Conversation with Leecy Li: NYC Google UX Designer
Leecy is the Google UX Designer based in NYC. She is a UX Designer with a true mission and a girl shinning inside out! It was an in-depth yet interesting conversation thanks to her amazing sharing!
In Part one: Leecy shared her professional life journey of becoming a Google UX designer in NY; her self-growth journey up to this point of her life; her transformation journey of confidence-building (practical tips of how to be more confident included).
In Part two: Leecy shared her experience of hosting ' Talks at Google' . We further touched topics on ' Sense of identity' 'belonging as a migrant', ' language learning' ' Being a critical thinker' . We also addressed topics such as ' Decluttering & Minimalism' versus ' Consumerism'.
Show Notes ( Part One)
Leecy finds her true meaning and value as a UX designer, which combines her passion for technology and design to produce a product /service that improves quality of people's lives. She followed her inner voice, making a significant jump from quitting her job in Motorola in Beijing to study at Parsons, eventually landing her feet in Google as a UX designer in NY. Carrying the nature of empathy and sympathy, she has already possessed one key trait of preparing herself to thrive in her industry. Being empathetic conditions her to put users' needs into her centre of design thinking in the creative process. She considers herself a designer, which is a bit more practical role (focusing on others' needs) versus an artist who is more self-expression in their artwork. But in either way, both designer and artist serve the same purpose of connecting people. She further pointed out being collaborative /telling a good story also plays a crucial role in unlocking potential of doing this job. Her faith deeply touches me that the next generation will be born with higher emotional intelligence and more empathy. It's lucky to have a designer like Leecy, who is on a mission with a vision to bridging Tech and Design to build a better-connected world.
She also shared her current life chapter at entering her 30s. Looking back to her bitter-sweet life journey, she is growing into a wiser person with abundant self-love and self-compassion who got life stories to tell. She is no longer aiming for external validation or anxious to be successful. She is now shining in her unique and authentic way. I was truly empowered when she said she is now comfortable with the fact that life comes with ups and downs /twists and turns. 'Bring it on' isn't just her brave statement towards greater hurdles or challenges on the way but also her enthusiasm and curiosity towards life possibilities. She shared 'at my age, I truly want to provide myself to be a free person by protecting my own time, my own money, and my own decisions'. She is taking full ownership of making her life decisions, nurturing herself to be a strong woman, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
We also dig into the topic “confidence”. Our upbringing from an Asian family tends to instil the mindset of ‘not enough' in us. Its impact extends into our adult life. We are driven by becoming better, so we often self-reflect on what we are not good at or not do well. Leecy shared some practical tips such as 'writing down what we have achieved or others' complements, which becomes accumulated moments of reminding us “how amazing we are” instead of being over self-critical. Also, we should give permission of 'not being perfect' to ourselves, which enables us to be more insightful to see other's highlights and strengths. We should also not play 'problem-terminator' role. It means we should not always blame ourselves when things go wrong ( sometimes, it’s not our problem).
Leecy further addressed that as a minority living in a foreign country, being assertive means being authentic yourself from appearance outside to your voice inside. I am also truly related to her about improving confidence underneath through keeping working and pushing. She shared that "just genuinely believe you can make it then you can". Regardless of results, the effort you put in always made you stronger! This powerful and conscious statement projects on my own motto: Sometimes, I may still carry fear and doubts, not confident, but I will not let it stand in my way of moving forward!
I want to end this episode with what Leecy said "the world is big enough to hold my dream, I never thought this could happen, but life always surprise us in the most impossible way. That's why it's so amazing! The best is yet to come!
Show Notes ( Part Two)
In Part two, Leecy shared her experience in hosting 'Talks at Google' with Yiying lu. She took the plunge, putting herself out there as a representative of our unique culture, with the mission to bridging gaps for deeper human connection. I strongly resonate with what she said: Hate comes from ignorance and fear of being unknown. When we are genuinely and openly sharing our stories with others, the possibility of building understanding and connection that transcends differences of culture, race, language, etc., appears on the surface.
We further addressed that being a global citizen enables us to hold our roots more deeply instead of ditching our identity. Acknowledging who we are/ where we are from protects our uniqueness and affords us a sense of belonging. Leecy and I have a similar background of growing up in China, proudly carrying our upbringing made who we are, also have the privilege in embracing diversity living in a foreign country. We are glad to introduce our culture into the world as well as opening to different cultures without judgment or comparison. We also consolidate our sense of identity by, as leecy said, upholding our opinions and being critical thinkers. Leecy also pointed out that learning a new language contributes to fostering critical thinking. Leecy and I advocate for language learning (She is learning French and I speak Japanese). We both agree that language serves as a communication tool, leading us to connect its cultural/value system associated with this language on a deeper level. Also, tracing back to the original language helps us not to lost in translation.
Leecy also shared her insights on decluttering and minimalism versus consumerism. She believes each object serves meaning and purpose. If left unused or unattended at the corner of our place, it flags to us that this object fails to serve its purposes or meaning on our hands (the object's functional use or brings our inner joy, etc). We may want to declutter them by giving away or donating. It leads to Leecy's next great point of making an intentional purchase. Leecy suggests that we should evaluate those parameters built into our purchase system, which should not be based on promotion or impulses but based on how often we use and how much we like. Decluttering comes with time and emotional cost, which could be mitigated by making each purchase as meaningful as possible. Another great tip is to buy more consumable products while buying less clothes. I am so on board with buying more consumable products. I will purchase or even hoard products I will commit to finishing up (skincare, candles, bath salts, etc.,). Leecy particularly addressed renting service as an alternative to owning the piece when it comes to fashion shopping. When we gradually establish our style in fashion, we may make more secure and precise purchases. But the downside is it limits us to specific styling. Renting services allows for room to experiment our potential looks, which is a nice way of discovering something new in ourselves!
We further expanded our topic to 'luxury products'. We both truly appreciate its aesthetic beauty and craftsmanship spirit, but we don't believe luxury feeling comes from luxury products nor fulfil ourselves through luxury brands. Our value system prevails over the consumerism traps. Leecy added that she came a long way to reach this point of purchasing by heart, not by price. The purchasing system / value system she is holding now is a result of years of hard-working and growing consciousness. I am so related to that as I've also reached the stage of making conscious purchase with my value system underpinned. I believe this is a part of being conscious about managing my finance, which is another essential level of taking control of our life.