I’ve worked for 15+ years to get the experience, empathy, and insight that has allowed me to become a different type of leader.
LinkedIn would want me to tell you that I build world-class organizations that integrate research, data, and behavioral science with human-centered design methods to create a long-term vision while driving near-term business impact. People who know me would tell you that my work and leadership is crazy but never stupid, confident but never something, unique but never unfamiliar, and relentless but never depleting.
No matter how hard I try, a website can never capture who a person really is. I’m a designer, leader, coach, and active voice in the design community who is so much more than where I’ve worked, the experiences I’ve created, the awards I’ve won, the followers I gained, or the stages I’ve spoken on. This site will give you a glimpse into my work in team, thought and community leadership, but please contact me as I am always happy to discuss any questions or opportunities.
Some of my greatest work will never appear in my portfolio.
Many people can talk about leadership in theory, but I have built and led multiple teams who have created truly innovative work, but they have also been able to generate actual results and make a real impact within the company. I haven’t been able to do that across multiple companies by mistake.
I’ve spent 15+ years building and leading global agency and in-house teams with a combination of creativity, business strategy, and political skill. I have done everything from leading small but highly specialized agency teams to founding, building, and leading design, UX, strategy, research, operations, and design systems teams made up of hundreds of full-time, freelance, and agency contributors. No matter the size of the team or industry, the heart of all my work starts with the fact that I believe in and invest in people.
I LEAD TEAMS BY:
Building real partnerships – Build partnerships that prioritize trust and collaboration across the c-suite, product, engineering, and more.
Driving strategic thinking – Work grounded in data, research, and business needs married with creativity, craft, and innovative thinking.
Using my broad experience – Have done award-winning work in digital, emerging technologies, branding, film & video, and graphic design.
Investing in people – Support and develop team members’ goals while creating a culture of collaboration, responsibility, and accountability.
Removing barriers to creativity – Use process and operations to create the space for creativity and innovation in a corporate environment.
Evolving people’s thinking – Work as a teacher and evangelist to advance the role of creativity, design, and our team within the company.
Clarifying problems to be solved – Use customer journey maps to clarify and a vision to align the problems and priorities we need to solve.
Practicing inclusive creativity – Use design methodologies to include our partners in the process while keeping our influence and perspective.
Balancing creative direction with team empowerment – I know how to balance my creativity with space for the team to use their expertise.
Keeping customers as the source of truth – Use a variety of qualitative and quantitative research to keep the customer at the center of our work.
HOW BIG HAVE YOUR TEAMS BEEN?
I have led teams as small as 15 people to as large as over 300 people with multiple global studios and multiple agency partners supplementing our work. for my leadership style and work I prefer small to mid sized teams.
HAVE YOU SCALED A TEAM BEFORE?
I have had multiple roles where I have had to start teams from scratch, or had to rebuild and then scale the team from double to ten times the original size. As a result, I have deep experience in how to create and deploy the tooling, processes, methodologies and culture that is needed to successfully scale the team.
WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
Personality: Assertive Protagonist (ENFJ-A)
Assertive Protagonists are Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging, and Assertive. These warm, forthright types love helping others and have the creative energy to achieve their goals.
Diplomats focus on empathy and cooperation, shining in diplomacy and counseling. They’re imaginative, warm, empathic, and influential people, often playing the role of harmonizers.
My strategy: People Mastery
People Masters seek social contact and have very good communication skills, feeling at ease in social events or directing others. They’re confident and readily express their opinions.
Mind: Extraverted 54% Energy: Intuitive 64% Nature: Feeling 83%
Tactics: Judging 56% Identity: Assertive 51%
Gallop strength finder:
Relator: Working hard with friends.
Learner: Desire to learn and continuously improve.
Responsibility: Takes psychological ownership of what I say I will do.
Individualization: Can see how different people can work together productively.
Strategic: Can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
SY Partners Leadfully rating: Masterful
Korn Ferry leadership components:
Lower range: adjustment
Moderate range: interpersonal sensitivity and prudence, higher range: ambition, sociability, inquisitive, and learning approach.
Influencing designer with cognitive: 99%, rational 81%, goal achievement: 90%, detail: 46% and a motivational distortion score of 11
I love helping people make peace with themselves, be more creative, and become better leaders.
Growing up in the design industry with a father who was also a Creative Director gave me a unique perspective and drive to take on problems like imposter syndrome, the lack of mentorship, little leadership training, and few people talking about any of these issues. As a result, over the years, I have fought to overcome paralyzing stage fright to become an international keynote speaker and podcast host.
The Crazy One podcast and YouTube channel
The Crazy One podcast shares how to become a better leader, be more creative and innovative. I share my experience, challenges and successes leading design for multiple Fortune 500 brands and take on a variety of topics including leadership, creativity, innovation, career advice as well as design and technology trends. The 100+ episodes have been recognized with a Webby Award for Best Technology podcast, has been downloaded over 2 million times, has listeners in over 160 countries, and an average 4.9-star listener review on all global podcast platforms.
I have also appeared on a number of different podcasts discussing everything from creativity to leadership to design systems. Here are two of the more popular interviews.
Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Design Matters with Debbie Millman is one of the world’s very first podcasts Broadcasting independently for over 15 years, the show is about how incredibly creative people design the arc of their lives.