Review – Chrissy, Product Designer

This is a review from Chrissy, a Product Designer at Ratehub.ca, Canada’s leading financial comparison platform. 

Provide examples that describe Ning’s best self.

Ning has many qualities that represent her best self. She is always positive, upbeat, and a down to earth person. She is clearly passionate about her work and it shines through in the execution of daily tasks, workshops, and presentations.

Her personality was infectious. You could never not get excited about what you were doing because she led in such a way that really inspired people to care.

I feel like a great example of Ning’s best self was when she was running and facilitating workshops. She came armed with knowledge about the users, the product and came prepared to inspire people to participate. Her preparedness and excitement really got other people on the team eager to share their ideas. She set out a clear goal of the workshop so we were all aligned in what we wanted to achieve that day. Her passion was evident in those workshops and her positivity allowed everyone to feel like a valued member that should to be there. Because of Ning, everyone knew that their perspective was important.

Describe Ning’s characteristics and behaviours when Ning was at her best.

Ning never failed to be excited about what she was working on, so much so that she worked long hours, often until 3 in the morning. She was determined to execute tasks flawlessly and her attention to detail was evident in the output and amount of work that went into all of her tasks.

I don’t think I ever heard her complain about anything. She remained positive and upbeat about every task she had. I remember certain mocks had to be pixel perfect and she ensured that they were. She didn’t complain about doing it, she just did it even though it took more time. She wanted her work to reflect the effort she put forth.

What strengths and advantages did Ning offer in the examples you mentioned?

Her boundless positivity made me want to be that way as well. I sometimes have a tendency to get frustrated but since Ning did not allow herself to show anything but her positive can-do attitude, it made me want to embody those same qualities.

What about Ning inspired you or others?

Ning’s constant drive for self-improvement and knowledge was inspiring. She was always reading a new book or article, listening to the latest UX podcast, or watching a relevant webinar. She inspired me and others to have that same drive to learn as much as I can to become a better designer and thought leader.

She was a leader who leads by example. Her team was never left to question her directions or motivations because they were always evident. She worked harder than anyone else I know, and it was clear that design was a big part of her life.

How did Ning bring out the best from other individuals and institutions?

I feel that Ning brought out the best from individuals by being approachable, encouraging and open-minded. She values everyone’s opinions and points of view and always supported everyone getting a chance to share their knowledge. By creating a non-judgemental environment in which to work, people felt comfortable sharing their ideas.

She brought out the best of the institution by introducing new practices to the design and product teams. She always encouraged sharing information and discovering new ways to learn and build together. She wanted everyone to try new things use our shared knowledge to arrive at solutions that mattered. The Product/Design meeting she set up to better the experience on the website stands out to me. We had a setlist of ideas of which we wanted to tackle first and encouraged people to all weigh in on what we think mattered the most.

What’s Ning’s leadership style in one word? Provide examples that describe Ning’s leadership style and approach.

I would say the one word that best describes Ning’s leadership style is thoughtful. Above all else, she was thoughtful in her approach to mentorship and leadership.

At every 1:1 check-in, there was a set of questions she would ask: What have you learned in the last 2 weeks? What can you improve on next time? This encouraged thoughtful reflection on my part about how my last two weeks have been, and it also encouraged an open dialogue for discussion. Sometimes it’s not easy to address an issue out of the blue, but Ning always provided an avenue for me to address what is going on in my day today.

She would also ask me how I was doing personally which showed she genuinely cared about me as a person. This allowed me to talk about things outside of work that might be bothering me or affecting my daily tasks or attitudes.

She was also incredibly thoughtful to the users. She knew how to ask the right questions because she always had their needs in mind. This taught me how to do the same — approach the problem thoughtfully to get the best responses and qualitative data.

How did Ning shape and influence you? What was the impact Ning has on you?
Ning has shaped and influenced my career and my life outside of work in many ways. Her constant support and encouragement have given me strength and confidence to be a better designer and a better storyteller.

Before Ning’s mentorship, I felt like I lacked skills to be a proper product designer. I didn’t know which areas I should focus on, so instead, I tended to stick with what I knew. She provided me the coaching and resources to know where I should grow.

She shared her passion with me which encouraged me to want to be a better leader. She encouraged me to mentor a designer at work which was a new avenue for me, but I knew I had a good place to start because I would take the leadership style Ning demonstrated with me every day and bring it to this new mentorship relationship.

She was also the type of boss to allow for questions but never gave you the answer. She would help you where needed and encouraged you to go out and try things on your own. This independence helped to build confidence which is something I have always struggled with.

She was thoughtful, caring, incredibly smart and well versed in UX and design, she was confident, an advocate for her team and the users and a really fantastic leader. I felt like she was supportive and I knew she always had our best interests at heart.

What did you remember about Ning? Describe the situation, experience, and outcomes.
I remember getting along very well with Ning. She felt like a friend and a confidant as well as this wonderful leader from whom I always learned from.

I remember during our first meeting, she asked me to fill out the “UX core competencies web” to assess where I was currently in the field, and areas that I needed to work on. She was interested in helping me chart a specific growth plan in order for me to excel in more areas. Rounding out that web of competencies became a clear driving factor for me and that guidance is invaluable.

Chrissy Spilchuk
Product Designer, Ratehub.ca