Jennifer Bell has created hundreds of maps and stories over the past 6 years at Esri. Her drive to find the perfect story recipe led her to the role of ArcGIS Story Maps product manager. She is passionate about improving the storytelling experience and advocating for ArcGIS Story Maps authors and readers.
Q: When did you first discover GIS technology and what got your career started?
A: I discovered GIS technology in an Intro to Human Geography class at The University of Georgia. Dr. Amy Ross opened my eyes to how GIS can help people in many areas from systemic racism to environmental injustices. I was hooked. After becoming a geography major, Dr. Marguerite Madden, Dr. Angela Yao, Dr. Mu Lan, Dr. Jerry Shannon, and many others, further showed me how to create a career with GIS.
Jennifer received her bachelor's and master's degees from The University of Georgia.
Q: As the Product Manager for ArcGIS StoryMaps at Esri what does your job involve? What are some of your day to day activities?
A: I actually just started my new role this week! I was a product engineer on the Living Atlas team for the past 6 years and am carrying those skills over to help create a product that enables people to share their story.
Product managers need to love hats because we wear so many different ones every day. I’m the voice and representative of storytellers around the world. I listen to their needs and help designers, product engineers, developers, and marketers shape and create the best product possible. I believe everyone has a story to tell and I want to help people do that.
Jennifer Bell helped launch the new ArcGIS StoryMaps to an audience of close to 20,000 people at the July 2019 Esri User Conference.
Q: You are also an Adjunct Professor at Brandman University. What do you teach?
A: ‘Data Visualization and Presentation’ and ‘Project Planning and Data Modeling’. I’m currently working with a team to create a new ‘Visualization and Data Analytics’ course.
Jennifer is an adjunct professor at Brandman University.
Q: Have you faced any challenges being a woman in a technical field?
A: There are many amazing women in GIS at Esri, but it’s often the case that I’m the only woman in many of my meetings. I often feel the need to represent and always work hard. However, I feel supported by my team and by amazing employee resource groups such as WeCan (Women’s Enablement and Career Advancement Network). It’s important that women see other women in leadership roles. I’m striving to make that happen by building up and mentoring others however I can. I have rockstar mentors to thank for my success and I want to pay it forward.
As one of the WeCan (Women's Enablement and Career Advancement Network) leaders at Esri, Jennifer volunteers with community groups such as SheCodes from CalPoly Pomona.
Q: What accomplishments or projects are you most proud of?
A: I worked as a product engineer with the Map Viewer Beta team for a little over a year. I am so proud of what we created. I know it’s going to help advance people into the next generation of mapping. You can’t help but make powerful and engaging maps with the new Map Viewer!