The first half of 2011 was an exciting six months for me. In January, I gave my first presentation to a non-obligated audience. And then it was official. I had caught the presentation bug, and managed to line up a couple months of firsts.
The first weekend in April, I enjoyed the IA Summit 2011, my first national conference, and presented a poster on the same stories about Rwanda. The Summit was awesome—despite not having the there-are-people-like-me-in-the-world! reaction* that many “First Timers” experience at the Summit—I saw fantastic talks, met great folks both new and familiar, and appreciated the welcome to First Timers.
Next up, I had the opportunity to present at Midwest UX the second weekend in April and at the Big Redux DC the fourth weekend in April. Midwest UX, a first-time conference, was full of energy and a treat to attend; I cannot wait to hear what the folks behind it come up with next year. At the Big Redux DC, I dug seeing DC presenters (and one New Yorker)** perform encores of their talks originally given at Interaction, the IA Summit, Midwest UX, and more.
As I happily decided to retire my UX Stories from Rwanda (I promised Mr. Willis while we walked to the Big Redux happy hour), I was already a good way into my next big project: find a UX team where I could grow and contribute.
The job search was a surprisingly rewarding process—I got to meet and learn about a bunch of fantastic UXers and great teams working here in DC. As the first half of 2011 drew to a close, I was pleased as punch to find my new home in the DC user experience community: the wonderful team at EightShapes.
Firsts can be scary and energizing all at the same time. I am so thankful to have enjoyed a welcoming entrance to public speaking and to find a team that promises to make the second half of 2011 an exciting and rewarding one.
With such a great start, I am excited to see how 2011 wraps up. Thank you all for being a part of it!
* This is simply because I had already had it: In Thom Haller’s class last spring, and again once I started attending UX events in the DC area. DC UXers, you are fantastic.
** Lawrence Swiader gave my favorite talk at the BigRedux: “Re-branding Birth Control.” He had great charisma and content. Top-notch.