#WeAreArity Wednesday: Amy Johnson
When Mom asks me what it is that I do again, I say…
At Arity, I design patterns for Mobile Apps that make transportation safer.
In your own words, what is Arity?
For me personally, Arity is a place that I can explore new ways to help people through innovation.
Arity is a fresh perspective; an opportunity to pivot perspective and motivate change through telematics data. It is a think-tank of incredible talent and critical thinking.
My favorite mode of transportation is…,
I grew up in Kentucky, where the only mode of transportation was your own car. When I moved to Chicago in 2012, I learned all about the joy and somewhat questionable nature of public transportation. I would say, even though it is sometimes uncomfortable and loud, I find the “EL” (Elevated tracks CTA trains) the greatest work commute I’ve ever had. The routine of walking to the train, drinking my coffee, and catching up on the news while being transported safely and on time to my destination are things I cherish.
On a Saturday afternoon, you can find me…
I have a very strict schedule during weekdays, so I usually switch things up a bit on weekends. Some Saturdays I might be watching Youtube videos with my dog, Calcifer, in my lap. Other days I may be painting in my studio or hosting a board-game extravaganza in my dining room.
If you could volunteer for any cause, what would it be? Why?
I have to split this into two causes:
- The first would be Planned Parenthood. As a woman that grew up in an extremely conservative part of the United States, I know firsthand about the lack of resources provided to young girls and how I was never consulted in decisions regarding my health and body as a female.
- The second would be The Disabled List. As an Autistic designer who is verbal, I feel like it is my duty to spread awareness of the importance of Neurodiversity in creative workplaces. The Disabled List is relatively new but helps give disabled people seats at the diversity table when it comes to workplace decisions around the environment, hiring and general inclusion.
Most people don’t know…
I am Autistic. I am an outspoken female who has learned to assimilate into society and not stick out too much in public. I was only just diagnosed in 2016. Late-diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in women is unfortunately very common. A lot of women on the spectrum are able to mimic and learn quickly how to ‘mask’ their eccentricities. The confusion surrounding the original definition of ASD, how it is defined today and the misrepresentation of the disorder in pop culture all add to the disbelief I get when I reveal my true nature to people. It also doesn’t help that I’ve heard all my life that it’s unprofessional to talk about mental health in a work environment altogether. The more I advocate at conferences and talks about my journey, the more people are finding out.
The theme song of my life is…
Hedwig’s Flight (The Harry Potter Theme)
Talk to your rideshare driver or silent ride?
I engage with my driver on most rides because I am very talkative. I honestly can’t tell you if the drivers I talked to enjoyed talking to me in return, but at least I try to be friendly to people who put up with highway traffic all day long.
Would you get in a self-driving car? Why or why not?
I would, as long as it has windows. I think that working for Arity means it’s my responsibility to be one of the first to test out new types of transportation that could possibly sift the narrative of road safety.
Favorite innovation pioneer?
I have many of these, but the most recent would have to be the 16-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg. She inspires me, not only because she is on the Autism Spectrum, but because she has created a movement that is actually moving. I got into design because I “wanted to make a positive change in the world.” But honestly, over the past few years, I’m realizing that I need to expand what I consider to design, and think beyond the context of a phone screen. She is sparking some truly awesome critical thinking.