all culture

26.2 miles in the shoes of a designer and volunteer

Meet Slalom Minneapolis consultant Angie Norvitch

Why did you join Slalom?  

I joined Slalom because the nature of local consulting sounded so exciting to me. I knew it would give me the challenge I was looking for to grow professionally, and that the Slalom culture would fully support and encourage me in that. Having variety in the types of clients, industries, and work I would be doing was very appealing to me as a designer. Also, having offices located all across the nation (and internationally!) made me excited about the opportunity to get to interact with different cities and their cultures too. 
What are you passionate about? 

Traveling, marathons, learning, helping others, and trying to understand the “whys.” For example, I travel for personal enjoyment but also to learn and understand—especially when it comes to helping others. I see my role as a UX/UI designer as a platform to help others. My current passion project is studying accessible design and working toward getting my CPACC (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies) credential. I’m learning how I can directly impact the lives of others by ensuring that I’m creating products and experiences that are accessible and usable for anyone, regardless of ability or disability. 
What's an event that changed your perspective on life? 

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer about 7 years ago when she was only 27 years old. For 6.5 years, she bravely fought against it. It turned out to be metastatic breast cancer in her liver. In those 6.5 years, you never would have known she was sick. She courageously continued living her life like there was no terminal prognosis, but not ignorant or in denial of it either. In those 6.5 years she became a principal at an elementary school, traveled, ran marathons, became a bit of an entrepreneur on the side, invested in and supported others in their cancer journeys, became a mommy, and two weeks before cancer got the best of her, she submitted her thesis to defend for her doctorate degree, which we later received on her behalf two months after she died.  

There is obviously a lot I can glean from her. Watching my sister achieve all she achieved before her 34th birthday showed me there really are no excuses in life. She could have let cancer get the best of her and live in pity and misery for 6 years. Instead, she let her diagnosis motivate her and propel her to take on the next challenge. Watching my sister walk through this constantly reminds me of the brevity of life. The next hour, the next day, the next week, month, or year could look vastly different from the moment you’re currently in, for better or for worse. It made me place a high value on staying in the day you’re in in order to not get swallowed by worries of the future. 
Most importantly, it taught me the importance of keeping your head up so you can keep propelling yourself forward. 

Angie and her sister in New York City

Tell us about a unique place you’ve lived or traveled. What about the culture/experience stood out? 

I’ve had the privilege of traveling to and serving in Haiti 12 times in the past five years with an organization that believes in job creation as a means of strengthening families to combat the poverty and orphan crisis in Haiti. By the nature of the work we do, I’ve been exposed to some very jarring experiences. However, the joy and hope that the people of Haiti always emanate, even amidst difficult circumstances, always inspires me. 

It’s so easy to fall into “first world problem” complaints, and the people of Haiti continue to teach me so much about what truly matters in life. My experiences there have taught me more about global economy than a textbook ever could. It was what first introduced me to true human-centered/needs-based design and how making assumptions about needs can lead to negative, unintended economic impact and consequences. It’s opened my eyes to cultural differences. Just because we live a certain way in Minnesota, or the US in general, doesn’t mean it's the right way or that it would have the same application and outcome in another country. And vice-versa. The Haitians are some of the strongest, most resilient people, and we have so much to learn from them. 

What did you want to be when you grew up, and how has that shown up in your career? 

I started taking ballet classes when I was three and always dreamed of being a dancer (the ESFP, aka The Entertainer, in me does not shy away from being the center of attention or being drawn to the stage to perform). The odds of making it in that field are very slim—like any professional athletic career—but in the past couple of years I realized how much I missed taking ballet just for the joy of dance. I found a local studio where I could take drop-in classes and began retraining myself. I realized how much more I appreciated the process of learning, or relearning. That’s something that, as a kid, I didn’t have the same appreciation for. I think that applies to my career in that I need to remember to never stop learning and being diligent in focusing on the little things, as they will always pay off on the bigger things. 
What advice would you give your 22-year-old self? 

It may seem like others are more experienced than you, have it all together and know it all, but really, none of us are experts all the time. It’s okay to ask questions. Don’t expect to fully understand complex problems or situations immediately. Be willing to give yourself grace as you learn, and admit when you don’t know something! I think a lot of imposter syndrome could be avoided if we all allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable, open, and honest with ourselves and each other. 

Interested in working with people like Angie? Check out our job openings.