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Mock IT

Mock IT

By MetroStar Systems, LLC
Mock IT is a design and culture podcast sponsored by MetroStar. Hosts Liz and Marie are passionate about design of all shapes and forms and the impact UX design can generate for all generations. The podcast offers an inside look at two UX Designers navigating design for the government and emerging design trends. The duo often invite their friends and industry experts on the podcast to chat about their passions and discoveries.

Join us every two weeks as they share their personal stories!
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How Can Data Sustain City Growth in the Next Decade
It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's Data Experts. Shane Mayti and Ahmed Award sat down with Liz and Marie to discuss their work as summer interns at MetroStar. The pair joined a team of technologists who are collecting and analyzing data to aid in smart urban growth, including where to invest in things like community building, infrastructure, funding, and more. Community decision-makers (in this case, the city of Bloomington, Indiana) must have access to accurate, consumable population data to ensure they can lead sustainable growth. Tune into this episode to learn more about their data journey and how they used public data to answer or approach challenging problems.  Read more:  More MetroStar:   + Website: + LinkedIn: + Instagram: + Facebook: +Twitter:
September 14, 2022
Exploring the Camaraderie Behind Motherhood, Leadership, and Women Empowerment in Government
VP of Federal Civilian at MetroStar, Ashely Brush, joined Liz and Marie this week to discuss her leadership role, empowering women in the industry, and how to balance motherhood during it all.  Before the trio dived into their experiences as mothers at MetroStar, Ashley shared her path to leadership, what she believes makes a great leader, and her team's role in transforming civilian projects for the government. Their discussion includes topics like customer experience, user research, and dark patterns.  More MetroStar:  + Website: + LinkedIn: + Instagram: + Facebook: +Twitter:
August 31, 2022
The Process Behind UX Storytelling for Clients and Teams
Do you find yourself only focusing on colors, fonts, and photos while designing for a client? Do you feel as if clients only provide feedback on those aspects of your work? This is when UX storytelling comes into play to help designers and clients dig deeper and solve their users' true problems. Associate Design Manager Marie walked Project Manager Liz through the process of crafting a story around your designs and how to present them to people. UX storytelling can make a big difference in end products, timelines, communication, and more! More MetroStar: + Website: + LinkedIn: + Instagram: +Facebook: +Twitter: Episode Resources: + Bob Ricca:
August 17, 2022
Do You Want to Join a Government Contractor?
Transitioning to the contracting world can be scary, especially if you're coming from a role that is a complete 180 from the industry. Hosts Liz and Marie discuss their journey into the industry and share the fears they had, what excites them about their work now, and the tips and tricks to make it work--no matter your role. If you're debating whether or not this industry is right for you, then this is the episode for you!     More MetroStar:   + Website:   + Instagram: + Twitter:   + LinkedIn:
August 03, 2022
Unlocking the Value of Social Media Data for Sports and Esports Brands with Zoomph
Amir Zonozi, President, and Nick Cronin, Chief Digital Officer of Zoomph, share insights into their media measurement company for sports and Esports brands. The company aims to help their clients understand the value they create online through their brand partners, and they dive deep into audience insights and how consumers engage with brands online. Amir and Nick discuss the changing landscape of collecting online data, how (and when) to reshape your products and services, and the power and importance of hiring women in sports.  Learn more about Zoomph: More MetroStar:  + Website: + Instagram: + Twitter: + LinkedIn:
July 13, 2022
Starting Your UX Career, Imposter Syndrome, and Diversity-Focused Design w/ Visual Designer Bree Douthitt
Bree recently graduated from the University of Maryland and transitioned from a UX Intern to a Visual Designer at MetroStar. She shares her tips for having a successful career transition, the process of finding a mentor, and her thoughts on imposter syndrome. The trio discusses Bree's focus on Diversity-Focused Design and her research and advice on being an inclusive designer across industries.  More MetroStar:   + Bree's Blog:  + Website:  + Instagram: + Twitter: + LinkedIn:
June 29, 2022
Are You a Generalist, Specialist, or Explorer: Can It Define Your Career? (with Director of Digital Strategy, Jason Stoner)
Generalist, Specialist, or Explorer? What do these terms mean and how do they help you identify what type of worker you are in your industry and beyond.   MetroStar's Director of Digital Strategy, Jason Stoner, sat down with Liz and Marie to discuss his career path and why he likes to call himself an Explorer in the workforce. This means he doesn't focus on being specialized in one area but has learned how to create a space where he is constantly learning and taking action with his new education. He discusses why you don't have to be scared to be a Jack of all trades, master of none--it can be a good thing! Listen for more.    More MetroStar:    + Website:  + Instagram:  + Twitter:  + LinkedIn:
June 15, 2022
The Changing Culture of Design in Government and Customer Experience (with guest, DSC Executive Director, Traci Walker)
Traci Walker, the Digital Services Coalition's (DSC) Executive Director, joined Liz and Marie once more to discuss the changing landscape of UX design in government and how it is shaping the future of work. The trio chats about accessibility, the difference between User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX), designing from the procurement side, and more.  Tune in to hear Traci's twenty-plus years of experience and knowledge in transforming design for the government.  Helpful Links: +DSC website: +Connect w/ Traci: Check out more MetroStar: +Website:  +Twitter: +LinkedIn: + Instagram:
June 01, 2022
Why Government Agencies Need to Explore the Digital Services Coalition with Executive Director Traci Walker
The Executive Director at the Digital Services Coalition (DSC), Traci Walker, sat down with Liz and Marie to discuss the nonprofit's mission and why agencies, contractors, and companies should be paying attention. The DSC is dedicated to helping the government build successful digital services through good usability, reliable technology, and accessibility for all. As an experienced former government employee, Traci knows how to build sustainable digital, design, and tech communities within the federal sector.   Helpful Links:  + DSC website:  +  DSC 2022-2025 Strategic Plan:  + Connect w/ Traci:   Check out more MetroStar:  + Website: + Twitter: + LinkedIn: + Instagram:
May 18, 2022
CEO Entrepreneur Insights: How to Grow From a Startup to Leading Technology Company
Welcome to season two of Mock IT! To kick off the season, MetroStar's CEO and Co-Founder Ali Reza Manouchehri joined our hosts to discuss transforming a digital solutions company from a George Mason University dorm room to a tech company with 330 (and growing) employees. This episode celebrates MetroStar's 23rd anniversary, dives into the background of the company, shares insights into the future of tech in government, and how to succeed as an entrepreneur.  Follow MetroStar:  +Website: +Instagram: +LinkedIn: +Twitter:
May 04, 2022
Leading Remote UX Research with UX Architect Logan House
UX Architect Logan House shares with Liz and Marie his tips on how to successfully handle conducting remote UX research. At the start of the pandemic, many UX architects found themselves at a standstill on how to navigate user research, especially with federal clients. In this episode, Liz, Marie, and Logan offer the tips and tricks they learned in the past two years and offer the tools they've used to garner successful results for their clients.  Follow MetroStar: +Website:  +Instagram:  +Twitter: 
March 23, 2022
Inspiring Women & Youth to Explore STEM Careers w/ Software Developer Tiffanie Johnson
Hosts Liz and Marie speak with Software Developer Tiffanie Johnson on exposing more youth and women to the world of tech. Tiffanie shares her personal career journey, why she loves Google, and the importance of STEM programs like Code: Girl.  Follow MetroStar: +Website:  +Instagram:  +Twitter: 
March 09, 2022
UX Designers Battling the Climate Crisis w/ Guest Elisha Hardy
Elisha Hardy is a Principal UX Architect at MetroStar tackling environment-first design to lessen the burdens of the climate crisis. Elisha gives the rundown on the latest document "Pathways to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050" the United States Government released in late 2021 and shares with Liz and Marie the steps fellow designers can follow to understand and transform their work to be more environmentally friendly. Read more about Elisha: Links Elisha Mentions: U.S. Long Term Strategy Document: Behavior Change Technique: Climate Justice Frameworks: Course: Follow MetroStar: +Website:  +Instagram:  +Twitter:  +LinkedIn: 
February 24, 2022
Rules to Beautiful & Functional Design w/ Guest Angela Terry
Angela Terry is a tenured graphic designer, assistant professor at Northern Virginia Community College, and George Mason University grad student earning her MFA. She joined Liz and Marie this week to share her tips and tricks on creating designs that are not only beautiful but functional for your audience, too!      Learn more about MetroStar:   Check out Angela's work:   Follow MetroStar's socials:  +Instagram:   +Twitter:   +LinkedIn: 
February 09, 2022
Sr. People Ops Manager Shares Onboarding Culture Shift
In this special minisode, MetroStar's Sr. People Operations Manager shares how MetroStar's onboarding culture has shifted during the pandemic. Tune into this episode of Mock IT if you're a MetroStar "hopeful candidate" and interested in learning more about tech careers and how the first 90 days of a new job are shifting. Learn more about MetroStar:  Follow on socials: +Instagram:  +Twitter:  +LinkedIn:
January 26, 2022
Your Agency Wants Drupal Experts: Exploring Content Management in 2022
Liz and Marie welcome special guest Jason Glisson, Senior Software Engineer at MetroStar. As an advocate for the content management tool Drupal, Jason talks about the June 2022 release of Drupal 10 and why he recommends government agencies use this open-source CMS tool. Learn more about MetroStar:  Learn more about our work with USDA: Follow on socials: +Instagram:  +Twitter:  +LinkedIn:
January 12, 2022
Approaching Design Leadership (w/ guest Iva Hutson)
Liz and Marie welcome special guest Iva Hutson in this week's episode. As a Sr. Experience Strategy Manager, Iva understands the nuances and intricacies of design leadership and how UX experts can become a leader in their field. From an industry pull away from portfolios to finding yourself in the C-suite, the trio explores what it means to be a leader in #UX and government.   Learn more about MetroStar:   Follow on socials:   +Instagram:   +Twitter:  +LinkedIn:
December 29, 2021
Making Project Restraints Work in Your Favor
In this minisode, Liz & Marie run through the basics of project and design restraints and how they tackle them. The duo chats about stakeholder feedback, time vs quality, and designing with negative space in mind (even for those pesky tablet devices).  Learn more about MetroStar:  Follow on socials:  +Instagram  +Twitter  +LinkedIn 
December 15, 2021
Misinformation on Social Media and Digital Literacy (Part 2 with Guest Leslie Bozoian)
Liz and Marie welcome back special guest, Leslie Bozoian, on the podcast this week. Leslie is a Visual Designer who has a passion for design and social media. In this special social media-focused episode, the trio discusses the responsibilities social media companies have to protect users, like Facebook, and the steps designers are taking to aid users in navigating a new era of digital literacy. From algorithms to font texts and data tracking, they unpack a lot in this jam-packed episode. Read the "Frankenstein UX" blog here:  Connect with us out on social: + Interested in a career at MetroStar? Check out our open roles:  + LinkedIn:  + Instagram:   +Twitter:
December 01, 2021
Using Design to Tackle Misinformation on Social Media (with Guest Leslie Bozoian)
Liz and Marie welcome a special guest, Leslie Bozoian, on the podcast this week. Leslie is a Visual Designer who has a passion for design and social media. The trio discusses how the pandemic has changed digital experiences, social media, and how designers can help tackle the spread of misinformation online. From understanding popups to navigating the redesign of share and flag buttons, this week's episode dives into social media platform design.  Interested in a career at MetroStar? Check out open roles here:   Check us out on social: + LinkedIn:  + Instagram:   +Twitter: 
November 17, 2021
Our Insights: Communicating with Government Customers
So, you're a UX Designer about to start a career in government contracting? We know the environment can feel different than the work you've done in the past. This week, Liz and Marie chat about how they landed their roles at MetroStar, the different types of growth you can find in the industry, and tips for communicating with government customers. In the episode, you'll learn more about their process and tips for being successful.   Interested in a career at MetroStar? Check out open roles here:    Check us out on social:   + LinkedIn:   + Instagram:    +Twitter: 
November 03, 2021
Part One: Design Systems & Design Libraries
This week, Liz & Marie explore design systems, design libraries, and the United States Web Design System (USWDS). The pair explain what these tools are and how they impact designers in the government sector. They talk about things like the Obamacare website failure and how it changed the industry for designers.  Questions? Reach out at   Stay in Touch:   + LinkedIn:   + Instagram:    + Twitter: 
October 20, 2021
Let's Talk About Sunsetting Tech in Government, Chatbots, & More
Inspired by the recent Apple event, which introduced new tech to the world once again, Liz & Marie's discussion this week tackles what emerging tech means when you work for the government. They explain how they've seen teams sunset tech, what changes they've been a part of implementing, and their advice on tackling new tech. The duo deep dive into AI chatbots, the tech behind help desks, DAR analysis, and more. Questions? Reach out at Stay in Touch: + LinkedIn:   + Instagram:  + Twitter:
October 06, 2021
Building Successful Remote UX Teams
This week, Liz & Marie explore how their team handled the ever-changing dynamic of the pandemic. Their team transitioned to remote work right as they started a new project; Learn how they made it work!  The duo discuss everything from the tools they used (like Google Sheets and Miro) to how they fostered strong virtual relationships (Spoiler: They love to have their Zoom camera off). Questions? Reach out at (Click on general under reason for contact) 
September 22, 2021
Exploring Inclusive UX Design Choices
This week, Liz and Marie explore inclusive design choices that everyone can execute, whether you’re a UX Designer or not. They discuss the small inclusive design details they find helpful at work and in their everyday lives. There is much more to say about this topic and MetroStar’s approach to inclusive design in the government space. Interested in having an in-depth discussion? Reach out: Correction: At 21:25, the title for the Integrated Digital Experience Act was mentioned incorrectly. It is later corrected at 22:32 in the same episode.
September 08, 2021
Forming, Storming, and Norming in Government Spaces
Mock IT is a design and culture podcast sponsored by MetroStar. Mock IT's first episode features Liz, Marie, and their professional relationship. They cover how they met, how their friendship has grown, their work in government, and the forming, storming, and norming we all go through when starting a new project or job. Liz and Marie offer insights into forming strong relationships with your coworkers and understanding the stages of team development on UX teams. Interested in learning more? Head over to: Stay in Touch: + LinkedIn: + Instagram: + Twitter:
August 25, 2021