Recent 2015 FCW Rising Stars award winner, Lindsay Burack, got a taste of government work while working on the Hill and then delved deeper into user experience (UX) design with a position at a DC startup. In 2013 she started at Sapient as an information architect on the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer.gov redesign project, combining her passions for serving the public good and creating user-friendly web design. Lindsay and her team not only reduced and combined the online content by 75%, but more importantly made it easier for cancer patients and their families to find and understand the information they needed, empowering them with health information. "I love that here I get to do tech work and user experience and all that stuff that's really interesting to me, but I still get to do something good for the world in the public sector," Lindsay said. "That's really the best part...about this job."
Recognizing this dedication and effort in Federal IT, FCW featured Lindsay’s story and passion for working in the public sector as part of her “Rising Star” award win. Read the full article from Bianca Spinosa at below or on FCW here.
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Lindsay Burack got interested in web design while working on Capitol Hill for a firm that specialized in market research and political polling and outsourced its design work. Intrigued, she took some courses in graphic and web design and subsequently landed a job at Living Social in 2010, during that startup's early days. She worked out of a small office in D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood, where she shared desks with other employees.
"I got to see the inner workings of a new-age startup," Burack said. "It was a really small group at the time. It was all hands on deck."
She loved focusing on the user experience, but missed government. So in early 2013, Burack joined Sapient Government Services as an information architect, and ultimately got to work on the National Cancer Institute's Cancer.gov website. She helped streamline the site to make it work better on mobile devices, and she rewrote content and removed old and duplicated information. In the end, she pared the site's 24,000 pages down to 6,800 and built in support for social sharing.
The revamped site that launched in May is much more accessible to the approximately 40 percent of users who visit it via mobile devices.
"It was gratifying on many levels," Burack said. "I'm so proud to know that we've made it easier for cancer patients, researchers and advocates to find information." Like many people, she has loved ones who have battled cancer, including a young cousin with breast cancer.
Managers at Sapient said Burack and her team transformed the customer experience because they understood the importance of getting cancer-related information to people in a way that is empowering. She continues to make improvements to Cancer.gov based on analytics and user feedback.
As for companies that might try to lure her away from government, Burack said she intends to continue working in the public sector.
"I love that here I get to do tech work and user experience and all that stuff that's really interesting to me, but I still get to do something good for the world in the public sector," she said. "That's really the best part...about this job."
Burack's advice for others with similar interests -- and particularly for women eyeing careers in tech -- is to be passionate, know your strengths, and learn as much as you can from the mentors and core senior people around you.
"Not holding back, putting in the extra work and really caring about your work -- I think that can definitely propel any woman forward," she said.