MANAGER OF R&D
Design, user advocacy, software development
In my role, I have two main goals. The first is to make our software easier to use, so people spend less time learning how to use it, and more time using it to accomplish their goals. Second, as a manager, it is to help the people on my team become more productive and have rewarding careers at Ansys.
I began my career at Ansys in 2011 in a role where half my time was spent on software development and the other half on performing design work. After several years, I became a full-time member of the user experience (UX) team at Ansys. We engaged with many teams across multiple business units on a variety of design activities. We focused on evangelizing the benefits of incorporating user experience design within a software company. In more recent years, our focus has been to design the experience of the Discovery product (which had its first public release in July 2020).
When I was interviewing at Ansys, I just had a basic knowledge of engineering simulation software and the role it plays helping many companies and organizations bring ideas to life. What interested me in the job was (1) the requirement to work both as a user experience designer and a software developer, and (2) the ability to help establish a new foundation of good user experience across our different products.
Put yourself in uncomfortable situations, even if it may go against your immediate instinct. Through that discomfort, you will gain opportunities to expand and grow your hard skills (e.g., UI design, visual design, software development, software testing, etc.) and soft skills (e.g., written communication, public speaking, conflict resolution, etc.).
Also, never hesitate to ask questions. We work in an industry where it isn’t easy to grasp all the details and nuances because of the complexity. There is no shame in asking questions and getting more clarification. Asking questions, particularly those which probe for more details, shows your interest and that you are listening.
A diverse group of employees brings a diversity of perspectives and approaches, which helps to solve business challenges and problems, and can help make our products more attractive to a wider group of customers.
One of the clear ways that you achieve this is through university recruiting – this is a crucial mechanism that companies should use to diversify their workforce. My team and I understand how important internships were for our career development, so we aim to create a meaningful internship experience that focuses on applying the User Centered Design process at a software development company and developing soft skills necessary for a UX professional.
I have been involved in several community outreach programs while working at Ansys. Most recently, I became the co-lead of the Black Employee Network employee resource group (ERG) and have been involved with the Women in Technology ERG at Ansys.
While in Pittsburgh, I was very active in the Pittsburgh Alumni chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). A heavy focus of my involvement was introducing engineering to young students.
I love to travel. My wife is of Ugandan descent, so she has a lot of family throughout the world, in countries including Switzerland, Germany, England and Uganda. We try to do bi-annual family reunions, and have had previous reunions in Lisbon, Portugal and Marrakech, Morocco.