In honor of Women’s History Month, we are bringing back our Women in Tech series, which celebrates women in STEM careers who are experienced leaders in the tech industry. Gender diversity in the technology workplace is still far behind other industries. At 3D Cloud™ by Marxent, we continue to advocate and support outstanding women who push the industry forward. So, grab yourself a coffee, pull up a chair, and meet —-
Lorna Jean Marcuzzo
Lorna Jean Marcuzzo is a Senior Digital Project Manager at MillerKnoll who has transitioned from a background in interior architecture and design to working with emerging technologies. She specialized in 3D rendering during her school years and spent a decade leading innovation efforts for contract design dealers and customers. At MillerKnoll, she focuses on emerging technology and 3D visualization efforts, which she thoroughly enjoys because it allows her team to constantly look forward to what’s next and find creative ways to make visionary ideas a reality.
What sparked your interest in working in the tech industry?
In the architecture and design field, we are always looking for ways to help our clients better visualize final results – whether it’s one specific product or a multi-floor space. The technology that supports these efforts has come an unbelievably long way in the past 10 – 15 years, and the rate at which it continues to improve is incredibly exciting to me. I’ve always wanted to be at the forefront of every new feature and capability I could bring to my companies for visualization. This led me to raise my hand every time an opportunity came up to try out a new technology, and I haven’t stopped since.
What steps did you take to become a Senior Digital Project Manager for MillerKnoll, the leader in modern design?
My path to digital product management was definitely not typical or direct. When I was a designer, I immersed myself in the digital tools that I was using and did everything I could to become a subject matter expert. Over time these software companies began asking me to present at user conferences and join beta testing groups. From there, I moved into working directly with the teams building new digital tools and eventually found myself creating the roadmap and leading strategy.
How do you differentiate yourself from others?
I feel it’s how I deliver new and often technical information. I was lucky enough to spend many years in the marketing department creating visualization content, and I learned a lot about the value of presenting new information in easily-digestible and accessible ways. I always strive to share dynamic content that gets people excited while educating them on how these new technologies actually work. I believe this has differentiated me as a valuable and accessible resource and ally.
What are your tips for thriving both personally and professionally?
As a self-admitted workaholic, my number #1 tip would be to take time off for no reason. I am a huge offender of only taking a vacation for a scheduled trip or big event. Sometimes you really do just need to step away from the day-to-day to get your next big idea. And then encourage your team to do the same. I remind my team members at least once a month to look ahead on their calendars and choose some days at random to take off and recharge.
Looking at the hottest technology in retail right now, which one stands out to you and why?
In retail specifically, I would say any technologies that further accessibility to products and product information, whether it’s at-home try-on capabilities, virtual tours of stores that aren’t within driving distance, or digital management of information on products that you’ve already purchased. Online shoppers have taken product research to the next level, which means that retailers need to find new and more personalized ways to bring their products to customers.
What advice do you have for younger generations who want to work in the tech industry?
My advice would be to find something you’re passionate about and then identify who is working to improve it through technology and how you can get involved.
I’m not sure if I could ever work in digital product management for a bank because I’m not passionate about the finance industry like I am about design. But if you are, you should go for it! Every industry has so many opportunities for improvement by leveraging new and improved technologies.
I recently had an amazing conversation with a young student who originally set out to attend med school. Part-way through, after gaining some real-world experience, they pivoted their degree to computer science because they were inspired to want to improve the technology that healthcare workers use every day and how patients access that healthcare in the future. That’s the kind of passion that I think you need to have if you want to try to make big changes in even larger industries.
What is your best leadership advice?
My best leadership advice is to put a capable team in place and lead from behind while acknowledging progress and wins often. When you have an amazing team, I think it’s all about working behind the scenes to set them up for success – one of my core tenets as a manager is to remove obstacles before they’re even encountered. Arm your team with the support and tools that they need, and then trust them to produce results that delight and inspire.
Thank you for your time, Lorna Jean. We appreciate the opportunity to hear your story and personal experiences. As a partner, we love to watch you innovate and succeed at MillerKnoll.
Keep an eye out for the next Women in Tech feature, and if you would like to participate, shoot us a message on LinkedIn.