Season 2 Episode 3: Radical Softness: Transforming Team Dynamics and UX Leadership

Radical Softness: Transforming Team Dynamics and UX Leadership

Welcome to Episode 3 of Season 2 of UX Leadership By Design. In this episode, Mark speaks with Mollie Cox, Director of Product Design at and Adjunct Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mollie shares her career journey and the connection between her early career, playing hopscotch, teaching, and leadership style. She emphasizes the value of teaching practical skills. Mollie also discusses the concept of radical softness, using our emotions as a strength and not a weakness. She also explains how she carves out time for growth and mentorship within her design team, aligning individual goals with organizational goals. Mollie’s commitment to designer growth is evident in her approach to leadership and mentorship. All leaders can learn a tremendous amount from Mollie’s leadership style and ethos “Grow my people”.

Key Takeaways

  • Teaching practical skills is important in design education to bridge the gap between theory and real-world application.
  • Radical softness in leadership involves being open, authentic, and transparent, while empowering team members.
  • Aligning individual goals with organizational goals helps create a sense of purpose and growth within the team.
  • Carving out time for growth and mentorship is crucial for talent retention and development.

Topics Covered

  1. Radical Softness in Leadership – Discusses the concept of using emotions as strengths in leadership and management.
  2. Design Team Growth and Mentorship – Covers strategies for personal and professional development within design teams.
  3. Aligning Goals with Organizational Objectives – Explores how individual aspirations can support broader company goals.
  4. Teaching Practical Skills in Design – Highlights the importance of practical education in bridging the gap between theory and application.
  5. Emotional Intelligence in Design – Addresses the role of emotional awareness in design leadership and teamwork.
  6. Career Development in Product Design – Provides insights into navigating career paths and advancement in the design field.
  7. Challenges in Design Education – Discusses the obstacles and rewards of teaching and learning design.
  8. Empowerment through Transparent Leadership – Examines how openness and authenticity foster team empowerment.
  9. Applying Classroom Learnings to Professional Work – Shares examples of translating academic concepts into workplace solutions.
  10. Retention and Talent Development – Looks at the importance of nurturing talent for long-term retention and team success.

About Our Guest

Mollie Cox’s journey in product design is a blend of hands-on leadership, an enthusiasm for education, and a dedication to mentoring the next generation of designers. Her work centers around enhancing user experience through strategic design leadership, innovation, and promoting user-centered design cultures. Additionally, she holds a position as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Resources & Links


00:00 Introduction and Career Journey
02:03 The Thread Connecting Early Career and Teaching
04:03 Leadership Style and Focus on Growth
06:41 Challenges and Rewards of Teaching
09:15 Teaching Practical Skills
12:10 Applying Classroom Learnings to Professional Work
16:31 Leadership Style and Empowerment
17:20 Radical Softness and Emotional Intelligence
20:20 Applying Radical Softness in Different Personalities
24:31 Carving Out Time for Growth and Mentorship
27:45 Aligning Individual Goals with Organizational Goals
29:35 Importance of Talent Retention and Growth


Mark Baldino (00:02.062)
Hello and welcome to UX Leadership by Design. I'm your host, Mark Baldino. I'm also a co -founder of Fuzzy Math. Fuzzy Math is the user experience design consultancy that brings consumer -grade UX to business applications, B2B and the enterprise. Today, I had the absolute pleasure to speak with Mollie Cox, who is the Director of Product Design at and an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska -Lincoln. And I'll be honest, Mollie is the type of leader that I strive to be.

She's an educator by nature, but also now sort of by profession. And Mollie takes that sort of educational approach to each member of her team. Her leadership style, as she described it, I think is really simple and effective. It's grow my people. Grow my people for as long as I have them in my organization. And not everyone takes that approach to leadership. We discussed a really sort of core important component for Mollie of what she calls radical softness, which is to harness our emotions as a strength and not as a weakness. And I think that's really, really hard to do. Anyone who knows me knows I could use some radical softness. But that's why I say Mollie's a leader I think we all should look up to and learn from. So please enjoy the conversation and thanks as always for listening.

Mark Baldino (00:01.067)
Mollie, welcome to the podcast.

Mollie Cox (00:02.92)
Thank you for having me, Mark.

Mark Baldino (00:04.618)
Awesome. Well, we really appreciate your time today. Would love, as a starter, not a surprise, tell us a little bit about your journey through the arc of your career to now being a Director of Product Design.

Mollie Cox (00:22.048)
Sure, sure. I like to think that I'm one of those old school non-traditional paths before there was majors in college and boot camps and things along those lines. So I had an abnormal trajectory just a little bit, but I've been in the industry about 20 years, probably 18 if we want exact numbers, but I was really over, started in the agency side of the world. So when I was in the agency side,

Mark Baldino (00:32.874)

Mollie Cox (00:52.022)
and five, everybody was much more about aesthetics and things and this is when I got coined director of interactive, right? So, you know, helping manage and go through the developers work alongside of the designers, but you know, there was always that question of making it better outside from functionality standpoint. So I was always very interested in that. So we evolved that at the agency I was in and then I transitioned into software. So from there, I just, I've worked at software from a four person startup and fintech all the way to a global sports tech company with about 3,000 people worldwide. And I've done all the way from marketing tech to enterprise to, like I said, fintech. So I've kind of seen the gambit in product design.

Mark Baldino (01:36.706)
Yeah. And now you're adjunct professor as well. You've added that to the, another feather to the cap.

Mollie Cox (01:47.408)
I am, I have actually taught at the University of Nebraska here in Lincoln since 2013. So I am going in my 11th year as a professor. So it's actually a pretty ingrained part of my life at this point, so.

Mark Baldino (02:03.842)
So besides design, what's the thread, and maybe it's within design, that connects the early career all the way through current career and being a teacher, being a professor.

Mollie Cox (02:19.404)
Oh, so I...

You know, one of the things for me, obviously you said earlier, I'm a director, I'm on the leadership side of the house. Uh, I've always kind of naturally stepped into that environment. I'm one of those, uh, if you want to talk Gallup strengths, I have an activator in there. And so I think as an activator, uh, you tend to naturally step into those. Sit you into the leadership side of situations. So, um, for me, I have a very strong drive to help grow the knowledge of others. And I don't know where that comes from. I think learning the more you can talk about something the more you actually learn about it if you have to create a curriculum You you have to know your information very in depth So actually to me it was a really great opportunity to learn my craft More in depth by having to figure out how to teach it to other people in a very simplistic manner so when I started there was obviously frameworks, but I always started in design. I have actually taught at the university I've done video photo portfolio Class I've done art direction and now I primarily do product design. So it's been a whole it's all design

Mark Baldino (03:34.398)
Right on. And you feel like education has always been like that's the throughput is educating those around you. And as you said, it's one thing to understand how to do something. It's a whole other skill set, which is the framework of learning and mastering concepts. But one of them is actually being able to effectively teach that. But that's always been, I was going to say, where does that come from? You said, I don't really know where it comes from, but it's always been part of, you know, it's not just activation and leading. There's a lot of different ways to lead, but your leadership style has been through education and building up those.

Mollie Cox (04:08.156)
There's even from when I was little when you I remember I was in first grade I was in a jump rope club, right? And I had finally figured out how to do the double Dutch and I was super excited and I remember There was a couple other students who were not getting it and I walked them through step by step how you would do the double Dutch And there's always when somebody gets the aha moment, right? So in software we talk about those digital activation steps and for a user there's that aha moment I think for me in life, I love seeing face-to-face, IRL, aha moments in people, those sparks when they get something and something clicks. So I think it's innately been in me, but I especially love seeing it with students. And I love growing designers in this field. I think there's a very big difference of what we actually do versus sometimes what is taught. So I try to do a lot of practical application in our learning.

Mark Baldino (05:04.554)
Fantastic. I want to get back to that practical application. But I just, you know, I want to point out that there are a lot of different ways to lead and or mentor. I'll use that, right? Because for me, I try not to, but it's a lot... If I'm trying... If I'm mentoring somebody, I feel like I'm answering questions. I'm giving them the answers. I'm just helping them like solve this problem, which is a totally different approach than teaching somebody how to do that and not here to judge which is better, but that's a different style and it requires like a different type of energy and a different just sort of like, I don't know, operating procedure which is I'm going to try to educate, upskill, grow my design team through teaching, through practical application versus I'm going to give them the answers. I'm going to tell them, you know, how to navigate a situation. Maybe that's part of communication and part of sort of mentorship, but it's like a little bit different of a style. And I'm kind of curious, it sounds like it comes naturally to you, but you could have chosen a bunch of other paths and you've landed on this one. And then as I said, add another feather to your cap, you've doubled down and now you're actually a professor. What is it about that that, I wanna cover two ways. What is it about that path that you find a little bit challenging for you personally or maybe education in general? And what do you find like really, like what's really rewarding from it? What re-energizes you as part of that process?

Mollie Cox (06:41.832)
Sure, sure. So going to the question of what makes it challenging or what makes it different and what makes it a little hard. Because you're right with the difference in mentors, especially in design. And if you're mentoring within your industry, chances are they want to be in that session with you. They want to be there. They want to learn. They want to grow. And you're helping guide them. But yes, you're giving them answers. Like you said, they're asking a lot of questions.

I think the difference in the classroom that's really challenging is they don't necessarily want to be there, right? They may have an interest in it, but they could just be trying to get credits for a degree and this class just happened to sound Interesting. So some students come in with absolutely no knowledge level of what we're trying to do Other students have come in with some type of foundation, but maybe not hard So there's different skill levels in there. So you have to pair back how do I attack this and teach this from a perspective of varying education levels, right? How do I make it interesting and engaging for everybody? But ultimately, there are students who just don't, you know, who aren't engaged, who won't be engaged. And that's a challenge. You know, you sit up there and it's crickets, and you know, if you do podcasts, you public speak, that engagement from your audience is super important. So even as a professor,

Mark Baldino (08:08.139)

Mollie Cox (08:09.462)
getting that engagement from your students. You feel the heart start beating a little bit, right? But where's the magic? You said, what's the good outcome? So those same students who come in with zero interest in product design, I...have seen so many flourish over the years as product designers. I have seen people come in as account executives with an advertising track and all of a sudden transition into product design. Selfishly, it's how I find some of my best interns. So, you know, I get first pick, I get first dibs of the best of the best coming out of class. But I have hired on actually many of my students. Some of my...

Mark Baldino (08:42.249)
I always like to think of my friends. Hahaha, fair enough. Well done. I like to think of my friends. Yeah, yeah.

Mollie Cox (08:55.296)
most tenacious and extremely ambitious employees have been students coming directly out of my class. So not only do I get to see it click for them, but then I get to see how they flourish in their own career moving forward. So I think that's a super incredible aspect to being a professor.

Mark Baldino (09:15.342)
Wonderful. You mentioned practicality and teaching practical skills. Can you talk more about that? Frankly, I think it's super underrated and as I think you alluded to, not always what you're getting from educational courses, sometimes not even from mentorship you're getting in a professional setting. What's that focus? Why is it important to you to be teaching things that fundamentals and that are actually...

Mollie Cox (09:40.712)
Mm-hmm. Yep, yep. So I think when you're looking at some of those principles and those core things in teaching practicality, I think one of the primary tenants of design, there's so many, but is collaboration, right? And collaboration is very difficult in the classroom in the aspect that...we have a mindset of what group projects are gonna be. Somebody's gonna put in a little bit more, somebody's gonna put in a little bit less. So I really try to attack this as your development team, your designers and developers. And so we do our class, I actually conduct our class in sprints. We have two weeks to do all of our modules. And I try to give them a cadence of how that would work. We use Mural for all of our assignments in the actual tools that they would be using in the real world. And through that, I take them through workshops, but then when I take them, like, let's say we do a section on personas, right? I'll teach them that, but then I have them do their personas and they have to build their own workshop based on how they think they would aggregate the information and investigate all the different demographics and ethnographics of a persona. So to me, really, I try to teach them versus how would you pull that information out of another group of people?

Mark Baldino (11:09.374)
Right. So it's less design theory, although maybe that's part of the background, but this is what a persona is. This is why we use them. This is how not to use them. But it's really like, okay, let's... You're almost putting them in kind of a client scenario, which is you need to aggregate this information and you need to present it, organize it, prioritize it with a group of people, come up with some sort of deliverable, which seems impactful if somebody's going to translate that from a career perspective or maybe...

As you said, some people find that, oh, this could be a really rewarding career. What have you taken out of the classroom? What do you learn in the classroom that you end up applying in? I don't want to say the day job because there's probably a lot going on, but kind of in the professional sense. Are there things you've learned or techniques or your role as a professor? How has that shifted or changed how you design, lead, or how you communicate?

Mollie Cox (12:10.452)
Sure, that's a great question. I think.

The primary thing that pops into my head when you ask that question is, first and foremost, we don't value how much we actually know sometimes, right? I was actually listening to a podcast not too long ago, and the guest was saying that they asked an interview question that is basically to every candidate, that what is the last complex challenge that you faced, and explain it to me like I'm seven.

I think that's really interesting because what that's asking and what I'm learning is how do you take this very complex structure, this whole process that we call product design and simplify it and bring it down? How do you take journey mapping and make that a week? How do you simplify that?

And then on top of that, so that's kind of the side of being able to articulate very complex situations in a much more meaningful, simplistic way. And then the other side of it is, honestly, public speaking. Like I...

Mark Baldino (13:27.15)
Thank you. All right.

Mollie Cox (13:29.752)
I, when I get on a stage, I pretend everybody's my student, right? Uh, because what I just said a couple moments ago is don't underestimate what you know, when I first walked into teaching, um, I thought, you know, the imposter syndrome came in, I thought I was a fraud. How am I going to teach them anything? They don't already know. Uh, but especially when you're working with juniors, it's imperative to remember that they don't have the building blocks. They don't have the time in that you have. And actually we end up describing things too complex of a way, right? So pairing that down is, so it's kind of twofold, it helps with communication, but again, pairing down that complexity.

Mark Baldino (14:03.045)

Mark Baldino (14:10.634)
100%. I think anyone who works with me knows I won't stop talking until I think I've talked, you know, I've spoken to death about it. And I have to catch myself because I think I'm over, I'm using more words to communicate. But the truth is, it's like a very simple lesson in terms of, I don't know if I was seventh grader, what the age group was. Like what's the very least amount my point across to sell my idea, to introduce my idea, to talk about users. We did a fuzzy math a number of years ago. We did like mentorship with grade school students and they were like on the job. So you know, go to an architecture firm, kind of learning that. And I don't know, I don't know if for somebody who want to go to an accountant's office, but like when you go to a design studio, it's like, what can we boil down our process too in very, very simple steps for somebody who's in elementary school to be able to design an application. I mean, I'm glad you reminded me of this exercise, which is really helpful and I think for designers in general is like we do know a lot and sometimes we forget that, but it's also not important to share all that we know with everyone and sometimes the best when we are really boiling it down, getting down to the fundamentals and not sort of getting to... not using design jargon, not using 15 sentences when one sentence will work. And I think that's a really... it's a hard skill to learn and a hard skill to remember. But I think it's really interesting that there's that heavy overlap between how you're learning as a professor or as you're teaching and bringing that back to the people you work with and the folks you coach. And so I just, I wanna talk a little bit about what you consider, you know, Mollie's leader, was like, what's your leadership style? How do you approach it? We've obviously talked about education, so I'd be shocked if that wasn't a big core component, but like, how do you define your leadership style and what's important to you to be building and growing within the folks on your team?

Mollie Cox (16:31.816)

So if one of the primary things that I believe in leadership is, and I know this is one of the reasons that we've come together, is I kind of created a post of what I call radical softness, right? There's actually, this is kind of derived from a poet, and is it talks about essentially the theory behind radical softness is it can be your emotions actually can be one of your greatest

So with that, I think my leadership style is very, I hope others would say the same, very open, very authentic and transparent. But as you just said, I'm a huge believer in growth because again, that's a Nate Lee in me. I'm a professor.

So on the growth side of the house, with the designers I work with on a daily basis, you know, let's look at the design industry right now, right, like, let's be honest, in my opinion, I feel like if I'm gonna be with my, like one of my designers for five years, I'm pretty lucky. Like that's probably the longest relationship sometimes you're gonna have with your designers, right? We want new challenges. So it's sometimes not necessarily your manager that you're leaving for, but it's rather new challenges and new problems to solve. So my philosophy is that in that timeframe that I have you, it is my responsibility to do everything in my power to get you to that next level, that next step, or that next place, so you move on to the place you want to be for that next challenge, right? So I attack that two ways. I feel that, yes, let's talk about everything that's happening.

Mark Baldino (18:12.838)
So, thank you.

Mollie Cox (18:17.448)
within design, how we make that better. We'll do our critiques, we'll do our reviews, we'll do our working sessions and things along those lines. But also, how can I grow you outside of the organization that we work with?

I think sometimes we put these blinders on and feel like as leaders, we have to talk within the purview of the company in which we work for. But we're people, right? And we have so many other desires and so many other things. So I try to pay very, very special attention to making sure individuals grow, not just within, but outside of an organization.

Mark Baldino (18:56.562)
Thank you. Amazing. Can you… Is it fair to ask you to break down more of the radical softness? I'm super interested in this concept of harnessing one's emotions. Anyone who works at Fuzzy Math, who's listening to this, will know that at times my emotions get the better of me and they cloud my judgment, they cloud my communication style, and in full transparency sometimes…a lot of the work that I do doesn't get seen or heard because my emotional response can be too, you know, can be too strong. And then it's like, it doesn't matter. It really literally doesn't matter what else I say because people are sort of, you know, I, at times, again, in full transparency, I struggle sometimes with that level of transparency and just sort of allowing things to come to me. And I might tend to be...a little bit too responsive. And I'm not trying to make this a design therapy session at all. But like, if not everybody comes in with like an openness approach to their communication, and sometimes their emotions in environments, you know, are not, are counterproductive, like does radical softness account for people who maybe aren't as soft by nature?

Mollie Cox (20:20.88)
Yeah, I think that, I mean, that's a fantastic question. And I think we have to understand that, you know, radical softness, you still have to have a component of emotional intelligence within that, right? You still have to be able to, when I say, you know, use your emotions as a catalyst for leadership and be able to be vulnerable and things, we also have to remember the environment in which we're in. And we have to, in that, in that environment, but it's the transparency. So I'm not saying just go fly off the handle and yell at anybody and do the things that you wanna do. But what I'm saying is be very open about how you're feeling in a situation. Be very open about how, is there an impediment? Is there a blocker? And because of this, I feel X, right? I think, not...

Mark Baldino (20:57.55)
Sure, sure.

Mollie Cox (21:17.912)
I think this is especially challenging sometimes for women in leadership, right? Because, you know, sometimes emotions are used against females. And it's like it's like the whole Barbie movie you just saw. If you've seen the new Barbie movie, there was the whole America, Ferrera monologue about the contradictions of being a woman. And so I feel like the same contradiction holds true with our emotions in a workplace. Right. So I think that there are

You know, we can go into each one, but to me, I feel like there's really four primary components to radical softness and how you maintain composure and how you do those things. But those are, A, first and foremost is to normalize somebody having emotions because we're human beings, right? It's okay if you get upset. It's okay if you get mad. I feel you. I've been there. Also, to be vulnerable, which is easier said than done. And then being authentic, which is an interesting because I feel like that's such a phrase right now. It's such a buzzword to be authentic. But there is a way that you can do that without just saying be authentic. And then also I think that one of the biggest components of it is empowerment, empowering your people. And that comes from being transparent and vulnerable.

Mark Baldino (22:26.278)
great knowledge. Yep.

Mark Baldino (22:39.542)
Fantastic. Thank you for breaking that down further. That's really hard. I don't know. I just personally, it's really, it's hard to do as you said, like being vulnerable, creating that space. And then as you said that last step of sort of being very transparent and utilizing that for empowerment for your team. And I think for a lot of people...hustle and bustle of work or strains of work. I think for a lot of businesses, 2023 was not a great year. So there's a lot of extra stressors within organizations, between organizations. I feel like I've been saying this since the pandemic. It's a hard time to be a human and it's a hard time to be a designer. I want to shift part of the conversation to say that

I think this sounds amazing and I think it's amazing that you carve out this time for your team to help grow them and mentor them and teach them skills knowing that you have them for a short period of time and they're going to go someplace else. If I were going to evaluate that from a business metrics and KPIs perspective or I would ask something shameful of like what's the ROI, like it's hard to calculate that stuff. So how do you, how are you carving out room and time for that growth with your design team when there are other pressures, downward pressure for management, production level pressure. Like, how do you... Did you make a business case for this or did you ignore it and you just get our work done and we do it on the side? Like, what's the trick there to embrace something like radical softness and truly sort of nurturing your design team while also, like I said, kind of getting the job done?

Mollie Cox (24:31.092)
Right, so that's a really great question because I actually have a lot of tactics for this, right? So yes, and radical softness, the transparency, the authenticity, creating all of those in your design culture is actually what helps with being open about goals and how to move forward. So with the design team that I'm working with, and I do this typically with any design team

I'm on, I think it's really important to do goal setting together. I sit with every designer at the beginning of each quarter. I sit down with them. I make in Fig Jam. They're very pretty because we're designers. I make, I make goal boards for everybody. And on these goal boards, I do what I call essentially the three E's. Okay. So when I'm looking at it, I think of there's three different buckets that we're trying to learn. We're trying to learn experience.

We're trying to learn exposure, and we're trying to learn education. Right? So as a designer, if you're trying to build goals around that framework, uh, what I ask each one of them is I have them brainstorm all these different things that they want to learn. Um, I do a skills matrix with everybody. We look at their gaps. We see where they are.

But how do we tie it to what we do today? How do we tie it to the business? So let's say they brainstorm a bunch of goals they wanna set for exposure, which is essentially our influence area. What I do is then we take a look at what their upcoming work is. And I say, take this moment to be selfish. How can you apply the goals you want to do to what you're doing today, to your actual work? How can we build that in to your work, right?

So for instance, let me give you a quick example. Just last week, I was working with a designer and she's in the process of building out a whole UX playbook for our team, right? And she's like, well, I'm doing this big thing and I have all these goals and I really wanna learn AI but I just don't know that I have the time and the bandwidth. And I said, well, wait a second, you're building the design playbook right now, make a section on plays for AI.

So that way the whole team has AI. You're learning AI, but it's very lucrative and necessary to the work that we do today. So she's blending her own personal goal with the needs of the organization.

Mark Baldino (26:55.35)
Right. Which draws that connection for… very helpful for the designer to be thinking, because that translation of… I think it's a natural question of how is my contribution on a day in and day out basis as individual contributor contributing to the bigger picture of the business. And then they can see in this example in front of them, like, okay, here's some actual practical steps I can take and it's going to benefit me, it's going to benefit and in the long run benefit the kind of organization as a whole. So it sounds like it's kind of part of your process of goal setting and mentorship and growing designers is at a very basic level, combining what they have from a goal perspective to the goals of the organization, and that creates that case. And you've never had any... I don't want to say you'd have pushback because I think...

Mollie Cox (27:45.833)

Mark Baldino (27:52.17)
Hopefully business leaders sort of understand that. But I think you're taking a long-term view of humans, and I think sometimes businesses take a shorter-term view of humans from an output and a production perspective. But I'm assuming as long as everyone's getting their job done, work's getting done, we're producing as a design team along those metrics, then it's not sort of an issue to take this tact, which is much more like a hands-on individual growth.

I'm not trying to create a problem that would exist, but I've worked at enough companies that I know sometimes this approach might feel like it's not totally in alignment with the business. Even if you're helping individuals align with the business, does the business kind of seeing the output of the business?

Mollie Cox (28:33.524)

You know, I think that's a great point. And I think we also have to remember like how the market has evolved and how the needs of employees have evolved. You know, we've got, shall we talk about Gen Z? I don't know, but like, you know, we've got these new mindsets raising up and expectations are different and work-life balance, all of these things. And I think as an organization, um, there is an expectation now that, um, I will have leveling, I will have a growth path. I will have these things. You will grow me.

Right. And so to some extent, whether it's outside of what our business goals are, it's also if you look at the people side, it's part of talent. It's part of retention. Look, I know, like I said, I feel pretty lucky because we know on average, people are going to leave right, but the longer tenure we have at this point, especially in a startup software company. If we have somebody stay eight years, you're doing something right. Right. And, but, but again, I think it's really in alignment with expectations.

To go back to what you said, I've never really run into a problem with it. I've seen, I've been in organizations where they put a two hour time slot every flip Friday on your calendar for personal development, right? They want everybody to do personal development in that two hour. Well, what do I do? I don't know. Am I supposed to get on like what am I supposed to do? And so this is a very tangible way to say, these are the areas you wanna grow, let's make it applicable to here. They don't have to bucket time on their calendar. They're just applying it to what they do every day.

Mark Baldino (29:54.894)
I don't like post-credit, so it's not always a good idea.

Mark Baldino (30:06.795)
Yeah, right. Because if they don't know what to do, and this is not any discredit, it's like they're probably gonna pull their laptop screen down and just like breathe for a while, right? Like, you know, it's like stuff's hard and it's challenging and, you know, in the remote world sort of adds to all of that. But I think it's, I think you're doing some amazing work helping develop designers, but also helping them understand how their development contributes to the bigger picture. Then there's, as you said, there's the other side of the coin there, which is the expectation has really changed for what employment means. And I think you talk about leveling, but I think there's a lot of concrete things that are important to employees in general, but certainly designers, because that's my team, that are more important now in the remote world and maybe generationally, and a lot of the softer stuff that was of value to employees 10 years ago, 15 years ago, like it's just not as valuable. And I think it does go down to that work-life balance, which I frankly think is a healthy thing. The ancillary benefits of working at a company that are really cultural, but also require, you know, extra hours in the office. And you know, that sort of trade-off, I think, isn't as, I think it's actually in a healthier space, which is let's create some...better divisions between the work we do and let's focus on the value of just that nine to five and give employees what it is they seek. I think you're right. If there's a case to be made, it is about retention and talent management and ensuring that people have space to grow within their role or as you said, maybe at the next organization down the line.

Mark Baldino (31:57.026)
Thank you for your time. I'm also going to do a plug for your LinkedIn feed wall posts. I don't know what we call that thing. I think it's a feed. Either way, I found you through your feed because people were liking your content. It's engaging. It has a great sense of fun to it and playfulness, but it's really educational in nature. It's actually fantastic. So I encourage anybody to listen to this and we'll put a link to it to Mollie's LinkedIn to connect with you or follow you on LinkedIn. Is there any other things you're working on, people can find you, anything you wanted to say, hey, reach out to me here outside of LinkedIn?

Mollie Cox (32:36.856)
Uh, yeah. So also thanks for the super kind words on the content that I'm putting out. You, you know how all of that is it's all experimentation. So, um, but, um, I've also, you know, going back down the path of education, I've been on ADP list, um, doing mentorship. Now I know there's a lot of different sides to ADP lists. Some people love it. Some people don't. Um, but ultimately my goal of being there is really giving back to our community right now find me there. I'm always open. I just started doing it in January 3rd was my first day of doing it and I'm at 42 sessions and over 1300 minutes now. So third. Yes, yes, yes.

Mark Baldino (33:19.854)
Wait, since January 3rd of this year? Amazing.

Mollie Cox (33:23.952)
Yeah, so again, I've met phenomenal people, just really stellar thinkers, all the way from, you know, junior designers just wanting portfolio reviews. My favorite has been working with senior designers on problems who are solo designers at their organization, and I'm giving them goals, giving them a plan, and they're coming back the next week, and we're reviewing it together. So it's been a lot of fun, so if you're interested in that, come find me on ADP.

Mark Baldino (33:50.274)
Fantastic. I hope we drive more people to you. I don't know how you have the time in the day to do all that you're doing, but I just want to say thank you for giving back to the community, which is, you know, it's given me a lot and obviously has you as well, but it's much appreciated. And I love the fact that mentorship doesn't have to be, I'm just out of a boot camp. I mean, that's really important component. I'm in my first role, but solo practitioners at companies who are struggling. I don't know. But really hard challenges and don't have the resources. That's just absolutely invaluable to the community. So, well, thank you for your time today. Thanks for helping educate the listeners here on your sort of leadership style and on radical softness. It is really much appreciated. We'll include links to your LinkedIn and your ADP list when we post the episode. So thank you again.

Mollie Cox (34:41.076)
Awesome, I really appreciate it Mark. Thank you for having me here. It's been a joy.
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