User Research Lead, Manulife/John Hancock
Heritage: Guatemalan, Cuban, and Puerto-Rican
Born in Boston and raised in Marlborough, from a young age Natasha was exposed to different languages, cultures, and customs and was deeply immersed in anything that lent itself to creativity; including music, writing, math, and the arts. This upbringing largely helped nurture and shape her curiosity to learn about others and form authentic, meaningful connections.
After receiving her B.Sc. in Business Management from Babson College, and a short stint at an aerial imaging start-up directing their Marketing and Sales, she joined Manulife / John Hancock Financial as an analyst. Less than three years later, Natasha co-founded the company's technology innovation group (LOFT- Lab of forward thinking), launching two of the three existing labs in Boston and Toronto.
This group experiments with new technology - like Blockchain - that will impact the Financial Services industry (i.e. 'fintech'). She spent most of 2016 living in Singapore to support the launch of the Asia lab and has led the development of UX Research within the labs since returning.
Natasha designs and runs studies that seek to understand peoples’ problems, needs, desires, and underlying motivations. Through the lens of Design Thinking, she works with Product teams around the company to apply those insights and make sure the solutions being developed are driven by the needs of real people. One of her biggest accomplishments to date has been leading this research and testing initiative.
Having the opportunity to accomplish this as a millennial, Hispanic woman, Natasha has learned that the only person who can hold you back is yourself. “It is not within our power to dictate how people see us, or what biases or prejudices they hold against us. It is, however, our responsibility to choose how deeply we let that touch us and influence how we choose to react. My mother has been the best example of this in my life, and I strive to embody her attitude.”
Having run her first marathon last year, Natasha is also passionate about fitness, nutrition, staying active, and dancing, using the latter as a creative outlet. Dancing both bachata and salsa regularly, she belongs to the Island Touch Dance Academy Boston team.
“Looking at where I find myself to be today, especially given the circumstances of my upbringing, I am extremely proud of what I have been able to accomplish and what I am working toward within work, academia, and my development as a person. Knowing that there is still so much more to come, I seek to continue to let my curiosity drive me and approach opportunities with an open spirit. That, to me, is success.”