Leyre is a User Experience Designer at Publicis Sapient.

We’ve been working onsite with Publicis Sapient over the last couple of months, to help them grow their design function and futureproof their hiring strategy.

Along the way, I’ve got to know the team pretty well, and I’ve been amazed by the intelligent, inspiring, and genuinely lovely folk that make up the organisation.

So I’ve invited a few of them to share their stories with you all as part of FFS (Futureheads Five Stories), our regular interview series where we speak to people who have interesting stories to tell.

And we couldn’t resist the acronym.

What’s the story of your career so far?

Well, It has been a bit of a journey for me to be here today, to be honest.

I studied Advertising and PR and I worked in marketing and advertising for more than five years, where I was involved with some really interesting brands such as Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky, Apple and McDonald’s. Although my partner and I were quite settled in Madrid, we had the itch to travel, and so we made a decision.

We quit our jobs, emptied our flat, donated most of our stuff and came to London with a small weekend suitcase. We came intending to spend two or three years and go back… Seven years later, we’ve got married, have a two-year-old son and have recently bought a property in London.

When I first arrived in London, I decided to spend some time working in a cute little shop in the Upper street to enable me to start my own business of teaching Spanish while cooking Spanish food.  But I realised I was looking for something more.

After a lot of research, I joined the UX immersive course with General Assembly. After collaborating with a fair trade fashion start-up, I landed a role at Sapient Razorfish, and here I am, four years later. And all I can say is that I am super happy being an Experience Designer, I learn something new almost every day and I get to be creative, both from a conceptual level and from a detail (craft) level.

How have you found balancing work and motherhood?

Coming back from maternity leave is hard, I am not going to sugarcoat it. Leaving your baby at the nursery, a baby who was like a limb to you for over ten months while you are trying to get back your confidence at work and prove that you are the same professional (not the same person) isn’t easy. Add in sleepless nights with a baby who’s picking up bugs from nursery and is ill almost every week for the first few months while onboarding into a new project with a brand new team isn’t the easiest thing I’ve done.

However, Sapient has been really supportive. My team have been understanding and flexible so I could work from home when I needed to, and I have been able to leave on time to pick up my son. This was so key for me, especially in the first few months, so I could manage everything healthily without stressing myself out.

Before having my son I wasn’t aware of just how much effort is required to be a working mum or dad, balancing sleepless nights while still doing the same work as people who have had a good nights sleep and some downtime each day.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love coming up with solutions that improve people’s experiences as I love learning about human behaviour every day.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?

It doesn’t matter how hard you work if you don’t believe in yourself and you are not able to successfully explain the work that you do and the logic behind it to others.

What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge in our industry over the next twelve months?

I’ve noticed this for quite some time now. Uxers are asked to create the “best in class” /“best practice”/ “make my site look like Apple” too often. This ends with all the websites looking pretty much the same without conveying the essence of each brand/organisation at all.

I think that the personality and essence of each brand should define their online and offline experience. Of course, users are our first priority, but we also need to make sure we transmit the right experience – and that experience shouldn’t be the same for everyone. So, in short, I believe that defining and creating consistent and differentiating brand experiences needs to be something we think about as an industry.

If you’re interested in finding out more about working with Publicis Sapient – perhaps you fancy being interviewed yourself – say hello at andrew@wearefutureheads.co.uk.

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