Our “Meet the Team” series profiles the creative and curious people of First Mode. We are driven to find purposeful technology solutions to the world’s most important challenges. We take our work seriously but ourselves not too seriously. Want to work with us? View our open positions here.
Hi Camille! What do you do at First Mode?
I am a Senior Designer on the Human-Centered Design team.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on a variety of projects—from 3D visuals that communicate our vision and scope for zero-emission vehicle projects, to an interactive VR simulator that lets us and our customers experience something that hasn’t been built yet, to design concepts for an exciting space project.
What is great about human-centered design and why is this important?
Human-centered design allows our incredible engineering achievements to take on a human focus, whether that means communicating complex systems and processes to stakeholders, training operators and users effectively and engagingly, starting from the ground up to understand the users’ needs and ensuring our designs meet these, or anything else.
What drew you to First Mode originally?
The first thing that caught my eye was that First Mode worked with the space industry and had a new office in Perth. I have always loved space, and to have something in my hometown which explored this area was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
The second thing that caught my eye was the sustainability and clean energy use cases for what we do, which meant that we could make the Earth a better place in addition to exploring the universe!
The third—and possibly most important—thing that caught my eye was that the company seemed to have a big focus on people and culture. We spend so much of our waking life at work that for me it’s a requirement to work with a good bunch of people who you get along with and who can teach and inspire you.
How did your passion for design and technology begin?
I grew up with three brothers and loved playing video games with them, so I was always around computers and devices of some description. I enjoyed creating things too, and so, inspired by (and partially ripping off) the games I was playing, I started to make pixel art on good old Microsoft Paint. I got deeper into digital design, then programming and software, and eventually found myself in a career built around emerging digital technologies, where the possibilities seem endless and the learning is constant.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Related story: Meet Aidan Morgan: Principal Software Architect at First Mode
What does your typical day look like?
My mornings are either focused on getting solid work done while the office is quiet, or having early meetings with the team in Seattle from home. Depending on the project I’ll either be doing 3D-related designs or programming for most of the day, having a collaborative design meeting, bantering with the Aussie team during lunch at our awesome long table, or trying unsuccessfully to avoid the office snack trolley.
Did you have a hero or heroine figure growing up?
I didn’t look up to a particular person growing up, but rather bits and pieces of many people I have met along the way: People who are driven, people who show me what good leadership is all about, people who display empathy and logic at the same time, and people like my mother who achieved great things in the face of adversity.
Do you have a mantra, a motto, or a mission statement?
I like the saying, “If you don’t like something, change it, and if you can’t change it, change your attitude.” For me it feels quite empowering—it reminds me that there is a lot we can actually do to make our lives the way we want them to be, if we put our minds to it.
Could you point to a project that you are most proud of?
It’s not a specific project, but I am most proud of the parts of my career that were the most challenging. Some of the challenges were more technical or organizational, and from them I learned a lot. The most difficult ones tested my values and ability to stand up for myself and others, and those are the ones which have shaped me the most.
What do you think is the most significant discovery or human endeavor of the last few years?
The successful (so far) mission of the James Webb Space Telescope is the one that has excited me the most in the last few years. Realizing how microscopic we are in this universe, but also how far we have come and how far we could go, is humbling and motivating at the same time. The insights we will gain from JWST will hopefully unlock many, many more discoveries about everything around us, as well as our past and our future in the universe.
Related story: Space.com: 30 years and $10 billion later, the James Webb Space Telescope is finally on the launch pad
Why does it matter that we keep inventing, testing, and creating?
Because with great power comes great responsibility (and great curiosity!).
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I love being creative, active, or relaxed—so a combination of things like writing stories, boxing, gym, and hiking in nice scenery. But mostly I like being a lazy slug at home, which I’m doing a lot more these days because I’m expecting!
Have you learned anything especially great in the last year?
On a related note, I have learned a lot about how tiny humans are grown, and it is truly fascinating!