Knowing Rochel: Inspiration Personified

By Devon Higgins

Rochel, PhotoUp’s Director of Product, is full of energy. Always wearing a wide smile at work, she radiates enthusiasm and vigor. This is definitely a good thing, considering that she, along with her team, holds an important role in the creation and evolution of PhotoUp’s products.

To learn more about Rochel and her role at PhotoUp, we asked her a few questions.

Q: Tell us more who Rochel is.

A: I am a passionate designer who likes to create quality products. I do this by looking for the best solutions with the collaboration of creative and innovative people. Beyond my corporate life, I love watercolor painting, digital painting, and calligraphy. Fluffy dogs are my weakness.

Q: Can you explain your role at PhotoUp?

A: I’m the company’s Director of Product. I oversee the successful design, development, and deployment of all product offerings of our company. An important task of mine is to ensure that everyone in the Product department is happy with his or her job.

Q: How do you inspire the team under you?

A: I show them how much I love and enjoy design. I always tell my team to see the brighter side of life. I constantly remind them to find value in what they do and to take pride in their work. Every day, I always do what I can to motivate my teammates to enjoy their work, push themselves, and flourish.

But inspiring them isn’t really a problem, because I already have the work laid out for me. Meaning, my teammates are already self-assured, confident, and happy people.

pizza party when we hit milestonesRochel and some of her team celebrating hitting a milestone with pizza!

Q: What challenges do you face as a leader?

A: I want to deliver top-quality products—software and designs that the company will be proud of. To achieve this, I often veer away from the simplest or laziest solutions. But, my attention to detail, foresight, and intense testing can be stressful for me or my team. Balancing between strict quality control and the team’s happiness in creating those products is a big challenge, and there are times that I have to sacrifice one or the other.

Q: You have a bubbly personality despite the tough demands of your job. What’s your secret?

A: Three things. First, I have my teammates, my colleagues in PhotoUp, friends, and loved ones who support me in my endeavors. Second, when I’m part of the design process, I feel useful and needed; it boosts my morale. Lastly, I assign myself one “personal and lazy” day at least twice a month where I just recharge away from people.

Q: Has your experience working at PhotoUp improved you personally and professionally? How?

A: Definitely! I now have a more positive perspective with people. You see, we have quite varied personalities here at PhotoUp. Kristian, Godwinh (my first project lead), and Ms. Rouie showed me that I need to genuinely care for people in order to become an effective leader.

I admit my mistakes, but I am quite a sensitive person. My sensitivity sometimes hinders me from moving forward. Thankfully, my first team, FolioWebsites, has been very patient and helped me overcome this trigger of mine.

Professionally, I couldn’t possibly be happier with my position. I started out as the company’s first designer. I became a Lead Designer, then a Director of Product in less than 2 years. For me, that is quite an achievement. The people around me have put a lot of trust in me.

Rochel and the Folio team before a project demo.

Q: You have been invited to several talks and seminars on the IT industry. Tell us more about those.

A: One of my best friends asked me to take her place during the first TechLadies forum held in the Philippines. For me, this was an honor as it was my first time to talk about technology in public. Mainly, I shared with them how I got into the design industry. Believe me, it was nerve wracking at first. But later, I noticed that everyone was listening attentively. They laughed at my jokes, and it was the first time I felt that my level of energy was accepted and appreciated. The feedback I got after the event was surprisingly positive.

After the successful TechLadies event, I was invited to share insights and expertise as one of the Women Techmakers by Google Developers Group Cebu. I talked about design, resume tips, career paths in design, and design workflow. Oh, would you believe I sang during the event? It was fun!

Recently, I shared tips and tricks of Photoshop Web Designing to the Drupal Cebu Community.

tech ladies where i talk about how i got into designRochel with some of the ladies at the TechLadies event.

Q: How does it feel to share information and inspire young and aspiring IT specialists?

A: It’s humbling and amazing. I feel great when I see them motivated and empowered! I love designing, and I wish to share it with everyone!

Q: Any advice to people who want to venture into the tech industry?

A: Just do it! Whatever your passion is, wherever your happiness is, follow it. Don’t make excuses. Will you fail? Will you succeed? Are you going to like it? You won’t find out unless you go ahead, take the first step, and do it!

–What an amazing young woman! We are very grateful to have Rochel as an inspiring leader. We thank you for your commitment to Photoup and its mission, which is to inspire employees and clients to flourish both personally and professionally. After hearing from Rochel, it seems like she is doing both of these and helping others to flourish personally and professionally as well.

Devon

Devon came to PhotoUp with a background in digital marketing and communications. With a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University and previous experience working with both big business and non-profits, Devon brings a well-rounded perspective to the team. Outside of PhotoUp, you can find Devon coaching and playing soccer, socializing in downtown Grand Rapids, or going on adventures throughout the great state of Michigan.

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