You are building a new customer experience team which I’d love to be a part of it. I’ve been looking to find a place that I can plant my roots at and grow with a company over time. My background is in UX Design and Research but there are a few things that make me a little different.
I’m an educator. I want to teach Slalom employees the principles of UX across a company, so that it can be thought of in all departments. Once this happens, along with a holistic vision of the experience a company wants to create, you reach the last phase of UX maturity. (Here are two articles describing this more deeply: NNGroup + UIE)
I’m a facilitator. I believe we are better together. I set aside time for discussions, brainstorming, and whiteboards sessions with a variety of experts from around the company to reach well rounded decisions. I seek out working with other departments to create a unified experience. I love putting together custom workshop for stakeholders to align their vision. Clarity is one of the most important things to a success of a team, so I use my skills to help companies create and maintain this. It’s also easy for me to put myself in each person’s shoes and advocate for compromise.
I’m strategic. I believe a consistent business that serves it’s customers creates a brand equity that creates a buffer against competition. I know it’s hard for businesses to move from quarterly goals to a long-term vision, because at first they might not see where their investment is going. I also know that the businesses that choose to make that investment end up being some of the greatest in the world, but it takes a commitment and time. I try to surface the consequences of decisions, both good and bad to leaders, so they can choose the path that will benefit them in the long term.
To sum it up…
I’m a strategic UX researcher and designer who looks for win win situations.
I’m interested in using my background to help organizations adapt and excel in this new world we are working in.
I mentor designers in my spare time, because I believe in investing in people and the future of design thinking.
I’ve been told I use both my left and right brain equally. I use that, reading between the lines, and creating safe spaces to align groups of people across companies.
I balance business needs with user and employee needs.
I bring people along the journey by listening and using my background in UX teaching to educate.
I believe in life design and creating my own user experience in how I set up my day to day.
I want to increase my knowledge in positive organizational psychology and change management.
I once took a course on lie detection for fun.
What have I been doing the last few years?
Senior UX Designer at Microsoft (2020)
UX Lead at Allovus (2019-2020)
Simplifi by Quicken
Potential Presidential Campaign for Howard Schultz
UX Research and Design Consultant (2018 - 2019)
– Peter Drucker
Spreading the UX way of thinking
I’m interested in bringing UX and design thinking to all the teams at Slalom. I’m also interested in organizational psychology and change management. First, I would start with understanding how things are currently working and where people are hurting. Maybe it’s externally with clients or maybe there are internal struggles that would benefit from alignment and strategy workshops?
My first goal would be to build trust with departments and clients, so that I could introduce beneficial process and practices. I would only suggest changes after full listening and understanding the context of the problem that was being addressed.
Then I would break processes down into simple vocabulary like I did on my youtube channel to help business owners to understand what User Experience is and how it works. My background in teaching helps me break down concepts into easily digestible chunks.
I meet people where they are at, so they can feel empowered to take these principles – such as listening to end users – and incorporate them into their current processes. Teaching teams this type of two way relationship between them and their market (or between business leaders and employees) is what brings long term sustainability to an organization. It creates trust and loyalty with the people you serve, so that a competitor can’t swoop in and take over your market, or poach your employees.
Financial App Launch
I helped Quicken successfully launch a new app, Simplifi, through design leadership, UX evaluations, art direction, and redesigning one of their differentiating features.
Bringing design to data
I was part of Substrate's first design team. I have to win engineerinng and PM trust to create a solid foundation for the future of accessing data at Microsoft.
Here's an end to end design process I completed for Retrofit, a wellness company in Chicago, which increased the program's lesson completion rate by 12%.
Wifi in South Africa
I saved Xpertek money, on investing in a new revenue source, by testing an in person flow and finding a flaw. This demographic owned 2 phones - one for text and one for data.
Through a combination of natural instinct, experiences, and training throughout my life, I have become a strong communicator. Friends have referred to me as “a therapist” and I often get a surprised “you are a great listener” when I’m talking to someone about their concerns one on one.
This type of training started back in high school when I was accepted to the Peer Assistance & Leadership (PAL) program. I was taught conflict resolution, decision making and other leadership skills.
Once I got to college, I continued down this path by becoming a community advisor (CA) and eventually being promoted to one of the 4 Senior CAs on campus. I helped lead the yearly training and mentored other CAs throughout the year.
For the past 15 years my reading list has consistent mostly of non-fiction books centered around psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, behavior change and relationship building.
A few years ago I decided to become a matchmaker part-time because I thought it sounded fun. I was able to help people reflect on where they were being blocked by fear and how they could become open to a new relationship.
Teaching UX and running workshops with clients have a lot of similarities. Often there are competing viewpoints and a bit of a struggle to feel heard at times. This can come through different communication styles or seeing “the problem” as other people, instead of seeing oneself on a team faced by an external problem.
In all of these instances, my duty is to make each individual feel safe by suspending any judgements and actively listening and reflecting what I understand back to the person. I don’t see myself a fixer in these situations, because most people can come up with solutions when they’ve identified the problem. I see myself as a facilitator, either mirroring parts of someone back to themselves or surfacing the core problem a group is facing or highlighting the common ground to diffuse tension.
This trust building takes time, but it’s well worth it. This solid foundation can create the bed for innovation within a company. People will bring their ideas forward and take risks when they feel safe, so I strive to create a space that people feel comfortable in.
I’m someone who is more concerned with identifying a problem first, before brainstorming a solution. That way we know we are tackling the right issue and using our time wisely.
15 things you do for your mental, physical, emotional health that can change your life.
These are the things that have positively affected my health after I was sick with fatigue, nausea, body aches, and other symptoms for nearly a year.
How to nurture the teams in your company to be more innovative, strategic and successful.
A breakdown of Scrum and Agile in detail and how can we used these systems the right way to help teams succeed today.
My current favorite podcast
When I heard Indi Young on the Design Thinking 101 podcast, I felt like she was speaking to my soul. She talks about a bigger picture approach to research. One that is focused on the problem space instead of testing a solution. Research that is more thorough and dives deeper into people’s experiences. A type of broader research that is more ever green, because it can be used for multiple projects within a space. I would love to help bring this problem space exploration to Slalom if it’s not already part of the process.
Indi talks about the bias we bring to our products and how important it is to get past this to find the “inner thinking” of the people we are serving. She refers to popping the bubble of Dave Gray’s “Liminal Thinking.” If you haven’t seen his whiteboard description of this, I’d give it a listen too.
My Ideal Process
Every organization runs differently, and that’s ok. I’m not sure how Slalom runs yet, but this is my ideal process that I think would be the most effective way to build a product.
First, I’d help all the stakeholders in the organization come together to decide what to focus on. I do this by first interviewing people independently to get unbiased answers, and then bringing them together to work as a team using the user’s journey as a backdrop for the discussion. In my experience, there is not one right answer for what should be the top priority, there are many good answers to pick from. The most important part is consensus.
From that basic road map of epics (which is not set in stone, because things change over time), I start with research and eventually visualize an end result incorporating user motivations. In my ideal world, I would hand off my research and whiteboards to a visual designer who understood how their choices affected the UX. Developers would be involved in my white boards from the beginning which would save money and time later by no having to redo work.
Note: Even though I’d like to focus my career on strategy, research, and leadership, my skills encompass anything from the start point up until hi-fi mock ups. The most important thing for me is to work with an organization that I align with and can grow in.
Research – My favorite type
What about exploratory research?
If the only research you are doing is usability testing, you might be wasting time and money. For example, you could build a salt shaker that is wifi enabled, but is that the best use of time? Probably not. This might seem obvious to you from an outsider’s perspective, but it wasn’t to SMALT.
Running an organization is about prioritizing, because we don’t have unlimited resources. Research helps us prioritize and exploratory research helps us pick the right problem from the start to solve.
Conversations with designers
I’ve been in the UX field since 2013 and love to nerd out with other designers – especially when it comes to the intersection of business strategy, research, and design.
Most of my videos on this page are to help start ups and businesses that are new to UX research and design, but this one digs a little deeper into the soft skills of design such as partnering with other departments or the future of the design industry.
When you hire someone to work on your product, you are hiring more than a skill set. You are hiring a person. Along with that person, you are hiring a philosophy.
When you hire me, you hire someone who wants to deeply listen to find the pain points. It’s in my core. I want to highlight them, help you prioritize them, then fix them.
I’m a long-term problem solver. I’m a vision clarifier. I want to make your organization more efficient and support a cause we can all believe in – making people’s lives better.
I want to create a fluid customer journey from the very first interaction to the last moment, because I passionately believe in businesses who care about the people they serve.
I want to be the catalyst that up-levels your team.