I’m a former community organizer who discovered there was a whole field of design strategy giving me a language for the work I was already doing. The values of design (empathy, human-centered, systems oriented, experience driven) matched mine almost 1:1. It tapped into my inner child of being a curious kid that continuously wondered how things work, asked why all the time, and breaking down systems so I can understand the world around me that inevitably helped craft my worldview.
To quickly understand my values and motivations today, there are 3 times my worldview has shifted and brought me to where I am:
- As a young kid of 6 or 7, my parents were driving us back from dinner and as I gazed out the window during a stop at a traffic light, I saw a father and daughter sleeping on the sidewalk in a strip mall. That image seared into my brain as I went to bed that night. I wondered why I get to enjoy this warm bed and they had to sleep on the floor, it felt incredibly arbitrary and unfair as a young person. This moment uncovered the messy truth of life and that no one was undeserving of a warm bed because that father and daughter could have easily been me.
- Being a youth organizer in the Bay Area forced me to reconcile the impact I wanted to make with the reality of the nonprofit funding structure that made me feel like I was constantly running in a hamster wheel, moving incrementally. This realization pushed me into finding alternative frameworks in creating positive change.
- Graduating from my Design MBA program with a mix of design and business skills built upon a foundation of community and social justice work, enabled me to understand the language and structures that run this world — business, economics, and the bottom line. It allowed me to use that education to connect what was seen as separate: business and social good.
Fast forward to today: I am a design leader with over 10 years of experience, specializing in strategy, research, innovation, and breaking down complex systems with a bias towards action. I want to create things that are part of the future I want to live in. My experience has been varied, diverse, and connected by my drive to be mission-oriented and focused in understanding the root of any problem.
This experience includes a stint at the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation in San Francisco helping to streamline public notices across 22 city agencies. I’ve helped companies like Nike strategize about new value propositions at a boutique design innovation agency. Moving into the federal government space, I was a designer at Booz Allen who lead the CX measurements program to improve veterans experience through a blend of data science and design. And most recently, I lead the design strategy team at Fannie Mae working on affordable housing research and financial product development. This also included a leadership role in supporting the enterprise innovation team with product research, design, and development of apps and platforms aimed at making the mortgage process more transparent, helpful, and efficient for lenders and homeowners.
I have also moonlighted as a filmmaker and a radio producer, so holler if you want to chat about the beauty of storytelling.
My philosophy in design:
- Be fearless in asking difficult questions
- Be a servant leader where ego takes a backseat
- Always think about the people at the end of the design process
- Importance of connecting design and research goals to business outcomes
- Never compromise rigor and quality but inflexibility/rigidness/dogma is the antithesis of great design
Interests: ethics & equity in design, technology, and AI; intersections of data science and design, strategic foresight/futures, speculative fiction, augmented reality, climate futures, climate action and recently, regenerative kelp farms.Hell