Mindset is excited to welcome Annabelle Schwab as the newest member of our UX team. Here, she is in conversation with Vince Sonson, Director of Enterprise User Experience Transformation at Mindset, to tell us more about herself.
welcome, Annabelle Schwab! Tell us about your career to date.
After graduating from Southern Utah University with a degree in Hotel, Resort, and Hospitality Management (with an emphasis in Meetings & Convention management and a minor in Marketing), I realized I didn’t really want to work in the hospitality industry. Therefore, I got a job as a customer experience specialist for a sign production company assisting a variety of customers ranging from small business owners to consumers. After about a year, I moved on to a credit repair services company working as a customer experience specialist. I was there for about 4 years and worked my way through many different departments. Further, I was the only support agent for one of the company’s brands for almost 2 years. As I gained experience there, I managed a growing support team and took on responsibilities with the product team prioritizing marketing initiatives to drive revenue.
Naturally, I am a curious person, which led me to interview internally at the credit repair company for a business analyst role. I was fortunate enough to get the job. As the organization changed from a waterfall to an agile development methodology, I was trained to be a product owner in SAFe 5. I worked with Product Managers within the organization to understand the priorities and requirements of a growing product and customer base. I then worked on the team level with developers, QA, and a scrum master to deliver a variety of credit-building products. Over my tenure there, I had the opportunity to work with a lot of different people which helped me gain industry knowledge, technical understanding, and so much more!
As I learned more about agile processes and product ownership, I started to look for new opportunities in the tech industry to see if there was something out there to help me refine and enhance my skills; then I found Mindset.
Tell us about your personal life
My family roots are in northwest Pennsylvania, but my dad was in the military for 20 years which means I never actually lived there (but visited a lot and spent many summers there). I was born in Japan and moved to Kansas, Virginia, and then Utah (where I currently live). My dad retired from the Air Force after we moved to Utah and I have been here ever since.
I played soccer competitively from a young age and then was recruited to play for Southern Utah University. After two years of D1 soccer, a season-ending injury made me reconsider what I wanted out of a college experience. I ended up quitting soccer and joining the university’s cycling club. I competed in various races from criterium races, to cyclocross races and even 24-hour mountain biking endurance races. Additionally, I worked for the university as an outdoor trip leader taking students on camping and mountain biking trips in the surrounding areas. My college experience really sparked my interest in the outdoors. I got into rock climbing during that time as well.
Since college, I’ve been going through different phases of outdoor activities. Last year I ran my first marathon (which was also a trail marathon) and placed 3rd female and 8th overall. However, this year I’ve just been focusing on mountain biking and climbing for fun. I have been enjoying my time not training for anything. Similarly, I am also a mountain biking mentor for a program called Little Bellas. For the program, I get to ride with young girls and empower them to be their best selves!
My other interests include reading (Circe by Madeline Miller is my favorite book), listening to music (Radiohead and Flume are currently my favorite artists), eating good food (I love Asian and Indian cuisine), playing board games (Nertz and Catan are my favorites), and hanging out with family and friends.
I have two brothers, a sister, and one niece. Additionally, I have some family that lives close by and I love spending time with them whenever I can. My boyfriend lives close by as well. Recently, we’ve been traveling and biking a lot together (and rereading and rewatching all of Harry Potter).
What attracted you to Mindset that made you want to join the team?
What attracted me to Mindset was its clear prioritizing of design thinking and UX transformation among its services. That and its history of working with a wide range of clients beyond Fintech appealed very much to me. I discovered that there was the opportunity to work within a relatively larger design team. Further, that the team could potentially help me grow in my design thinking expertise. Therefore, I was very eager to join Mindset.
I had a really positive interview experience and Vince Sonson (my now supervisor) was welcoming and patient with my many, many questions. I love that Mindset uses Design and Architecture Thinking and Agile principles along with SAP’s Human-Centered Approach to Innovation. Additionally, the content on Mindset’s website really impressed me. I browsed a lot of the case studies before making my decision to join the team. I was also excited to see that they work with a variety of clients in different industries. It seemed like a great learning opportunity.
What are you most looking forward to learning/developing to grow your career?
I’m most looking forward to learning and working in an agile environment and working with different tech stacks.
What is a quote that captures your spirit?
“Practice maximum enthusiasm.” -Brendan Leonard
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