Speaker | Alley Rutzel | UX Director | Google
We’re delighted to announce a new addition to our speaker line up – UX Director, for G Suite, at Google, Alley Rutzel!
With her vision for people from across the globe to collaborate as efficiently and intimately as if they were in the same room, Alley makes a perfect addition to this year’s lineup. In advance of her talk, we caught up with Alley on the theme of People and Connections
Tell us a little about the role people and connections have played in your career
Nothing is ever accomplished alone, you always have someone supporting you or directly contributing to your success. I would never have discovered the opportunities that got me to where I am today without reaching out to connect and build strong relationships. I’ve worked hard to develop and maintain a network consisting of people from various domains and disciplines – you can’t be an expert in all things, so it’s empowering to have people you can reach out to and learn from their knowledge. Forming new relationships also opens the door to serendipity, as a chance encounter might lead to a great new opportunity.
How have others played a supporting role in your career?
I have a very supportive family, from my parents who encouraged my early interest in pursuing art and design to my husband who continually inspires me to get out of my comfort zone and take on new challenges. Professionally, I have been fortunate to have caring managers and mentors who helped me navigate my career by providing insight and guidance, and sponsors who saw my potential and used their influence to give me opportunities.
“Forming new relationships opens the door to serendipity – a chance encounter might lead to a great new opportunity”
What made you want to share your experience at Talk UX?
I think it’s important to support organisations that create the opportunity for these conversations to take place. Women are underrepresented in the tech community, and it’s imperative that we support each other by talking about our work and sharing our experiences to create stronger connections and build each other’s confidence. I also believe that creating more diversity in our workforce will help us build more inclusive and accessible experiences for our users.
How can women support each other to fulfil their potential?
Earlier this year I attended Google’s first-ever internal UX Women’s Leadership retreat. It was an amazing opportunity to connect and learn from one another, and I was reminded that vulnerability and sharing are an important part of growth and development. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness, but women are often hesitant to do so because we don’t want to be seen as incapable. The retreat helped us overcome our fears and created a dedicated space to share challenges and successes, and coming together as a group helped us realise that our problems weren’t just specific to us as individuals, but were often collective obstacles that we could work to solve together.
“Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness”
Who has inspired you in your career?
Having worked at Amazon and Google, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most creative, intelligent, and inspirational people in the industry. But the people who continue to inspire me the most are the ones who use our products every day. I especially enjoy ethnographic research, where you can immerse yourself in someone else’s world for a while and experience their challenges as if they are your own. It gives you a much deeper understanding of the design problem and often uncovers surprising insights that you never would have found in a lab or interview.