June 28, 2018

Employee Spotlight: Maggie O’Connor, Senior Digital Designer

Since becoming part of our in-house design team in 2015, Maggie O’Connor has been churning out inspired and thoughtful designs. With our clients — and their clients — needs at the heart of every design and user-experience, she is as much of an advocate for our clients as she is a part of Team Blackstone. But, how did she get started on this path and what other careers might she have decided on? Check it out!

Tell us how you first got involved in with design?
Trial. By. Fire. I graduated from college in 2009 with a degree in fine art and a few summers of interning as an art assistant at a stationery company. I knew I wanted to be a designer, but I had very little experience. I was showing up at job interviews for UX positions with a portfolio filled with, well, art. LUCKILY some very kind people on the new in-house UX team at Sears Holdings saw that I had the capacity to learn fast and get work done, and they hired me as a VERY green designer. I was thrown in with a talented team, learned new things every day, made some (okay, a lot of) mistakes, and got stronger as a designer.

Any favorite line from a movie?
“So, that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money? There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand it.” — Marge Gunderson, Fargo

What book did you read last?
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
Peanut butter.
Editor’s note: Without peanut butter, MO literally wouldn’t make it. She has it every day for lunch along with a Honeycrisp apple.

What is your greatest fear?
Clowns. Or people in big mascot costumes. Big ol’ bucket of NOPE.

Which one would you want most – flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities?
Can I afford any of them? If so, robot housekeeper, for sure. I LOVE having a super clean house but never have enough time to get it (or keep it) as clean as I’d like. It always feels like such a time suck. I am totally okay with robot overlords if they take over keeping my house clean.

What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
The internet. It’s changed pretty much everything about how I connect and engage with the world. From using the shared family computer in the basement to chat on AIM with all my middle school friends, to a HUGE research tool in college, to encompassing my career, social life, and shopping behavior as an adult, for better or for worse, the internet has completely intertwined itself in my life. It’s been fascinating to live through this transition.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would be a marine biologist. Not like studying big marine mammals, I’m really into tiny snails and looking at sediment samples under a microscope. I think some of the analytical qualities that make good designers also make good scientists.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?