Team Member Profile: Michele Connors, Marketing Director

Michele recently joined InspiringApps as our Marketing Director. She comes with a wealth of experience in marketing, especially for the active and outdoor markets, due to her 15 plus years working for the GORE-TEX brand.

Michele grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she spent her days running around the neighborhood, meeting friends at the pool, and playing kickball in the streets. Some of her favorite childhood memories stem from camping in the gorgeous hills of central Pennsylvania.

Although she attended a high school with a strong STEM emphasis, an interest in broadcast cable led Michele to begin her college years as a Communications student at Penn State University. She soon realized, though, that she missed being more technically focused.  She switched gears to engineering, and graduated with high honors in Mechanical Engineering in 1993, confident she’d still be able to use her communication skills along the way.

After college, Michele accepted a position at W.L. Gore & Associates, a company known for its unique corporate structure and innovative products. She worked in product and technology development for a number of years, then moved to product management, and finally landed in the marketing world. Michele jokes that joining the marketing group was likened to “going to the dark side” since she was no longer involved with product technology or development. But the dark side was kind to Michele. In a recent 3-year period, she achieved strong GORE-TEX® brand presence online and doubled the number of sites telling their brand story.

Michele has always loved the business side of things. She enjoys watching the lights go on as potential customers realize why a product is worth their money. At InspiringApps, she is excited for the opportunity to spread the word about what we do well, helping us to grow into new market areas. We are thankful for her dark-side experience!

Outside of work, Michele loves to help create community, often over a shared meal or a glass of wine!  She is grateful to live near world-class mountains, and getting to hike, camp and ski in them is a fabulous treat – especially if friends or family are involved too.  Michele and her husband are raising four kids, so many weekends involve sporting events, Girl Scout activities, or other kid-centric fun. “It’s a full life,” Michele states, “but I am very grateful for it.”

Happy Holidays!

From our team to you, we’d like to wish you an inspiring holiday season. We’re grateful for all of you and look forward to working with you in the New Year!

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Team Member Profile: Aaron Lea, Senior UX/UI Designer

Aaron joined the InspiringApps team earlier this year after moving to Colorado from Texas in 2010. Art runs in his blood: “We have a lot of artists in my family – one of my family members was even an animator on Pinocchio.

Aaron grew up wanting to be a comic book artist. While he was working on improving his skills, he started using Photoshop and Illustrator. “A lot of people were making comics with them, so I learned how to use the software,” he said. His appreciation for UI and UX grew out of his experiences with bad design. “A lot of comic book artists were making great art, but the design didn’t flow with the story.” With most media transitioning from print to web, Aaron chose to embrace the change instead fighting it, and he learned the ins and outs of web design.

A huge movie buff, Aaron’s favorite project was the first film he worked on, Bubba Ho-Tep: “It was such a weird film, and I got to work with one of my favorite horror icons.” His experience doing viral marketing for the project led to an interest in the psychology of how people responded to various marketing and design strategies. This fed into his UI knowledge and helped him grow his web design skillset.

Here at InspiringApps, Aaron helps bring our apps to life. “I take the clients’ words and descriptions of how they’d like the app to look, and I visualize it on screen,” he said. Aaron pays special attention to a client’s brand and their intended audience, developing the workflow of how an app will be used and adding aesthetics. He has a unique method of creating wireframes. “My wireframes are ‘mid-fidelity,’” he explained. “That’s probably not a real word, but I try to give a better picture of what the art will look like than most low-fidelity wireframes.” After the developers have finished, Aaron then returns to the designs and fine-tunes the artwork.

Aaron’s favorite part of living in the Boulder area is the great beer, and his favorite kinds reveal the artist in him. “I love drinking beer out of a well-designed bottle,” he said. Aaron loves Left Hand Brewing Company’s Wake Up Dead, whose label was designed by local agency, Moxie Sozo.

In his spare time, Aaron likes to get creative. “I’m a very DIY person, so I’m always working on a new project,” he said. Right now, he’s building a screen press so he can print some of the art projects he’s done. Aaron is also a self-professed Instructables junkie and father to three “wonderful little boys.”

SXSW: Making Sense of it All

Looking back at SXSW, I found the most success in the least expected places. The panels that I was least excited about ended up impressing me the most. They were not the most highly attended or flashy, but they were spoken from one start-up to another.
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