Hi, I’m Brittany Leaning. 👋
I like humans, well-designed experiences, and difficult challenges.
I'm a curious UX designer with a background in social media and content strategy. I'm endlessly fascinated by humans and how they interact with the world around them. I believe design should be invisible and highly personalized. My favorite word is "why."
I'd love to join a dynamic team where difficult challenges and out-of-the-box thinking are encouraged (specifically in Austin, TX). If you know of any opportunities, think we'd be a fit for each other, or just feel like chatting about UX design, please connect with me.
"So, how’d you get into UX design?"
I'm glad you asked.
Here’s my story:
2008 - 2012
Let’s start with college...
I studied marketing at Champlain College in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I chose marketing because my favorite courses leading up to college were psychology, graphics, and advanced writing. (Ah, a little foreshadowing, perhaps?)
During this time I studied abroad in Amsterdam, interned at Vermont Teddy Bear, and did lots and lots of snowboarding. It was a glorious time to be alive.
2012 - 2014
The life-changing internship.
500 people applied, but only three people got the job. I was one of them.
I moved from Burlington, Vermont to Cambridge, Massachusetts to work as a summer intern on HubSpot's marketing team. At the time, the private company had a 300 employees in a single office building.
My first big kid job.
After three months interning at HubSpot, I was hired on full-time as their sole Social Media Manager. I triaged and responded to hundreds of questions, comments, and support-related inquires every day. This was my biggest lesson in empathy to date.
2014 - 2016
My first career pivot: content strategy.
My favorite part of managing social media was creating engaging content. I often found myself designing ebooks in my off time (just for fun). That's when I knew it was time to reflect on my career. I moved over to HubSpot's content team in May 2014.
That time I wrote a book.
My experience managing brand accounts on Twitter (Vermont Teddy Bear, PajamaGram, Hoodie-Footie, and HubSpot) opened doors for interesting opportunities. One of those was a role as Co-Author of Twitter for Dummies, where I learned to empathize with new users; to help make Twitter accessible for everyone.
Going global in Dublin, Ireland.
I was sent to Dublin, Ireland for three months to work with HubSpot's EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) marketing team. Here, I learned about the intricacies of international marketing and the frustrations users can face when a company scales globally. At this point, HubSpot was a public company with 1,700 employees and over 10,000 customers.
Moving to Austin, Texas.
After several bi-yearly visits, I fell in love with Austin's tight-knit community of wildly creative souls. I just couldn't wait any longer to be a part of it. So, in January 2017, I packed my belongings (including my cat) and made the 30-hour trek from Boston to Austin. Turns out, my cat isn't the best road trip partner.
Starting a freelance business.
When I arrived in Austin, I spent the first few months helping businesses scale their marketing and design efforts. I learned a lot about remote communication, invoicing, taxes, and how to maintain sanity while working from home.
My second career pivot: UX design.
Finally, here we are; my big move from marketing to UX design.
During my last year as a Content Strategist at HubSpot, my content projects were becoming increasingly more web-based. I found myself empathizing with users more than I ever had in the past. I was applying UX principles to my content projects without even knowing it. I was reading books like The Best Interface Is No Interface and The Power of Habit, and I couldn't put them down.
That's when it hit me; it was time for another career shift.
I sought out formal training to make my pivot official. In June 2017, I joined General Assembly's immersive, 10-week User Experience Design program. Then, in August 2017, I started contracting as a UX/UI Designer with The University of Texas at Austin. Today, I confidently self-identify as a "designer" and I've never felt more at home.