With Graphic and UX Design experience totaling 9+ years, Abbi was searching for “a place in a company where [she] could put [her] current skill-set to work, while having the chance to learn and improve.”
That’s when she found Futurestay.
Abbi applied to the UX Designer position, knowing that she would “be able to collaborate with Futurestay to help them grow.” Not long after, Futurestay co-founders Philip Kennard and Jonathan Fabio contacted Abbi. After a series of interviews, Abbi joined the team. She has now been with Futurestay for over a year.
For someone who doesn’t know what UX Design is, how would you describe your job and what you do?
It’s the art of understanding users and making them feel happy and accomplished. It doesn’t matter if they’re looking to get fit, find the best restaurant, or manage a vacation rental business. UX is the comfort everyone feels when they interact with an interface or app, without noticing the engineering work we do.
What I love the most about User Experience Design is that, even when it’s unlikely I’ll ever personally meet any users that interact with my designs, I have to know them so I can provide a seamless experience. It’s a challenge, but it’s also rewarding.
Was your trip to New Jersey a surprise? Did you know that at some point, your job would allow you to travel?
When I first started working at Futurestay, I didn’t think I would travel to meet the team in person. However, being in the vacation rental/traveling business, I guess I should have imagined it.
Last year, the Futurestay team went to Panama. As much as I tried, it wasn’t possible for me to be there too. Since then, Philip and Jonathan have been looking for opportunities for me to visit. Finally, that happened this summer.
Have you traveled to the Metropolitan area before?
I haven’t been to the Metropolitan area before this trip. The first large city I had the opportunity to visit was Mexico City (a number of years ago). Traveling to New Jersey was a surprise visit, so it was hard to keep it a secret. Only me, Philip, and Jonathan knew about the trip.
What were you most excited about?
I was excited about several things. I was looking forward to working with the team since working remotely follows a different dynamic.
I also knew the team had just moved into a new office. I wanted to see all the work they had put into making the new Futurestay feel like home. So far I had only seen photos of its transformation.
As an interior design enthusiast, many times I wished I could be there to help build the furniture or paint the walls. Before the trip, I helped Philip choose some of the chairs and tables. Now [that I was in New Jersey] I wanted to lend a hand.
How did the team react to your presence?
It was really amusing seeing everybody’s faces, like I had been working [in New Jersey] all this time! They definitely weren’t expecting [me]. Everybody was so welcoming and warm. It was very nice to work with them and share some very funny moments.
If anything, what parts of this trip were you nervous about?
Being used to remote work made me a little nervous about actually working with people around me. Working remotely in Mexico means I don’t get to experience working in our office. I was worried my performance would be affected.
That concern dissipated the moment I stepped into the office. Our team managed to collaborate and make important progress in several projects during our visit. Watching everybody doing their work, which is something I don’t get to see every day, was fantastic. Our team focuses on a common goal and does their best to accomplish their objectives. There was always something funny to laugh about when we were together.
What kinds of activities did you do while you were visiting?
Besides work, the team kindly showed my husband Dave and I around town. We took a trip to the Newark Venture Partners office and spent one afternoon on what I call a “power tour” of New York City. We rode bikes in Central Park. We stood in the lobby of the Guggenheim Museum and saw the MET. A bus-ride took us to a rooftop bar called Winnie’s Refined Spirits. From there, we saw the top of the Empire State Building.
I also learned from our co-worker Wendy, to wear sports gear when touring New York. Coming from a hot climate, we thought [the city] would be a little chilly. So we carried our jackets with us. Well, you can’t be cold when you’re biking and running around New York — we learned the hard way.
What was your best memory of your trip?
Putting Futurestay’s logo on the wall was one of the most iconic moments for me. It symbolized the materialization of the company’s journey so far. I was happy to be a part of it/be there to witness it.
What did you learn from your trip?
More than learning something new, I left with a stronger conviction of how important it is to work with the right people. I am more motivated to continue improving my skills and contributing to Futurestay’s success.