Interested in digital products? Want to get a feel for what a day in the life looks like on the Di team? You’ve come to the right place. Every quarter, we will be interviewing a member of our cohort for your reading pleasure. This time around, we are chatting with Jess Nolte-Cerchio. Jess is normally the person conducting these interviews, but for this one we’ve got Vincent Wilson stepping in and adding a few questions of his own! You can follow Jess on Twitter at @noltecerchio and GitHub at noltecerchio.
V: Hi there! Why don’t we start off by delving into what your role is at Differential.
J: My role at Differential is a designer, so my day to day is mainly doing UX/UI work for web applications and mobile applications, which often includes project management and frequent client communication as well. Additionally, I do front end development and have recently taken on the role as the HR director of the company. People often call me the “Swiss Army Knife” of Differential.
V: How and when did you become interested in the kind of work you do?
J: I became interested in the kind of work I do when I was very young. I’ve messed around on computers my entire life and I’ve always been interested in art, especially drawing. When I was a little older I became interested in HTML and CSS, and when I was in college I focused in on digital products, mainly via my internships and co-ops.
V: How did your career path lead you to Differential?
J: I was working at a startup in Cincinnati and after about a year or so we went under. About 8 months prior, I had met with David Pearce (who used to work at Differential) for coffee, so I reached out to him soon after the startup shut down. The co-founders of the startup also made connections at Differential for me, which I am forever grateful for. The tech community in Cincinnati is pretty tight knit and always willing to help out.
V: Differential hires entrepreneurial minds to help solve the problems of intrapreneurs – what is your first memory of being entrepreneurial?
J: When I was a kid I would do arts and crafts and paint rocks, and I would sell them! Instead of having a lemonade stand I would sell arts and crafts that I created. I was probably 6 years old. I would take rocks from my mom’s garden and paint them like ladybugs, or whatever. It’s weird, I know.
V: When selling arts and crafts as a young person, did you see it as entrepreneurial?
J: Yes, I did. The reason I knew this was because my parents owned their own businesses throughout my childhood.
V: Did you continue to see yourself as entrepreneurial as time went on?
J: Yes, always. Even if I wasn’t selling my weird creations, I was still looking for interesting things to get involved in and taking initiative.
V: What do you like (or love) about working here?
J: I know it’s cliché, but the people. And I know saying it’s cliché is cliché, (that’s a reference to The Office compliments of Pam Beesly) but everyone here is very transparent, honest and open. I feel greatly supported in my day to day work - I am successful because I have the support of great team.
V: What has led to such a good people culture?
J: I think the leadership has made people a priority. One of our core values is Invest in People, and we as a company really pay attention to our core values. This goes for our employees and our clients as well.
V: Part of the Differential team is remote - in your experience, are there advantages and/or difficulties to remote teamwork?
J: So I’ve worked directly with a lot of our remote employees… and I would say that the only disadvantage is the smaller amount of social interaction. When people are in the office it’s nice to get lunch or get coffee or talk about random things, but with the remote people it’s a little more difficult. When it comes to workflow, getting things done and communication, I don’t see any detriment.
V: What’s streaming through your earbuds while you are working?
J: A friend and I recently joined the Young Professionals Choral Collective in Cincinnati. It’s a choir for young professionals. So I have mainly been listening to songs we’ve been singing so I can pretend I know what I’m doing at practice. We’re singing a song from the musical Dear Evan Hansen, some Carly Simon, some Annie Lennox, some French songs, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen… and a few others.
V: And last, but certainly not least - favorite coffee or lunch spot near the office?
J: Hmmmm, this is hard because there are so many good ones. For lunch I’m going to say V’s Café because it’s convenient and they have a huge menu. For coffee, either Coffee Emporium (because they also have great food and snacks), or Urbana Cafe. They are dog friendly and have homemade dog biscuits for my dog Roady!