught me how to be a great design thinker, how to empathise with the audience and how to be a great manager. She gave me the confidence and knowledge I have today and I owe all my management skills to her.

Vimla Appadoo – I met Vim a few years ago when she invited me along to give a talk at her SheSaysMCR event. I remember watching Vim speak and being blown away by her enthusiasm, honesty and grace. We spoke after the event and hit it off. We worked together in a previous company and would end up staying after hours chatting about how we could right all the wrongs in this world.

Last year along with Gareth Burton, the 3 of us founded Honey Badger.

As a woman, what’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to face as a designer?

Salary! I have gone most of my career underpaid in my roles. I knew men were being paid more for the same role, which in turn made me value myself less. It took me a long time to snap out of that and stand my ground. I knew my worth, and I proudly stand by it now.

What, in your opinion, could we UI/UX designers do, as a relatively young and collaborative fraternity, to solve the problem of gender inequality?

Encourage people to remove the skin over the skeleton. We are all wireframes underneath! Sadly, people label the skin you wear. So its time to remove it.

This will allow us to build equality in our cultures, not only with gender, but with race, sexuality, background and all other inequalities in the world.

Your message to young women looking to make their careers in UI/UX?

Show your process and thinking in your portfolio, not just a polished outcome. Know your worth, and negotiate your salary. Its important you are as comfortable with the company as they with you – an interview is a two way process.
Be yourself. Bring your personality to your role. Advocate for your audience. Sometimes you will be the only one in the room doing so while other disciplines wont, so stand up for your audience and your users.

You are their voice!

This article was last updated on November 26, 2023; Originally published on March 3, 2021

Written by
DesignWhine Editorial Team
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