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entrepreneur series

The Entrepreneur Series: Anne Vieyra, Senior UX Researcher

Anne Vieyra grew up in the Texas-Mexico border town of Laredo, Texas and as a child, wanted to be either Indiana Jones or a rock star when she grew up. Although she was encouraged to pursue a law degree by her high school debate coach due to her indefatigable talent for arguing, she instead earned her Bachelor of Arts in History at Texas State University. 

Anne got her first job out of college as a sales director for a logistics company, where she managed the south Texas territory for a shipping and trucking company. Shortly thereafter, she was recruited by a financial advising firm in San Antonio, and earned her Series 7 license in 1999, shortly before Y2K and the crash of the dot-com bubble. 

Although she managed to find relative success in her investment representative career after relocating to Houston, Anne was dissatisfied and restless with her brokerage job. She longed to find a meaningful way to share her passion for history and culture, so she moved back home to Laredo once again to get her teaching certification. She began working as a social studies teacher at a local high school, where she taught geography, world history, American history, and US government. She really loved teaching and was incredibly passionate about the work.

Anne taught some kids about the internet on Bring Your Child to Work Day this year.

In 2008, Anne went through a personal tragedy that really made her reassess her life. She realized she no longer wanted to wait to do the things she had always wanted to do; she may never have time to do them.

She went back to school at the University of Texas to get a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with the goal of realizing her life-long dream of becoming an archaeologist. While there, she worked as the community outreach and education program coordinator at her university’s archaeology lab and docent at the local art museum. With the encouragement and support of her professors and mentor, she applied to graduate programs, including a far-flung stab at her dream school. As luck would have it, she ended up getting into her dream program: the Museum Anthropology Master’s program at Columbia University in the City of New York.

Anne in New York.

She packed her life up and headed to the Big Apple. Living in New York while participating in a highly accredited program proved to be terrifying and difficult, but incredibly rewarding. It was probably the hardest time in Anne’s life. But she worked hard to accomplish her dream.

While in grad school, she had several incredible internships, including the Education Intern at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, where she was tasked with cataloging all of the labels for artifacts to be displayed at the opening of the Museum in 2014; Curatorial Intern for the Curator of the Arts of the Americas, surveying a collection of pre-Columbian Costa Rican stone artifacts; and finally, as Museum Associate at the Museum of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, conducting the tours of the gold vault, the largest repository of gold in the world (currently valued at $300 billion). 

Following graduation, she knew she couldn’t stay in New York any longer (it’s expensive!) and wanted a new adventure outside of Texas. Having some family in the Chicago area, she decided to try her luck there. She moved to the Windy City with promising employment from a well-known Chicago museum. Once she got here, she learned that unfortunately, she did not get the position. But, she was already here and she needed work.

Anne with a client at a coding class for girls. She now combines her two passions in teaching young students and girls how to code.

She noticed the technology sector was very large in Chicago, and most jobs required at least some technical background. Having no formal background in technology or business, she started looking at different coding schools around town and went to speak with a counselor at General Assembly. They determined UX Design might be a good fit for her. Anne knew nothing about UX but quickly learned it was very similar to the research and social science discipline she had been doing for many years. The phraseology and the context might be different, but she felt confident that she could learn what she needed.

Following the program, she did contract work as a UX Researcher. She enjoyed the “mini careers” she got to experience. At each job she held, she was able to learn new skills and competencies because each project was so different. After a few years of contracting, she realized how much she missed having a team and getting to know people on a personal level. Going into these positions as a contractor, people did not take the time to get to know her.

When she began looking for a full-time position, she knew she wanted two things: 1.) she wanted somewhere she could be grounded, grow her career and move upwards, and 2.) she wanted to build relationships with people at her company, feel comfortable with her teammates and really feel like she was home.

Anne with her work ‘family’ at a team outing.

After interviewing with Saggezza, she knew it would be the perfect fit. In the year she’s been here, she has grown personally and professionally, and is super close to her teammates. She can count on everyone on her team and trusts them completely. She feels a sense of belonging here like she’s home. That’s what she would say is the best part about her job and recommends others to find that sense of belonging so they can be truly happy coming to work every day. She recently got promoted to senior UX researcher and is currently pursuing a part-time career as a rock star.

Her career advice to young people just starting out is: “A job is just a job; you can always get another one. All the money in the world can never buy you one single extra second of time. So don’t waste it on things you don’t care about that make you miserable. Find a place you like where you care about the people you’re with and where they care about you.”

Have questions for Anne? Want to know more about this series? Contact us here.

Saggezza is a proven technology and consulting partner that delivers personalized, high-value solutions to accelerate business growth.

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