White House Presidential Innovation Fellow (October 2020 - Present)
Note: This is a term limited appointment with the ability to renew for a second year.
Highlights from my current experience as a Presidential Innovation Fellow detailed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) include:
- Leading UX and research efforts for Civil Rights Complaints Currently, I handle the UX needs of the CRT team by running research and UX efforts supporting the DOJ's Civil Rights Complaints Portal (civilrights.justice.gov), a first of its kind for the agency. These efforts can include deep internal and external qualitative research and analysis, followed by recommendations, as well as strategic positioning and overall integration across agency sites for consistent, uniform customer experiences. Through this work, we are better able to help those who may have been a victim of a potential civil rights violations.
- Assisting UX and research efforts for ADA.gov
As part of DOJ's ADA.gov website reimagining, I have been partnering with 18F to rethink the entire experience from the ground up, after 30 years of a largely disparate online presence. I am assisting in running research efforts, advising on UX direction and helping shape the overall information architecture and journey for a variety of visitors to the site.
- Leading UX, design and strategy efforts for White House Safer Return to Work Task Force The White House's Safer Workforce Task Force is a multi-agency partnership created by President Biden's January 2021 EO outlining how to bring millions of federal workers, contractors and visitors back, safely, into the offices and other federal locations. In this role my team and I work directly with the White House to ensure their vision and executive orders are manifested in a far-reaching and accessible digital presence.
GoCanvas (November 2018 - October 2020)
Highlights from my previous experience as a Vice President of UX include:
- Leading a team of 10 cross-discipline practitioners from junior level to management. I ran the UX team for GoCanvas which included UX, visual design, content and research competencies. My role was to manage and facilitate the communication and collaboration between my team and the product and development teams. Because we had multiple products, I also worked closely with several product managers to help guide junior practitioners in their individual work streams while ensuring the more senior team members had what they needed in order to perform their duties. In addition, I actively fostered career growth through weekly 1-1s and team meetings, monthly product and design/research/marketing reviews, quarterly team-business goal alignment and yearly performance reviews.
- Creating a culture of sharing and transparent leadership. After starting at GoCanvas, I worked with other senior leaders to enhance our openness from a business and product perspective through all-hands product and research roadmap happy hours as well as facilitated gathering and analyzing internal and external stakeholder sessions. I also contributed to, and led, monthly leadership learning sessions for all managers and directors, centered around communication and vulnerable leadership best practices. In addition, I worked with multiple teams to extend internal awards and recognitions as well as organized and led multiple team offsites and the first company-wide hackathon.
- Aligning the product and marketing teams. As part of my role, I worked to bring the two separate teams closer together through support of marketing needs through my team’s designers as well as helping in managing requests and ensuring they align with the overall product strategy and development calendar. In Q3 of 2019, I also took over the GoCanvas rebranding effort which debuted in January 2020. Finally, I worked hand-in-hand with marketing leadership to ensure the rebranded website redesign helped meet marketing metrics and drive trial to PQL conversion rates.
- Partnering with product management to hone company product strategy. As part of the “product-first approach” I worked closely with the CPO as well as the Director of Product Strategy to shape the various product roadmaps and ensure they aligned with our internal and external research, as well as aligned to where the B2B SaaS product market was headed. This included ensuring the team was organized by product platform and feature sets as well as skillsets and that we helped shape to ensure that the existing product suite, as well as any new product, was going. This included helping guide how we integrated through our various M&A channels as they related to product merges between our products and any potential acquisitions.
- Speaking at a variety of industry conferences, recruiting events and meetups on behalf of GoCanvas.
I gave 4 talks in 2019 and 2 in 2020 on behalf of my role at GoCanvas including speaking at several K1 Product and Dev summits, Montgomery County UX (MoCoUX), DCUX and several other industry-specific meetups.
Deloitte Digital (April 2016 - November 2018)
Highlights from my previous experience as a Studio Senior Lead and UX Competency Lead include:
- Leading a team of 22 UX practitioners from analysts to managers. I was responsible for guiding the UX direction of the Government and Public Sector (GPS) Deloitte Digital (DD) studio. This included managing and mentoring our team of UX designers, creating compelling content to teach new skills, ensuring that all practitioners have access to the tools and training to grow and performing staffing duties on all studio projects (average 100+ a year) with teams ranging in size from 1 to 8 UX practitioners on both federal and state government projects.
- Creating extraordinary products for our clients, particularly in the state government sectors. Not only did I manage our UX practitioners, but I also rolled up my sleeves and created compelling, beautifully designed and well-thought out and compliant (A/AA and 508) mobile, responsive and desktop products. I was involved in creating the first of its kind in the state of Tennessee, a citizen-centric governmental services application that will put 1200 services including DMV and DHHS services, in a comprehensive mobile application for all TN citizens. I also worked on 4 different state health exchange mobile applications for TN, PA, WI and WA. Each of these projects brought unique challenges within their healthcare offerings and as lead UX on all 4, it was my job to run analysis based off of user interviews, stakeholder conversations and technical feasibility sessions. I was able to make recommendations and ensure that the delivery of the solution(s) includes all of the needs of the aforementioned groups. As part of my role, I ensured that the applications we created solved user problems in an easy-to-understand interface and provided true benefits for those who needed them most - low and no income households. Creating products that allow these underprivileged communities to obtain and manage their healthcare in a dignified way is still one of my proudest accomplishments at Deloitte.
- Storytelling through artifacts. For every project that I worked on, I blended years of experience to create compelling storyboards, thorough journey maps, extensive process flows, comprehensive sitemaps, well-organized wireframes, detailed annotations and high fidelity, fully functional prototypes using a variety of software including the full Adobe suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, XD), Sketch, Justinmind, Axure and InVision. I also believed in creating well-thought out content to accompany these deliverables which meant investing time in writing within the voice and tone of the client for these deliverables. Final products aren’t just a series of images – they’re narratives.
- Forecasting and planning for future work efforts. The studio grew significantly during my tenure. As a result, I assisted in recruiting, hiring and staffing for upcoming UX project needs and ensuring we have adequate coverage for incoming work. I also worked to ensure practitioners were being utilized by connecting skillsets to project needs and hiring to close gaps.
- Speaking and evangelizing for Deloitte Digital. I spoke at multiple events each year and attend a variety of conferences to help recruit as well as to help sell new business. On average I devoted 10% of my week to helping with proposals and new business development efforts. As a result, we had double digit growth from 2013-2018, with over 20% growth between 2016-2018.
- Creating a culture of inclusion and career guidance. I led two studio initiatives in 2018. One was researching and reinventing the studio culture to help with employee retention. In order to ensure even the quietest employees had a voice, I worked very closely with studio senior management and partners to research, analyze and collaborate in order to better understand the “Why do some employees leave?” question. The second initiative came out of this culture initiative, which was helping to design and implement a feedback system so that employees felt empowered to give and receive better, more insightful feedback, prior to year-end. This allowed those who were struggling or those who had performance issues to understand and resolve them immediately through guided conversations, peer-to-peer mentoring and regular checkpoints. It also allowed managers to better assess, through quantitative methods, qualitative feedback for their junior staff. This in turn, helped us to answer the more challenging questions like “Is this person ready for promotion? If not, why? If so, how can we ensure they’re set up for success?” Creating and advocating for this toolset was instrumental in the 2018 consensus and created an environment rich with conversation for both managers and practitioners, resulting in better year end sessions.
Endgame (March 2015 - April 2016)
Highlights from my previous experience as a Director of User Experience include:
- Conducting extensive user research efforts with security professionals and the hacker community. At times I went “undercover” and researched multiple hacker groups at a variety of industry conferences including BlackHat, DefCon and B-Sides. I used this insight to help shape how we approached our product development because I saw value in creating something that embodied the perspective of both the “good guy” and the “bad guy". As a result, we were one of the first security companies to create applications that had UX at the center of the product suite. This helped to drive our sales and create several million in revenue in my year at Endgame. It also provided a platform for other security services to connect with, and ultimately allowed the company to become more than just a single application.
- Creating and leading a highly talented team. Endgame had never had a UX team until I came onboard. In my first two months, I quickly built up a small but efficient group of 3 that included a junior UX practitioner, researcher and a visual designer. We were able to work to create an entire application suite as well as a component-based library that laid out styles and interaction patterns, plus assisted the marketing department in creating a multitude of collateral and marketing materials to help sell the vision.
- Integrating UX processes and human-centered design practices into the development process and creating an executive language around UX. During my time at Endgame, I created weekly check-ins with the development team to ensure that we constantly collaborated with each other. The development team was not accustomed to working so closely with design so allowing us to work side-by-side and stay in constant communication allowed us to iterate quickly and get new releases out the door faster. I also worked directly with our Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) to help lead sessions at each weekly meeting and quarterly meeting with the senior executive teams and the board of directors, respectively, to ensure those in these higher positions who were speaking to our product, understood the process and could use the terms with confidence.
- Solving problems for a variety of users through cutting-edge technology. My team created a compelling visualization of security issues and a robust notification system which allowed users to cull through thousands of alerts per minute through the use of specific targeting algorithms, easy-to-use interfaces and conversational UI. Our product simplified security threat hunting through a unique approach and provided something many had not seen before (guided assistance for beginner SOC operators) while still allowing power users to access more technical workflows and more traditional manual methods, which they preferred.
- Creating a solid marketing story in order to sell our unique solution. I worked very closely with the CSO, VP of Product, VP of Marketing and the VP of Sales on a weekly basis to ensure that we stayed true to the company mission and vision and continued to iterate and drive the best possible solution to market. This was key for differentiating Endgame from its competitors in a very crowded space.
The Advisory Board / Education Advisory Board (Sep 2010 - March 2015)
Highlights from my previous experience as a Senior Lead User Experience include:
- Conducting extensive user research with over 150 users, from students to provosts. Through multiple research and analysis efforts, we were able to create a robust application that connected students to advisors and resources and assisted students in transitioning through their time in college. We focused on high-risk populations and over-worked advisors in order to help manage their workloads. Utilizing our data science team and creating beautiful data visualizations, we were able to “bring to life” the issues that students faced and provide tools that advisors could use in order to guide conversations with the most at-risk students. In the first year, student retention at several of our key universities increased by 7-10%.
- Translating users’ thoughts, feelings and beliefs into product functionality, interactivity and strategy. Using substantial research findings through extensive interviews, I was able to quantify the need for product development, help manage the product feature backlog in collaboration with the product manager and make recommendations for future enhancements.
- Assisting in the creation of product strategy for two successful products including the advisor and student products. I worked very closely with the Education Advisory Board's (EAB) VP and the team’s General Manager to create a vision and talk track for presenting to potential schools, helping to bring in new business.
- Developing the first consumer-facing product marketing strategy for our student application with a limited budget. This included recruiting students and instructors to become part of our “Product Advisory Council (PAC)” to help shape our product via ongoing interviews and product council meetings. Through this program, I was able to get the product into professor and student hands. This allowed us to spread the word through viral, campus-based activities and incentives while also garnering incredibly detailed and extensive feedback from students using, and evangelizing, the product.
- Creating a wide variety of assets including concepts, wireframes, white papers, executive summaries and final design. These assets were created through close work with the PM, the development team, QA and the visual designer to bring the needs of the business, the desires of the users and the feasibility of the development team to life. Through these artifacts, we were able to stay on budget and deliver on-time because we had visual documentation and detailed screen designs that we could talk through as a team.
- Managing and mentoring junior employees on the UX team including our junior designers and information architects.
- Presenting high-level executive findings to leadership stakeholders, both internally and externally including the CEO, CRO (Chief Research Officer) and the VP of Product.
- Partnering with our “New Product Development” (NDP) team to guide potential products from concept to creation.
- Collaborating with delivery teams to continue to shape the product vision through research, analysis and market trends.
- Creating comprehensive project plans and timelines for product creation including development, design and marketing.
- Facilitating multiple brainstorming sessions and coordinated cross-team development sessions with internal and external teams.
- Volunteering in various roles with several partner non-profit organizations.
Bean Creative (Sep 2003 - Sep 2010)
Highlights from my previous experience as a Senior Web Developer include:
- Designing and developing complex online applications in a variety of languages including Drupal, Cold Fusion, ASP, Perl and PHP. In my role, I helped to create a proprietary CMS that the company was able to re-sell and generate revenue from a repeatable and easy to maintain system. Updating the codebase and pushing out enhancements was easy for our team, providing quick security fixes as well as launching new functionality, when software-as-a-service (SAAS) was still a relatively new approach.
- Building custom databases and procedures to support e-commerce applications in addition to front-end development and design. My team and I were able to integrate e-commerce into our CMS solution and provide a super flexible, rich payment processing system that stored payment information for users, again at a time when most organizations were still unfamiliar with faster and more user-friendly e-commerce approaches.
- Creating rich media applications using Flash, Flex and AIR in ActionScript (AS) 2 and AS 3 for web, kiosk and DVD/CD-Rom deployment. We created several “edu-tainment” games that are still online and have heavy utilization, as well as several key games that won the studio numerous accolades and Webbys. Our work reached students, teachers and classrooms around the globe, particularly our work for Maryland Public Television’s Knowing Poe website.
- Assisting with client meetings, management and communications. I attended a variety of meetings as well as ran training sessions to help teach new clients how to create rich websites and use our custom CMS through multi-day events.
- Collaborating on client budget planning and scope development.
- Wire-framing and architecting projects for development.
- Mentoring junior level developers and designers including interns and non-technical staff.
- Speaking at national conferences and writing for the company blog. (see Awards / Presentations section for details)
About | My Experience | My Education | My Awards + Presentations