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Coffee With: New York Times Creative Technologist Lisa Godwin

Estimated reading time ~ 3 min
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Lisa Godwin
Location: New York, NY
Job: Creative Technologist, The New York Times
Education: B.S. in Computer Science, Norfolk University

What was your first job?

My first real job was at Liberty Tax as a technical support analyst. From there, I worked in various roles that allowed me to discover what area of software development I was really passionate about. I’m still a tax guru till this day! After that, I relocated to New York City and began my career at MTV Networks, moving from quality assurance into product management. Since MTV, I’ve launched products for amazing companies such as NBCUniversal, Complex Media, Major League Baseball, and my current company, The New York Times.

What do you spend the majority of your work day doing?

As a creative technologist at The Times, I consult across multiple departments within our organization on their technology strategies for ready-to-launch digital products, including online marketing campaigns. I also maintain the servers for our marketing department, where our branded sites live. My days are quite adventurous – there’s never a dull moment.

What advice do you wish you could have given yourself early on in your career?

Find a mentor in your field of work and build meaningful relationships. Identifying people who are willing to take you under their wing and show you how to navigate within corporations is invaluable.

How do you stay productive?

I write down weekly goals in my calendar. I also turned one of the walls in my apartment into a chalkboard, and I write on it daily to remind myself of what I’d like to accomplish. Meanwhile, my Google Calendar contains my life in a nutshell. If it’s not in my Gcal, it’s not valid!

What's an example of a professional accomplishment you're particularly proud of?

One of the most memorable moments of my career was working on the NCAA March Madness app. I was hired as a consultant to work on the iOS product roadmap, but I ended up wearing many hats in order to complete the app before the tournaments began. It was one of my biggest challenges, but also an amazing learning experience. The final product was one of the most downloaded sports apps. I’m extremely proud to have been a small piece of the puzzle behind it.

What do you look for when interviewing prospective hires?

Candidates who have done their research and are knowledgeable about the products we’re delivering always leave a good impression. When I worked at MTV, many people would come to an interview and have no clue about programming across any of the brands. A candidate who is truly invested in the opportunity should show interest in the overall goals of the position and be an advocate for the product.

What have you read recently that you’d recommend?

Boss Women Pray: 31 Prayers to Increase Your Success & Spirit by Kachelle Kelly. This is an amazing, inspirational book, especially for entrepreneurs and women in leadership roles. It’s the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read before bed.

Do you have a favorite saying?

Actor Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” If you don't come across the opportunity you want, you have to take the initiative to increase your chances of finding one. As a woman in technology, I have broken the traditional barriers and created opportunities I wanted for my success.

Images by Tina Boyadjieva

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