#wcw: Lauren Dodge


Lauren and I met through a mutual friend who thought we'd hit it off and boy, am I glad she did. Lauren is a master of design and brings user-centered thinking to topics that you'd never thing of applying it to – like dating! She brought down the house with her Lighting Talk and continues to bring her creativity and warm Southern charm to the Women Catalysts community. She and I also share a love for nerding-out on science and history, whether it's out at Odd Salon in San Francisco or a documentary night at home. I appreciate her curiosity and, as you'll see below, she's a fabulous force on so many fronts. - Kim

What are you working on?: I’m currently the Senior UX Designer for Frankly Inc. We provide digital solutions for several hundred local news stations with the goal to help keep the local news circuit relevant and connected to their areas in the face of a struggling market. There are so many competing forces these days, and many local news sources are taking a big hit. The thing is, in times of crisis, they are in a position to assist their community in a really big way, and my goal is to make sure they have the tools to help as many as possible. As a Texas native with a lot of family in Florida, I watched the devastating impact hurricanes Harvey and Irma inflicted on so many people I care about. These next couple months I will be working on making more specialized alert systems and follow up community outreach aggregators for local crises in hopes that we can help people navigate these confusing and stressful situtations better. I’m looking to chat with folks who experienced similar scenarios or anybody with suggestions, it would be a great help!

What is your vision for 2017?: I’ve been honing my UX craft for several years now, and I’m really shifting gears with the kinds of projects I take on. It's so important to me that my work helps makes peoples lives a little bit better, perhaps a little easier so they can focus on the things that really matter to them. Food for my soul has been focusing on really connecting with the people I love. Remembering that life is short and there are only so many moments we’re given to be together has really helped shift my priorities toward things that truly matter.

Best thing our readers might not know about you: I wouldn’t say it's the best thing, but it's a new and exciting thing! As a penny-pinching design nut, I’ve been working on a furniture import business geared at bringing the classics to the Bay Area at prices that are actually within reach. Just a little side project, but exploring the interworkings of international manufacturing and logistics has been so much fun! It’s so new that we’ve only just sold our first round of about 12 pieces – from Selig Z Chairs to Eames Lounges, to Danish-inspired consoles – we don’t even have a site up yet, it's so green. However, we were able to sell the lot within one weekend, so we’re on to round two! If you’re interested in seeing our catalog, or wouldn't mind chatting about your experiences in importing goods, give me a nudge! 

What brought you to WC?: I met Kim earlier last year over a night of karaoke and was so taken by her dedication to making a space for women to connect and support each other in achieving their dreams, I just had to swing by to check it out. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many strong, determined women over the course of the year, dropping into the Lightning Talks, and had a blast giving my own public speaking skills a little practice. 

Where will we see you next?: Hopefully, we can chat about your experiences in navigating times of local crises or our mutual love of the Danish Modern persuasion. You can find me on Instagram (@laurenpdodge) and Facebook. I would love to connect!