10 questions with.. IMAN DIARRA - user experience designer @ CISCO in London, UK
Hello #supergirls! We hope you are really starting to get used to our new blog series now - "10 questions with.." - talking to girls who are R.O.C.K.I.N.G. it!! We are SO excited about these stories that we feel the whole wide world needs to be notified! We are here to ask them about their careers, how they got where they are, how they spend their free time, we want to know it ALL!
THIS WEEK'S INTERVIEW IS WITH IMAN DIARRA, WHO IS A USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER AT CISCO, A TOP GLOBAL IT AND NETWORKING COMPANY. WE HOPE YOU ENJOY AND GET INSPIRED!
10 questions with..
Hello Iman! So happy to get to chat to you. Would love to know more about you and your background! Have you always been living in London? If not, since when and what are your favourite parts about this city?
Nope, I first moved to London to study. It’s gonna be 4 years now! I love how open-minded people are, and how they explore their individuality (especially sartorially!). Also, #thatnightlifethough.
Your job sounds really exciting! Please tell us more about what you do!
I’m a user experience designer at a tech company. I use research, information architecture and design techniques to make sure our apps/software/websites are super intuitive and efficient. The great thing about it is that you get the best of both an IT role and a more business-rooted role. It mixes creativity, psychology and tech into something fascinating, really.
That sounds super cool! How did you get to do this?
I went on a one year internship in the Silicon Valley after I graduated. At this point, all my internships had been in customer-facing roles in the luxury industry. After coming to the conclusion that I didn’t see myself building my career in that field - I got started in the techiest company I could imagine, having to figure out the skills I could use to add value there. I tried a few things - and when I got to UX design, I just felt I could really stay excited about it for the years coming.
What do you find the most exciting about your work?
Understanding how people think and behave when it comes to technology. I could learn about that all day.
What have been the biggest challenges you faced in career or life and what helped you overcome them?
In my career, I’d say accepting that because I’m not the stereotype of the girl working in IT doesn’t mean I can’t crush it. It’s a process, but sometimes I just have to drop the imposter syndrome and be my own definition of a girl in tech. Having people around me who know the real me, not just the scared me really helps reminding myself that I’m not that fear, and that I can do/be more.
In my life, I’d say building a nice life for myself. For a while, I’ve have very pessimistic tendencies and just gave the bad much more importance than the good. It got to the point where most of the time, I was feeling absolutely miserable. And then life put me in some of these situations where you have to “walk or die”, like my mom says. They continuously push me to choose what I want for myself. And from there, doing things I love with people I love and taking the time to build myself is what makes the difference.
What do you like to wear at work? Do you have any favourite pieces?
First things first - warm sweaters. I’m always freezing in the office, haha. And then cool sneakers or combat boots for comfort with a touch of sumthin sumthin.
What’s your off-duty style?
Very similar to my on-duty style. Maybe more ripped jeans? And cuter bags than the briefcase I stole from my little brother haha.
What is your favourite Changing Factor bag?
The yellow Alien clutch bag.
Now when it comes to having fun… [we all need that] what do you like to do in your free time??
I like travelling to places that take me of my comfort zone big time, because that’s one of the most freeing things I can think of. Dancing my heart out on a night out (or in my bedroom). Listening to webinars on entrepreneurship, branding or digital marketing. Learning new ways to style Afro hair. Reading books that help me live a smarter life (The New Psycho-Cybernetics from Maxwell Maltz = bae). Spending time chilling and laughing with people I <3. Netflixing for undisclosable amounts of time.
Share with us a favourite piece of advice, quote, or saying of any kind!
"Protect your peace. Get rid of toxicity. Cleanse your space. Cultivate love."
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