Women in Voice Accelerator

This autumn, our conversation designer Kajsa Tretow participated in a Career Accelerator organized by Women in Voice. We asked Kajsa a few questions about the course and what she took away from it.

Tell us about the course! What did you learn? How was it organized?

We were originally 20 participants with different backgrounds from all around the world, although I would estimate that about two-thirds were Americans. Most were in the middle of some kind of career change, while others, like myself, mostly participated to network with like minded people and find inspiration. For 10 weeks, we met digitally every Tuesday evening to discuss various topics and go through the homework.

Each week had a specific theme, which could be anything from your personal career to more hands-on topics such as conversation design and developing backends for conversational user interfaces. One week, the task was to brainstorm a project with career development as its main purpose and I started sketching on a conversation first portfolio website. At the last Tuesday session, each participant had 3 minutes to present their project, and it was really inspiring to see how far many of the other participants had come.

Ouh, interesting! Especially with having such a variety of people included. But what did you think stood out the most?

When I applied, I thought the course would be more about the craft itself and less about career development, but it turned out that the latter was exactly what I needed! One of the exercises that stood out was when we got to use the fantastic women founded community tool OwnTrail to look at our personal journeys from a zoomed-out perspective, and realize that very few careers progress in a straight, predetermined direction, especially for women.

Another exercise that stood out was that we were asked to contact a minimum of 10 people for so-called informational interviews, something that for a shy introvert like me was to go miles out of my comfort zone! Another memorable session was the one about the relationship between designer and developer, where the guest speakers were Rebecca Evanhoe (author of the book “Conversations with Things”) and developer Kris Kagei.

So you could say, that it exceeded your expectations to say the least. Is there anything else you want to share?

Overall, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Career Accelerator and would like to pay a special tribute to the Women in Voice founder Joan Palmiter Bajorek who facilitated the course. With amazing enthusiasm and humility, she continuously managed to keep us motivated without pushing us too hard.