An Interview with Bianca Pasternack

An Interview with Bianca Pasternack

In civilian words, how would you describe your job?

I use design to bring Ethyca’s brand to life and share what we do with the world. My job involves communicating complex privacy concepts and processes to our users, and making the privacy compliance process as painless as possible! I create clear communication and documentation to help our users understand how to use our product and to make privacy compliance approachable.

That sounds like a lot to do! Can you tell us about your creative process?

I try to look at things from the perspective of a person who may not know much about privacy compliance or our company. From there, I communicate the big-picture information of what they need to know through images and words. Also, we’re a young company, so we’re finding our brand, our voice, our style. Some of my job is to take what we already have and think about how to adapt it to different mediums. I ask, “What is the way the Ethyca brand would say/do XYZ? What is our personality as a brand, and how does that impact how we say and do different things?”

That’s a great approach. Thanks for sharing! You started at Ethyca not that long before the pandemic started. What lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

Hmm… I’ve learned that I like working from home more than I thought I would. I think I would struggle with it if I was remote while most people were together in the office, but since it’s everyone remote it doesn’t bother me. I find it easier to manage my time and focus when I’m not in the office. It’s like the saying/meme: “that meeting should have been an email.” I’m learning when that’s true and when the reverse is true – when something should just be a quick “IRL” (meaning video call) interaction instead of 700 messages back and forth. Sometimes it’s faster to just talk, but it’s hard when it’s all virtual because “a quick call” feels so much more formal than a quick conversation in the kitchen or something. Also, I’ve been learning to ask people if they need help and to proactively offer help myself. We can’t see how other people are doing and what they need unless we ask.

That’s all very true, and I can totally see what you’re saying – a quick convo by the water coolers is just gone… On that note, is there anyone who would you like to have a 30-minute meeting with? It could be anyone in the world!

Probably some designers (of different types, not just visual design) whose work I really respect. But I’m blanking on who they are right now! And thinking about it, I would probably just be nervous and awkward!

All good, being stressed sucks! I heard you enjoy crafting. What else do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Working out, improv practice, trying new restaurants (mostly delivery these days), cooking and baking, listening to podcasts, walking around and exploring, doom-scrolling.

Oh yeah, that’s a great list! Would you share your favorite podcasts?

Some fav podcasts:

  • Imaginary Worlds: great if you like sci-fi, fantasy, and/or comics
  • Ear Hustle: about the daily realities of life inside prison, shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration
  • 99% Invisible: about design, architecture and the ninety-nine percent invisible activity that shapes our world

Have you learned any new skills in the past year? It’s been a wild time, for sure!

Sewing masks! My sewing machine had been gathering dust for the past few (many) years. This has been a good way to practice my skills again, and to start working through my stash of fabric. Oh, and I also learned about one-pot pasta, and made a soufflé. 

What advice can you share with other superwomen (like you are) in training?

Be curious and talk to people about what they do and what they are interested in. Pre-COVID, I went to a lot of networking events because I like learning and meeting people. It’s harder now, but it can still be effective to reach out online to people you admire. Not with a boilerplate ask, but with genuine curiosity. Also, take an improv class. It’s not just about performing, but about learning to deal with uncertainty and go with the flow, and learning to support the people on your team, whatever kind of team that is. And it’s about learning how to go in with an open mind even when you have no idea what is going to happen. Some people are really freaked out by the idea of doing improv, but we’re all doing improv all the time, because no one knows what’s going to happen next. Improv training just helps you learn to approach uncertainty differently. But other people say that 100 times more eloquently than I can. Finally, I’d say: call your loved ones, wear sunscreen, find some exercise/wellness activity you like, and do it consistently.