As someone who loves a good fresh start (a clean desk, a new notebook, the day you get back from vacation…sign me up!) the new year is always a fun time for me to set new goals and work on new habits. What I usually gloss over are accomplishments. I spend a lot of time thinking about the future, and very little time thinking about all that I’ve done, and how much work it was to get there.
Recently, I took Maaike from Convocat.nl’s free online course “Living with Your Inner Imposter” which addressed a problem I’ve been working on in therapy all year (and probably will be for my entire life) — imposter syndrome. Through this course, I felt very inspired by the ideas Maaike shared about documenting your achievements. I’ve achieved a lot in the last year that I’m really proud of. As someone who often greets a compliment with “oh thanks” and moves on incredibly quickly (often believing they aren’t true), starting with this list and reflecting on it throughout 2022 is a great fresh start exercise that I’m excited about. Staying true to myself, I have my sights looking far off into 2022, so I’d like to share a bit of what’s to come, too.
And with that…onto the list!
My 2021 Accomplishments
I Launched Conversation Designer Jobs.
This started out as a small side project I worked on with MATTHEW BLACK during the 2020 holiday break. In January of 2021, I launched the first and only job board created specifically for Conversation Designers, ConversationDesignerJobs.com. Born from a lot of messages on LinkedIn asking for referrals and a desire to help more people in my community find jobs at great companies, I wanted to take CxD Jobs a step further than a typical job board. In May 2021 we released Candidate Profiles, our private, vetted conversation designer profiles, and in August we launched Candidate Matching. This allows hiring managers to instantly see candidates that are the best match for their position and access their contact information. These features, our network and our marketing efforts make Conversation Designer Jobs unlike ANY job board on the market, and I am so so proud of this one.
Conversation Designers Internet Club Grew by 585 Members.
My favorite part about being a conversation designer is the community. I started this private Facebook group in 2018, back when I felt like there had to be others out there doing what I was doing, but didn’t know where to find them. We were a very small and mighty group back then, and it’s been SO much fun watching the industry and this community grow over the years. It’s without a doubt my favorite corner of the internet. I love seeing others ask questions and share resources, and I love sharing my own knowledge, too!
I Passed 15 Million Views on Unsplash.
This was a happy accident. I enjoy taking photos but didn’t have a lot to do with them, so I decided to pay back all of the free stock photos I’ve downloaded over the years and upload my own to Unsplash. In December, I was one of the 1000 most seen contributors on their platform. Check out my photos, and download them to use in your content (for free!).
I talked…A LOT!
For as long as I can remember, I was very uncomfortable with public speaking. It’s safe to say I conquered this fear 1000% in 2021 and have fully embraced making videos and stepped into my potential as a speaker.
Subscribe to My Youtube
I'm Hillary, a Conversation Designer, Marketer & Conversational AI Content Watch webinar replays, how tos and more
In 2021 I spoke at the Conversation Design Summit and Women in Voice Summit (with Rebecca Evanhoe!). I did panels with Conversational Collective, Chatmode and the Conversation Design Club on Clubhouse, guest lectured at University of Illinois, hosted a career panel with Techire, a WhatsApp 101 with Haptik and two Twitter Spaces with Elaine Anzaldo. Sonia and I conquered Clubhouse all summer and did a workshop on Linkedin. I was interviewed on The ChatC Group’s expert series. I hosted a workshop with Miro. I was featured in Voiceflow’s Guide to Conversation Design and hosted TWO workshops with Sam Burns using their platform.
This is the first time I’ve listed all of these out and wow — was this a rewarding marathon of speaking.
We Rebranded Mav.
I talk a lot about conversation design, but branding is my first love. Conceptualizing and seeing this new branding and website come to life still gives me the feels. Oh, we also made the Housingwire Tech 100 list and exhibited at our first trade show in 2021, too!
I Started Consulting in Social Media Again.
After a 4 year hiatus that followed a 10 year career in social media and year as a freelance social media consultant, I started working with a few clients again! Stretching those creative muscles has been really fun. Go ahead and give my client Leon Speakers a follow on IG 😏
I Launched Daily Conversation Design Challenge with THE Daily UX Writing Challenge.
I often say UX writing and content design is the ideal background for conversation designers (despite the fact that it’s not mine), so having the opportunity to introduce thousands of professional and aspiring UX Writers to conversation design was a dream come true! Ryan from the famed Daily UX Writing Challenge helped me launch a pairing Daily Conversation Design Challenge alongside UX Content Collective in September 2021. He also called me a “legendary content designer” which I might just have to add to my bio. Join the challenge and get feedback from myself and others in our Linkedin Group.
I Started Offering Career and Conversation Design Coaching.
This is something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do and my imposter syndrome got in the way 😅. When UX Content Collective asked me to be one of their coaches, I finally decided to take that leap! I’ve loved every second of coaching so far and can’t wait to do more of it this year. Get details and book a session with me here.
I didn’t intend on this blog post being so long, and it’s probably because I didn’t realize how much I really accomplished last year. That’s the funny thing about imposter syndrome…it can have you saying “yeah, but I’m no expert because (insert doubt here)” or “I’m not making progress,” but when you sit down to make a list, you quickly realize, you worked a lot harder than you thought, and you bring a lot to the table that helps you get to where you are! I hope this inspires you to create your own “Ta-Da list 🎉”
My 2022 Goals and Plans
If you’re still with me, I mentioned at the top of this that I have goals and plans for 2022 that I wanted to share. Some of these are for sure, some are things I’m still exploring, but either way, I think putting them out there creates a sense of accountability that I’m all for having. In 2022…
I want to help writers and conversation designers create personal brands that get jobs.
I’ve managed and created a lot of brands throughout my career, whether it’s global consumer brands, tech companies, universities, entrepreneurs, personal projects, startups or imaginary companies my friends and I wish to have someday, and I have always always believed in the power of a personal brand. In fact, one of my blog posts on this Medium actually got me a job at Beats by Dre (another story for another day). I know that personal branding often gets a bad rap, and I know it can be intimidating to create a brand for yourself and put yourself out there, so I want to make it easy. What exactly this goal will turn into I haven’t figured out yet, but we’ll get there. Stay tuned 👀
Conversation Designer Jobs will continue to get bigger and better.
I’m going to keep a few plans under wraps, but I definitely want to create more resources for the site that help people hire great conversation designers. There is unbelievable talent all over the world that is looking for remote work, and making it easier for people to find those jobs is extremely important to me. Plus, I want to add even MORE conversation design and career skills to our candidate profiles, so we can provide better matches on both sides of the table.
I’m speaking at Sales Innovation Expo in April in Los Angeles, CA.
No extra details here, but if you’re attending, keep your eyes on the agenda for my session! I really hope to add more events to this roster in 2022, which leads to my next plan.
I will continue to make videos and invite our community to share their knowledge on conversation design through online events.
With a whopping 15 events under my belt last year, I’ve discovered I love nothing more than sharing knowledge and learning from others through online conversations. I’ve already started a list of things I want to host this year, and have started applying for gigs at industry events. I’ll continue to post all of my video replays to my Youtube channel, and plan to create original content there as well. Subscribe to stay up to date, and join Conversation Designers Internet Club for the latest on CxD events!
Thanks for reading this long, long retrospective! I appreciate all of your support and friendship throughout the years, and look forward to putting more names to digital faces in the future. If you’d like to chat, you know where to find me — online!