As Indiana’s tech community continues to grow and mature, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the winners for our annual Tech 25 Awards program. Clearly, there is a wealth of tech talent in the Hoosier state, and they are making incredible moves. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2020 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.

Poppe Guthrie is a passionate life-long learner and community builder. Growing up in rural Southern Indiana, she developed a worldly curiosity. Studying languages at Purdue, serving in Wyoming with AmeriCorpsVISTA, and gaining a graduate degree in Human-Computer Interaction Design at IUB gave her a platform to explore technology and the human experience. Feeling inspired to stay in Indiana, she founded the Indianapolis chapter of the Interaction Design Association, the annual Indy Design Week, as well as Indy Coffee Box with her husband. She is grateful to work with SEP and get the rare opportunity to build exceptional products with exceptional people.

Poppe’s humanity is what has helped her win over very large and prominent clients.—She understands and empathizes with her clients, which leads to better design and better outcomes. Poppe has a passion for community and serves them with the utmost integrity.

What led you to get into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?

When working with AmeriCorps, I had to use a very convoluted, frustratingly difficult to use CRM for nonprofits. My partner at the time was in CS, and we designed and built a custom system for me to use. The fire had been ignited. I knew this role had to be somebody’s job, and I wanted it. Even though I had built websites in high school and college, I never thought it could be my job until that time. This led to me discovering User Experience and the world of software development. I landed my first role as a UX intern with RideAmigos in Bloomington, effectively changing my path in life.

What are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?

At SEP, I typically will be responsible for facilitating product scoping and visioning, planning and executing user research activities, defining user workflows and interfaces, assisting with project and product road mapping, collaborating with another designer on the final visual aesthetic and motion UI interactions, supporting implementation with engineers, and defining compromises with engineering to save on technical debt. With IXDA & Indy Design Week, I plan our programming with both organizing boards, seek sponsorships, and manage logistics. I design Indy Coffee Box’s monthly inserts and ads and support monthly deliveries.

Which resources would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?

Come to IXDA! Come to Indy Design Week! Also, Rosenfeld media has a number of influential books. Get a mentor. Learn as much as you can about people in general, what their drivers are, how they make decisions, what people care or don’t care about, ethics, culture, etc. Everything can become relevant and informative in different contexts. This profession is centered around people and their lived experiences. You must learn to empathize, how to uncover what’s hidden, how to ask the right questions, as well as read between the lines. It’s not all something you can learn from a medium; it takes practice and sometimes working through the struggle.

Poppe Guthrie is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. She was nominated by her CEO, Raman Ohri. To learn more about the Tech 25 Awards, click here.

Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2020 Tech 25 honorees in the joint CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. You can also watch a video of the livestream from the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards virtual event.