Meet our industry tutors

Written by: Emily on February 22, 2018
Tags: Interviews, Women in Tech

Meet our incredibly talented tutor and volunteer, leading our first #Innovateher programme at Belvedere Academy.


Meet Kate Rylance

Kate is the UX Research Manager at Shop Direct, based in Speke, Liverpool, and is our lead tutor on our #InnovateHer programme at Belvedere Academy.

We asked her a few questions to find out what it means to be a UX Research Manager in industry.

What skills do you think you need to do your job?

To be a UX Research Manager, you definitely need skills in communication, problem solving, curiosity, story telling, stakeholder influence, listening and translating into actions.

What personal attributes or behaviours do you need to do your job?

Confidence, empathy, understanding, friendliness and collaboration are all key attributes needed to be a UX Research Manager.

How did you get to where you are today in your career?

I studied psychology (to masters level) and obsessed about what made people do the things they do!

Any advice for a young person who might want to do this as a career?

Don’t rely on needing experience. You can research anything to get experience so create your own projects and use them to learn different techniques.

Meet Katie-Rose Cawthorne

Katie is a volunteer who helps our tutor, Kate, carry out our #InnovateHer programme at Belvedere Academy. Katie is a Start-Up Consultant at Nova.

We asked her a few questions to find out what skills are necessary to carry out her role.

What skills do you think you need to do your job?

There aren’t any technical skills you need, but you do need to have an understanding of Lean Startup (google Lean Startup by Eric Ries – great introduction to the field!) In a nutshell; test all of your assumptions and don’t spend loads of time building the perfect product. Build a small part of your product, measure how your users use it and learn. Make sure your product is solving a real problem for your users.

What personal attributes or behaviours do you need to do your job?

You need to be a good listener as you’ll be interviewing a lot of users for their feedback. You will also need to be a critical thinker. You will need to be comfortable speaking in front of relatively large groups – a lot of the job involves running workshops. It is necessary to be a good self-learner as it’s a pretty new field with new ideas coming up all the time. Our team are expected to read blogs and watch videos to stay on top of what we do.

How did you get to where you are today in your career?

I graduated from University with a Biological Sciences degree in 2014 and got a graduate job as a Clinical Systems Analyst with a company that makes software for GP practices and hospitals. The job is very similar to a Business Analyst where you basically speak to users to understand their job, then translate this to product features so that they can then do their job in the system. This job gave me the opportunity to travel the world and I made loads of friends but after 18 months I was ready for a change. I moved back to Liverpool (where I was studying) and got a job at Nova. Nova invests in and mentors entrepreneurs through the early stages of their startup. We will then provide them with a team to build their product too, whether it’s software, sensor technology or hardware. I am really interested in healthcare so spend 100% of my time working with healthtech startups.

Any advice for a young person who might want to do this as a career?

I would say get some experience working in a startup to get a feel for what it’s like. Startups are very different to “normal” businesses, there is a lot of uncertainty and you’re expected to get your hands dirty in lots of different roles. If you enjoy the fast pace and constant change, you’ll most likely love working in the world of startups!
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