As Flint Interactive’s vice president of user experience, Jen does something new every day. In fact, when I asked her what a typical day for her is, she looked at me and asked, “What’s ‘typical’?”
She was serious.
That being said, Jen spends most of her time working on new business, attending client meetings, creative concepting, developing information architecture documents, creating wireframes and user flows, researching, and simply learning.
Outside of work, she is most passionate about visiting new places and doing new things.
I really like her favorite quote: “You are the sum of your experiences.”
Jen actually reminds me of Where’s Waldo – I think you’d think so, too. That’s why I’m trying to convince her to start incorporating red and white stripes into her wardrobe. I mean, hey, she might as well look the part, right?
On a typical weekend, you’ll find Jen – if you can spot her – out exploring with her husband Bryan and two daughters, Ariana (2 ½) and Cora (5).
She told me, “If I were given six months to live or $10 million dollars, I’d travel the world.”
For now, while raising two kids, she simply enjoys exploring all that Minnesota, especially the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, has to offer.
“With the new perspectives that having young children give you, you see everything differently, which is exciting,” she said. Jen told me she lives by the quote from the book/movie Into the Wild, “Experiences are best when shared.”
I asked Jen about her favorite things to do in Minnesota. Here’s her list:
1. Trying new foods and restaurants, such as Origami Sushi, Broder’s Pasta Bar, Great Waters Brewing Co. and The Grand Ole Creamery.
2. Exploring new areas, like Minnehaha Falls or the children’s bookstore Wild Rumpus.
3. Going to new events, such as Cinco de Mayo – West Side – Saint Paul.
4. Boating on the St. Croix River.
Jen told me she feels fortunate to travel as much as she does. Aside from her adventures close to home, she’s been to Italy, Greece, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and most exciting of all, Canada.
Her short-term travel goal is to see all 50 states before she’s 50 (she wouldn’t tell me when that is). But Jen’s a planner – and a dreamer. Her long-term goal is to travel abroad extensively, including living in Italy for at least three months.
I looked up a few places on her current “travel to-do list”:
1. Italy’s Amalfi Coast
Oh, and she also wants to climb Machu Picchu in Peru – no biggie.
When I asked Jen what she loves about new experiences, she said, “I get energized by seeing new sites, trying new things, going to shows, and meeting new people and hearing their stories.”
That’s when it hit me – it’s no wonder our expert in user experience places so much value in new experiences.
“I feel the more I see and do, the broader my thinking is, both strategically and creatively,” she said.
If you feel like going out for a Minneapolis-St. Paul adventure of your own, try Jen’s favorite spots I mentioned above. And keep your eyes peeled for the wide-eyed woman in red and white stripes.
I mean, the guy’s been published in more than 50 countries and 25 languages. Who wouldn’t want to dress like him, right?
Get to know a Flintster: Q + A with Jen!
What’s your dream job?
I picked the lucky straw – I’m doing it!
Which job would you not want to have?
Jiffy-John cleaner. [blehck!]
What was your first job?
Front Gate Greeter at a State Park.
What did it teach you?
The power of good customer service … and how to navigate a wealth of customer emotions, from livid to delighted.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
From my parents: “Say thank you.”
What sound do you love?
My girls’ deep breaths as they’re sleeping, followed by their crazy giggle fests.
What scent do you love?
The inside of a coffee shop on a cold winter day.
What is something you’ve learned in the last week?
A bunch of pigs is called a drove.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The ability to fly – fast. I hate driving.
What is your favorite blog?