Meet Felipe Borja | UX Designer
Meet the PRISMAtes and get to know our team! In this series, our employees tell us a little about themselves and their journey to PRISMA. Let's start and meet Felipe!
"The halloumi is ready. Would anybody like another?" Felipe stands at the grill on the office balcony at PRISMA. It's one of those proper Spring days, sunny and fresh, which beckons you to fire up the grill. And Felipe didn’t need much convincing. "I enjoy doing this. Next time, someone else will take my place while I eat and bask in the sunshine. We have enough grilling enthusiasts on the team."
Some colleagues approach Felipe with plates, while others have finished eating and are now chatting over coffee - about work, about life, everything and anything. “PRISMA has a very unique work culture. That's what appealed to me from the beginning."
Back in Chile: Working 8 to 8
In his previous job, this wouldn't have been possible. While still living in Chile, Felipe worked as a Supply Category Manager for a retail company. He was responsible for planning and negotiating the purchase of different types of operational supplies for several distribution centers and over 47 stores around Chile.
It was not uncommon for him to work from 8am to 8pm with an hour-long commute. "It was a stressful time," Felipe recalls, "but that’s pretty normal in Chile. You either work in retail, banking, or commodity production. Eventually, I decided it was too much and went traveling."
Travelling to take a break
Felipe then traveled for two years, spending time in Australia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Patagonia. In 2018, he decided to stay in Germany for six months. "My brother was already living here in Leipzig. So, Germany wasn'tcompletely foreign to me. But I wanted to see more."
To him, there was a lot to like about Germany – the quality of life, the safety, but especially the educational and professional opportunities. That’s when he started toying with the idea of moving here. He was determined to avail himself of those opportunities. With newfound eagerness, Felipe began looking for a master's program. Soon, he found an MBA taught in English at the University of Leipzig.
But first, he had to go back to Chile.
Travelling to settle
His heart set on a new goal, Felipe started a new job in Chile as the Regional Manager of a chain of gas station convenience stores. Despite all the responsibility, the job wasn't as stressful as his previous one. "But during my travels, I had already developed the desire to go to another country," explains Felipe. "I wanted to go to Germany."
Deciding no further delay was warranted, he finally put his plan into action and moved to Leipzig later that year. At first, he worked remotely. He started working as a Brand Representative in Germany, helping a Chilean wine company make headway in the German market. Yet, in 2019, work had to take the back seat – Felipe started his new degree: an MBA at the University of Leipzig. Always diligent, he decided to devote more time to his studies and reduce his hours.
Work was, however, still a necessity. "I was totally happy about this opportunity, but of course, I had to finance my studies somehow." He considered all kinds of professions, from macro to minijobs (to use one of those odd German-made English expressions). With entrepreneurial spirit, he thought about pursuing an e-commerce idea to sell coffee – but that was a full-time project, which would have to wait. Then, he settled for delivering beverage crates. "It was really a classic college student experience," adds Felipe with a grin.
A new work life with PRISMA
In 2021, he stumbled upon a work student job post from PRISMA. He was thrilled when he read it. It seemed like the perfect fit: an international team, English as the company language, an IT company in the energy sector with which Felipe was somewhat familiar. Last but not least, they were looking for someone who could support them in marketing. Marketing is his specialty.
PRISMA thought Felipe was a perfect fit too. As a work student, Felipe supported the Customer Success Team with communications. In particular, he assisted them in developing a SEO strategy, creating content for newsletters and the company website. He became an expert in Google Analytics. After a year, his employment ended only because he graduated. You can’t be a work student if you’re not a student: a small logical problem. But Felipe wanted to stay at PRISMA.
“I was so impressed by the work culture and the development opportunities offered by PRISMA.” However, it was primarily the people he met that inspired him the most. "It's extraordinary how much you can learn from an international team. People from different countries offer a vast array of perspectives. They're a huge source of knowledge, and not just professionally. When you learn about different cultures and how people think, you become more complete."
Take a step back to gain momentum
In his year at PRISMA, Felipe learned a lot about the energy industry, but also about himself and his interests. He was certain he wanted to stay at PRISMA. Yet, he discovered a passion for UX Design and, with the encouragement of PRISMA, decided to pursue that path. "I wanted to get into UX Design. I had dabbled in it during my MBA and found it very exciting. Whenever I had business ideas, I always reached a point where I needed a website or a shop. After taking a workshop on the topic, I was hooked."
Felipe asked PRISMA if he could be a UX intern, a position that did not exist. Yet, PRISMA recognized his potential and created the position for him. It was 2022, and the Master of Business Administration started his new career as a UX Designer. In more than one way, Felipe is the living proof it’s never too late to pursue your passions and begin your career anew.
"If you move to a new country to start a new life, you must be open to new possibilities. It’s vital to keep an open mind, to be curious and ready to learn new things. At PRISMA, I can really design my own future as I please." The internship lasted five months. After learning the ropes of this new job, Felipe was hired as a UX Design Trainee.
One year of intense learning for the new goal
Since then, Felipe has been following an intensive training schedule. His mentor is PRISMA's Senior User Experience Manager, Michaela Wawrok. Under her guidance, Felipe has been studying UX methods and skills, while assisting her in ongoing projects. His training requires him to reconcile theory and practice.
Step by step, Felipe is also taking more responsibility at PRISMA. He is now responsible for usability tests, the creation of prototypes, and some aspects of platform design. "I do a little bit of everything," explains Felipe, "We are a team of just two people, while some companies often have twenty people working on one project. But the more you do, the more you learn."
Recently, Felipe has occupied his time with tests and user interviews. "I really value these interviews, because they allow us to put the needs of our users at the forefront. That’s how you ensure design conforms to the experience of actual users and not the other way around. That's exactly what UX Design should do."
If ambition meets freedom and opportunities
You can hear his enthusiasm about UX Design in his voice. Felipe is very thankful that PRISMA helped him get started in this new field and supported him throughout his development.
"I appreciate the flexibility that PRISMA provides. An 8 to 8 job would not work for me anymore." Recently, Felipe moved to a suburb of Leipzig with his wife and young son. In his opinion, remote work is a huge advantage. Sometimes, he prefers to work from home for an entire week. At PRISMA, we recognize that people can be just as productive at home.
"Nobody is checking if you worked the hours, you should work because it's about trust. It's about delivering the things you are asked to deliver. If that takes you less time, it's completely okay. If it takes you more time, you can recover later.”
It's this trust-based approach to teamwork that Felipe values so much. For him, there’s no better way to motivate employees to grow and build something together. His appreciation is such that he convinced his friend, Juan Pablo, to apply to PRISMA. Long story short: in June, Juan Pablo joined Felipe and now works as a Frontend Developer at PRISMA.
In August 2023, Felipe was officially promoted to Junior UX Designer. He never shies away from new challenges and responsibilities.