jenminarik_headshot2014I’m a Chicago-area researcher, UX designer, and writer. As a user advocate with deep roots in marketing and sales, I believe that great experiences are integral to strong brands and business results. Because I love to collaborate and learn from others, I also co-founded the Chicago North Shore UX Meetup.

Earlier in my career, I worked in higher education marketing and admissions. When the iPad came out, I hit the road for a multibillion-dollar college retailer to help leaders across the US figure out their digital textbook strategies. In that role, I saw firsthand how challenging it can be when hardware and software products do not adequately meet user needs.

In between flights, I completed a Master of Science in Communication at Northwestern University. My coursework included design thinking, visual communication, and innovation. Since then, I have put these new skills to use as Research Manager and Strategist at a boutique brand marketing firm in Chicago, followed by redesigning a global internal communications website at a technology company.

When I’m not designing or researching, my other passions include running, storytelling and performing. I’m an award-winning fiction writer working on my first full-length novel, and have studied both stand-up and improv comedy.

Also: I once helped an astronaut check his email.