Taking Margarida to coffee
What’s your role at Emergn, and how long have you been with the company?
I joined Emergn as a Lead Product Designer in December 2021 and in a short period of time got promoted to be a Practice Lead for Product Design, to promote professional belonging with responsibilities related to hiring the best talent, career development path, learning, and knowledge sharing. I also contribute to the development of offerings and the definition of our approach when shaping solutions with clients. My journey with Emergn has been very exciting and challenging so far, though with no big expectation gaps, as the whole recruitment process was truly transparent about both the company’s culture and the work itself.
When you were offered a job at Emergn, why did you say “yes”?
I came to Emergn because of the mindset and the culture, two very important components. During the interview, I was told Emergn has a very human-centered culture, which appeared to be very true. Also, when I was introduced to VFQ, our work-based learning system, I felt like it naturally aligns with how I think and do my work.
What would you say or recommend to someone preparing for an interview at Emergn?
Probably the best recommendation is to bring your whole self to the process. Don’t be afraid to show your perspective – at least I think it helped me to succeed. I believe employee and also customer experience broadens and becomes essentially richer, because of the different backgrounds of people who work together.
Outside of the work, what’s one thing people should know about you? An interesting hobby, a unique passion, etc.?
I do read a lot, I’m kind of a bookworm. I’m especially interested in biography, so right now I’m reading the one from Ruth Bader Ginsburg “My Own Words”, which celebrates her life and legacy by telling interesting stories about her resilience in face of adversity, her love of education, and her contribution to the fight against gender discrimination.
If I have to recommend a book, which serves professionals in any stage of their product design career, I’d recommend “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” by Susan M. Weinschenk. It is about understanding people – what makes them act the way they do and gives also very practical tips to design more intuitive and engaging apps, software, websites, and products that match the way people think and behave.
Another very good and eye-opening book is “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott. It is about caring personally about the people you work with, being kind and clear at the same time. I think a healthy dose of criticism and a working environment where teammates are challenging each other directly is a very essential component for growth and success.
Besides being a bookworm, I also do different kinds of yoga – from the traditional Hatha Yoga to Fly Yoga, a practice that combines traditional yoga poses, pilates, and dance with the use of a hammock. I have done it for almost 3 years and it provides me significant benefits for the body. It helps to decompress the spine and strengthens diverse muscles and joints, and for the mind, it promotes psychological well-being and improves focus.
If you were a piece of productivity software, which one would you be and why?
Well, that’s quite tricky. I would say probably Miro because I do believe that collaboration and bringing different perspectives to the conversations and giving feedback is crucial to do your work well.
What’s the most exciting challenge in the work you do as a Practice Lead of Product Design?
I’d say a Product Designer’s work itself is very challenging and therefore so exciting and rewarding. We get to work with the world’s most respected businesses, who trust us enough to talk about their business challenges and how product design can help them. And this is the reason why I love this profession so much, the whole process of it – when the client brings you a hairy problem to solve, we first try to understand if that’s the actual problem, as sometimes that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Then we break it down into smaller pieces to understand the root cause, and only after understanding that we are focusing on the right problem to solve, we work to deliver the right solution.
What’s the one way you live out The Emergn Way? What does it mean to you?
For me, The Emergn Way works as a guide. It was extremely helpful on my first days in Emergn, to understand not only the business itself, but also the ways of working, how we interact with each other, and the values of this organization.
The part which really caught my eye was about caring and investing in people. It also builds up to be humble while working together, respect each other’s opinions, and recognize that everyone brings value to the conversation and the work we do. It also says that we recognize people are doing their best when they are encouraged, supported, and trusted. Which actually is not only about how the company treats you, but also about mutual relationships. If I trust you, you will trust me, and the work will flow much better.
Emergn is a global company with employees all over the world! If someone were to visit Portugal, what’s the #1 thing you’d recommend they do or see?
Porto is a lovely city. We have amazing sightseeing spots, delicious food, and wine. But the number one thing I would recommend is just to stroll down one of our main streets, towards the river, enjoy a glass of wine, and appreciate the beautiful architecture and the vibe of the city.