The path forward

If you’re reading this, you’ve made it to the final installment of the Crushing Constraints series. We explored a bit of the psychology that affects us as individuals, creating constraints for our potential in part I. Part II centered around the external elements that perpetuate the difficulties experienced by marginalized, underrepresented groups. With the weight of both internal and external barriers to our success and happiness, we must first begin with empathy and grace.

The external forces working against us

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In part I of Crushing Constraints as a Marginalized Group, I spoke to the internal factors preventing many of us from reaching our potential: 1) our relationship with ourselves and 2) our ability to make adaptive changes. You can read part I here.

Navigating the professional ecosystem can be tricky for the underrepresented. Let’s explore some of the external elements that compound what goes on internally. Everything from marginalization, inequity, racial biases, and the like.

The uphill battle against ourselves and the world

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Constraints are not unfamiliar to anyone working in the product space. Designers may be limited by time and budget to conduct research and design exploration. Product managers are all too familiar with the limitations set by the business goals and developers can be bound by a tech stack used by the company or client. Constraints can be annoying at the outset of a project, but at times you’ll find these limitations pushing you to innovate, testing the bounds of your thinking and behavior.

Being a designer of color is sometimes like being…

Navigating my career as a woman of color

For most of my career, I can recall looking around the conference table and seeing no one that looks like me. Jovial coworkers chat about shows like ‘This is Us’ or old ‘Friends’ episodes left me excluded. And then there’s music. I don’t know any Taylor Swift song. Not one. I listen to Drake, Big Sean, HER, Jene Aiko, Earth, Wind, and Fire. There’s little common ground.

*Heavy sigh.*

Fortune asked black professionals to share their stories.

A peek inside Mia Blume’s 4-hour workshop

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If you haven’t guessed by now, I do a lot of professional development. Maybe too much…. look, that’s a future Medium article. For now, I’ll stick to the “script” and share a little about Design Dept.’s Resilient Leadership Workshop.

What/Who is Design Dept.?

I stumbled across this gem over the summer in my search for career coaching. I scoured the web, looking for a coach who specialized in design. Having to teach someone the ins and outs of product design is something I don’t feel like doing. Call me lazy. It’s fine.

Design Dept. offers leadership coaching…

What’s the difference & why you need both

I’m a huge advocate for mentorship. I created Break the Prototype, a free mentorship platform for BIPOC in tech. As a woman of color, I know all too well how hard it is to receive the same opportunities as our counterparts.

42% of women say that a lack of mentor/sponsor is the number one obstacle in their professional advancement, according to a survey conducted by Women of Influence. Taking it a step further, the systemic barriers for people of color (POC) compound the struggle. I’ll unpack this in a future post. …

Prototyping with numbers & the business value of design

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Back for more business basics? Good! To be honest, it surprised me how geeked I was learning about business models. 🤓 The crew at Designer Fund made the experience fun and engaging. The Business Essentials for Designers workshop didn’t disappoint.

In part I, I recapped all the gems from my first workshop session. For part two, I’ll cover Prototyping with Numbers and the Business Value of Design.

Session II: Prototyping with Numbers

Going into the second session of the workshop, I felt pretty clueless. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long! …

My experience attending Designer Fund’s Workshop

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I hate math. Wait, let me rephrase. I REALLY hate math. There’s nothing about it that I like. I was an English & Social Studies girl, still am. I knew my junior year of high school I’d be a designer. All else became irrelevant. I needed to know how to make things look amazing. So I thought.

Thanks to years of experience in varying industries, and my mentors’ encouragement (thanks Steve!), I realized that learning the basics of business would be valuable. Dialexa is a consultancy and each person on the team is more…

Remote Onboarding, Meeting the Crew, & Imposter Syndrome

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90 days sounds like a lot and a little at the same time, doesn’t it? Things have been moving nonstop since I joined Dialexa, a Dallas-based tech consultancy. It seems like I went from daydreaming to landing my product design role overnight. I gotta say, I love every minute of it. Have there been bumps in the road? A few. Has imposter syndrome been on my back? Hell yeah, every day. But every day I spend working on something I enjoy with the coolest people I’ve ever met. It confirms I’m in the right place.


Ask Questions

Having never onboarded at a…

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At this point it’s safe to say 2020 has been a trip, right? A whole WTF, cancel it yesterday, put it in the trash, fast forward to 2021 type of year. I expected it to be, not because of a worldwide pandemic, but because my status quo wasn’t cutting it. I wanted more for my career and my personal growth that would be change everything. Being uncomfortable results in growth. It became my theme for the year. That meant doing shit I would avoid. My “hell no” had to become “let’s get it.”

We cannot become what we want by…

Shara Rosenbalm

Digital product designer at Dialexa, advocate for BIPOC, speaker, and hustler.

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