Today’s Tech Role Model is Shayna Hodkin. Shayna is the Managing Editor of the InVision blog, and even though her dad doesn’t know what that means, he’s still very proud. She is a writer, vegan, dog mom, plant mom, and Socialist. Shayna is from New York but lives in Tel Aviv, and she swears that this is the year she’s going to learn how to drive.
What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?
Managing Editor, Inside Design. At InVision since August 2018 so, ten months.
What attracted you to this managing editor role?
InVision is the kind of company that everyone—well, lots of people—want to join. I had been writing for the blog for nearly two years and was quickly losing steam at a startup when the position opened, so the choice to go for it was obvious.
The role itself holds tremendous power within the design community, with InVision being such a prominent voice in digital design and the blog being so well-recognized. I was immediately drawn to the potential impact of developing such an incredible educational resource and taking an active role in building the design community that I want to be a part of.
Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?
Since InVision is a remote company, I don’t have an office that I have to show up to every day (or pants that have to be worn). I have a home office instead that I’ve decorated for max comfort, plus a pretty sweet balcony work setup.
Being Tel Aviv-based at an American company means my day is pretty backwards. My hours are usually 14h-22h, which means I have to reverse some of the stereotypes I can’t shake about late risers being lazy people.
I do my best not to check email or Slack until I’ve officially signed on for the day, but I usually peek in the morning. Oh well.
My week is broken up into two kinds of days: meeting days and editing days. On my three meeting days, my calendar is basically “office hours” and I meet with whoever within/outside of the org wants to talk blog. Luckily, on those three days I still have the mornings free, before the Americans come online.
On editing days I turn off notifications on Slack and hunker down with Google Docs. For the complicated posts, I’ll have to print and edit manually, but I prefer to just tear up the screen.
What skills/technologies help you succeed?
!!!!!!!!!!!! GOOGLE DOCS !!!!!!!!!!!!
We use Jira for our editorial calendar, but I’m getting used to Notion in my personal life.
Slack and Zoom are the basis of good remote communication.
Being nice is, apparently, a rare skill.
Knowing how to communicate written-ly is the most valuable skill I can imagine. If you can’t convey what you know, then what’s it worth?
What’s the most fun or creative part of your managing editor role?
The most fun is going to community events, and the most creative is brainstorming cool campaigns for boring ideas (product launches, etc)
What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?
Maintaining inbox zero.
Also, working remote can be really difficult, especially when you’re super emotional and insecure. I started at InVision with pretty serious PTSD from being laid off from a horrible job and I was certain that every day was my last. Without having a manager with me to walk me through issues and problems, even basic, normal ones, I was feeling unmoored.
With a lot of patience from my manager, money spent on therapy, and time spent relieving stress, these feelings of impending doom have basically disappeared.
What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?
Our sales team and I work quite closely together to figure out how to feature InVision customers in blog posts. This gives me the chance to work with people who don’t consider themselves writers on building storylines and creating word magic.
What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your managing editor role?
I want to get more involved in the design community, give more talks, and help people grow and blossom in their roles.
In your role, what metrics define success?
Traffic = $$$$$$$$
Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?
Being nice! I interact with lots of people and need to be “on” for all of them. Being organized helps, though I am not and hey, still got it. Being a “go-getter” will help you find better stories and better writers.
What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this managing editor role?
My confidence has improved x1000000. I’m also way better at shutting up my anxiety to just do the dang thing. My role is a very public role, and the blog is a very well-known publication, so I don’t have the option of humoring performance anxiety and not publishing. Ya girl has to get posts up.