JournalJourney

ACCEPTING A ROLE AS COO - A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

Part of the press release today reads:

MartianCraft announced today that Jaimee Newberry has been named Chief Operating Officer as part of a broader expansion of their executive management team. Newberry brings with her proven industry leadership and experience gained from advising C-level and senior management teams at startups, agencies, and Fortune 500 darlings. This role culminates a year-long appointment as management consultant and advisor to MartianCraft’s Board of Directors.
"Jaimee has been a key adviser to MartianCraft over the past year. Her impact on our daily operations was immediate and substantial," said Kyle Richter, MartianCraft's CEO. 
(read full press release)

I’m Stoked
As simply as I can say it: I’m excited! 

This role is truly a step forward for me. MartianCraft has their feet firmly planted in the mobile space, with clients of incredible caliber, and a team of impossibly high-quality talent. I’ve seen this team operate with openness and honesty, and I like what I see.

The role demonstrates to me, that I have pushed beyond some personal barriers that I’ve struggled with overcoming in my career path. I am absolutely excited to embark on this journey.

But… Aren’t You a Designer?
I struggled for years at communicating my value to companies, beyond “design”. I realized eventually, a lot of that had to do with getting out of my own way. But things were definitely simpler when I was “a designer” and my actual work involved solving problems that resulted in a digital user interface that I had some direct hand in crafting. In an attempt to remain humble and to shun the ‘inflated titles’ epidemic, I long held the simple title “Designer.” As much as I wanted to believe titles didn’t mean anything, I’ve learned that they absolutely do and sticking with "Designer" had grown into a miscommunication. I respect the skills designers have, and the potential they bring to every table they sit at. I designed a lot of great things using a designer’s core skill set: Problem solving.

I come from a design background. All the way from my drawing and metal sculpture defined art degree (1994-1998) through being an award-winning web designer and agency partner (1998-2009), into mobile application UX (2010-2013). I know design, I love and respect design and designers. I can teach design and, on the personal front, I still practice design. But I haven’t done hands-on visual design for clients since 2009, and I’ve not done hands-on UX work for digital product clients since 2013 when I burned out so badly, I passed the point-of-no-return. 

While I survived burnout, I never fully returned to hands-on design work. Not in the way the world typically expects someone called a “designer” to, anyway. Often the world still thinks of designers as the people who make things look nice. They don’t see us as business people, or problem solvers. Truth is, the good designers are more that than anything else. I’m proud to say my design skills will continue to be useful tools that support every aspect of my life personally and professionally, from organization design through life design.

I’ve always brought a lot of other strengths to the table, strengths that make more sense in the business side of things. Some folks I’ve worked with through the years have seen these things in me. Many saw these skills in me more clearly than I did. I struggled with self-confidence and I fumbled through communicating in diplomatic, yet direct ways. Awareness has kept me constantly chipping away at improving my shortcomings. Experimenting, learning, failing, succeeding, growing.

I have done a lot of work personally to allow myself to stand up and say, “I am good at this.” It’s been hard, I still worry about how cocky it all reads. I still mess up with the wording. Deep down, I KNOW what I am capable of. It’s scary to speak with confidence.

To folks that knew me as “a designer," this role may be a surprising shift from where you imagine I fit, or belong. Those who’ve worked with me in the past 3 years, and maybe even further back, you know this is a role that amplifies what I am truly passionate about, and leverages my strengths and capabilities with vast opportunity for learning and growth along with my contributions. Sometimes it’s hard to see a person any differently than the context from which you first meet them. We all grow, change is inevitable. 

Full Time, Baby!
The decision to join this amazing team in a full-time capacity did not come without careful consideration and nearly a year of having MartianCraft as a dear client.

For the past 3 years, I’ve made quite an effort to define my independence and shift focus drastically away from hands-on product creation into coaching and advising Fortune 500 executives, world-renowned product teams, and individuals. It’s worked out very well. So well, the idea of taking a full-time job anywhere, ever again seemed almost like a joke. It would have to be an insane offer to make me give up what I’d built.

I’ve cherished my independence and have taken great care to live and breathe freedom and play. I’ve experimented constantly and exercised ownership of my time. I’ve chosen to work only with clients with whom I could align both strategically and philosophically. I’ve sought out clients who could understand the ecology and value I can bring to a team, if not pre-defined by a narrow, misunderstood label indicating I was there to make things look nice.

Tons of Gratitude
What sealed the deal for me was not only the ability to continue working remotely from my home and the understanding that I am an independent mother with two young girls. It was not only the amazing, talented and kind individuals that work here or the offer to accept a role that feels like, “Finally, at last, it fits!”

What sealed the deal for me was that working with MartianCraft never once made me feel my gender. From our first conversation about the potential to work together, to agreeing to come aboard full time in the capacity of COO, I’ve simply felt like an empowered human being. I’ve felt listened to and clearly understood, rather than dismissed. I’ve felt elevated, rather than shelved. I’ve felt supported and encouraged, rather than held back. 

Rob Rhyne, Kyle Richter, Jeff LaMarche and the whole team at MartianCraft. Thank you for seeing me.

Rob, I’m sad to see you go. The past months of working side-by-side with you have been refreshing, exciting, hilarious, and straight up delightful. I know you’ll rock it over at the fruit company. I hope you carry an enormous sense of pride in knowing you built something strong enough to continue breathing, building, growing while you reach new heights of your own. You’re like the Johnny Appleseed of MartianCraft. You planted some good seeds, I hope we do you proud and keep those seeds watered, fertilized and growing.

It is a great honor for me to join this team, in this role. I look forward to our future together.

\o/

Realizations of the Day: Jan 09, 2016

Today was awesome. I made progress. I also did all sorts of action-packed mom stuff. I feel super energized!

Today was way more than normal running about with kid activities and such, I don't normally design my schedule to keep me running all over the place, but it happens that way from time to time. It all worked out. I feel like a big leap forward happened today and I think it was just the burst of adrenaline I needed. 

Realizations of the Day:

When You Feel Like You've Got Nothing Left, Keep Going
I know this already. I do that entire talk about coming back from burnout. But I'll be damned if sometimes feeling like you've got nothing left happens anyway. And sometimes it isn't from burnout at all. Sometimes it's just because you lose focus. Sometimes we need to be reminded of things we already know. It's OK to allow yourself time to simply exist and regroup. It's OK to feel the gravity of the downs for a bit. Don't get stuck there.
Today was like a firm but friendly elbow-jab to the ribs. Time to keep going. Not stopping. Going!

Listen to Your Body, Listen to Your Heart
My big fat head thinks it knows a lot. It doesn't. When I stop overthinking, I can hear. I can feel. And I know what I'm supposed to be doing.

I Think "Realizations of the Day" May Be The Way To Finish January

Excited to see what tomorrow brings. <3  

Realizations of the Day: Jan 08, 2016

Today was good. I made some progress. I think yesterday was a lot of beating myself up, but knowing deep down all I really have to do is make the decision to DO. That’s it.

Excuses are almost funny, except when they prevail. Not so funny when I let the excuse win. 

Realizations of the day:

THE TIME I CHOOSE TO DO MY “ME” WORK:
I’ve been saving my daily journal post until the end of the day, usually right before bed, but I really don’t enjoy writing this late. I think this is a noteworthy realization. My brain feels tired, more like I’m squeezing it to make words instead of how it feels when I write in the morning.

In the morning, it’s just a different flow. I’m waking up, it’s like my brain is unfolding more and more as I type. This is something I need to listen to.

I REALLY LOVE MY WORK:
I’ve been working from home since 2011. And independently since 2013. I love my work. I have a really hard time explaining what I do when asked. I do a lot of different things, but I don’t design mobile apps or websites anymore. I help teams that do those things. And I write, I podcast, I experiment and sometimes those experiments become paid work. I coach companies and individuals. I help clients with stuff they need help with. I have a design background and everything I’ve ever done informs what I do. I suck at describing what I do, because I feel like the expectation is that there’s a simple word or two for it. There’s not. If I had to simplify it, I’d say, “I help people.” More and more, I’m coming to grips with not being able to describe what I do. I just keep doing things and occasionally the examples of things I love doing make sense to someone who wants to pay me to do those things with/for them. Somehow it’s working out really well. I feel like I should keep rolling with it until the wheels fall off. 

That’s it for today. I may shift my journaling schedule a bit for the duration of January, lumping everything into my favorite morning hours instead of staying up past my bedtime to do it. We’ll see! Thanks for reading, and extra thanks for those who’ve sent notes/comments/tips/encouragement. I appreciate every single word!

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This is day 08 of my #tinychallenges daily journal.

Have you listened to #tinychallenges — the show yet?
Season 1 — Episode 1 is only 16 minutes long, give it a listen on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tinychallenges/id1071581340
or check out our website at tinychallenges.com

Learning How to be Proud of Progress

Life changes are not an instant 180-degree moment of decision and POOF! Amazing life! For me, life changes have been about waking up over and over again and deciding that TODAY, I will take that step toward what I want. Sometimes it is only one, single step. Other times I get a step and a skip. Maybe two or three steps when things are going super awesome. Sometimes I slip on a banana peel and just lay there for a minute. So to speak.

I’m in my 14th consecutive month of one-month challenges. Attempting a new challenge every month means believing in myself harder than I've ever believed in myself before, which continues to be my biggest struggle. I beat myself up about that a lot. I’m also learning how to be proud of my progress.

#tinychallenges was born out of the effort to make progress every single day. Today’s progress was tiny, indeed, but it was progress. I can be proud of that.

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Have you listened to #tinychallenges — the show yet?
Season 1 — Episode 1 is only 16 minutes long, give it a listen on iTunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tinychallenges/id1071581340
or check out our website at tinychallenges.com

This is day 05 of my #tinychallenges daily journal.