Team Spotlight: Meet Jillian & Erik

We are excited to welcome Jillian Larson to the Traceable Change family! Jillian joins us to further reinforce our core UX offerings across strategy, research and design. She brings years of experience researching and designing across numerous industries and products. At her most recent position at GrubHub, Jillian was instrumental in an initiative to uncover and understand the experiential journeys within the GrubHub ecosystem, across restaurant establishments, drivers, and diners. Prior to her time at GrubHub, Jillian had extensive experience in healthcare UX. We feel very fortunate to have Jillian be part of our growing team!

Last year (well before Tracing Paper was born), we had the great fortune of welcoming Erik Barraza to the Traceable Change team! Erik brought years of industry experience to the team, having run his own design and development shop prior to joining Traceable Change. Erik’s past life as a developer enables us to deepen our partnerships with clients by enabling us to work alongside developers and engineers throughout the implementation process. Erik has already played instrumental roles in our client collaborations, from branding and logo design to front-end design and development. Erik is also the sketch artist extraordinaire for our Tracing Paper posts!

Both Jillian and Erik were formally trained and educated as Industrial Designers, and they will play a key role in continuing to push our perspective that UX is a holistic network of physical, digital and social.


Now let's get to the fun stuff...

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Jillian: Earlier today in the office. I work with hilarious people.
Erik: All the time…the internet provides a plethora of funny videos. That explains why I can’t get anything done at home. 

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jillian: A Doritos Locos Cheesy Gordita Crunch (no beef, substitute beans) from Taco Bell, followed by a small waffle cone at Jeni’s with a combination of Sweet Cream and Salted Peanut Butter w/ Chocolate Flecks ice cream. This will likely lead to an early death.
Erik: Does coffee count as a meal?

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
Jillian: I’d love to work in a greenhouse. Being surrounded by plants and working with my hands seems like a great gig.
Erik: Astronaut at the International Space Station, but only one day. I have a fear of heights, so I’d want to be back on solid ground ASAP.

What tv show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love?
Jillian: I’m an avid fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette. I participate in two Bachelor fantasy leagues and usually win at least one of them each season.
Erik: Mean Girls…well I’m not actually ashamed of that one. I think my friends are more ashamed for me.


Where is your favorite place to eat in Chicago?
Jillian: Longman and Eagle. It was my first foray into fine dining when I came to Chicago, and it’s still my go-to for incredible food and cocktails.
Erik: Any place that offers good breakfast. I love breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch and breakfast for dinner. I’m a “regular” at Nookies in Edgewater.


Credit: Nookies

Tell us something interesting about your hometown.
Jillian: We didn’t get our first stoplight until I was 14 years old. It’s still the only one in town.
Erik: We didn’t have running potable water, or proper sewage until 2002. I grew up having to carry water up a hill from the river for everyday needs. To this day, there are no paved roads. Also my town is named after the day it was founded: “Diez de Abril” (April 10th)


Erik's hometown in Mexico

Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster?
Jillian: Without question, a tiny elephant. How adorable would a tiny elephant be?
Erik: I would rather be a tiny elephant. Hamsters are cute because of their size, but would probably be terrifying at a large scale. Elephants stay cute at any scale and they are smarter!

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
Jillian: I spent most of my free time in high school at local hardcore/metal concerts.
Erik: Aside from my fear of heights? I have very short pinkies. I think that’s more of a deformity, but it’s still weird.

Describe what you were like at age 10.
Erik: I was attempting a 30 mile walk home from school and pretty much getting lost all the time, and getting grounded in the process.

What would be the title of your autobiography?
Jillian: There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Cheese; The Jillian Larson Story


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