A little bit about me
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and relocated to Alexandria, Virginia (Washington, D.C. Metro) a few years ago with my wife after DOMA was overturned. I was the first in my family to go to college and I consider myself a lifelong learner, whether through life experience or continued higher education. I've worked as a soccer referee, customer service representative at Blockbuster and HMV, resident assistant (RA), back shop attendant at a private golf course, ESL teacher in South Korea, administrative assistant, graphic designer, barista, shift supervisor at Starbucks, music blogger, composer agent, music licensing agent, cultural policy researcher, communications strategist, product designer, and service design lead. Over the years, I've learned how to make an excellent latte and a curated playlist of composer cues for a dramatic series; develop a viral social media marketing campaign and draft formal comments for the CRTC on behalf of independent artists and labels; apply Google’s material design system to the design of a new FTUX for a shared finances Android app, conduct ethnographic research to deepen my understanding of a specific community, and establish a new in-house service design practice at a Fortune 500 government-sponsored enterprise (GSE).
As a practitioner, I consider myself a generalist across the entire end-to-end product lifecycle: planning, research, synthesis, ideation, prototyping, testing, implementing, monitoring and measuring. My leadership philosophy has always been to be honest, genuine and transparent with the team and to treat them as equals. By genuinely valuing their ideas, insights and expertise, I’m able to gain multiple diverse perspectives and provide them with a voice in decision-making. I strive to empower each person to take ownership of their projects and let them rise to the challenge, giving them support and guidance where needed without micro-managing. By trusting them, I’m able to foster a culture of mutual trust and respect.
I’ve long reflected on what will bring meaning to my life in relation to helping others. It now seems as though I’ve been circling around the future of work my entire academic and professional career. I’ve written papers on the education-jobs gap, redesigned the campus recruiting experience for designers at a major financial institution, actively recruited and hired more than two dozen designers for entry to senior level roles, and taken the initiative to administer a “Happiness at Work” survey to monitor the engagement of our growing design team. My experience as a design practitioner, team lead and people manager has provided me with a lot of perspective on opportunities for improvement. I’ve witnessed junior talent accept roles with wide-eyed enthusiasm, only to feel demoralized when their projects become sunset after six months and their efforts go unrecognized; I’ve witnessed hard working design practitioners grow distant from their craft because the only way to advance within the organization was as a people manager; and I’ve witnessed in-house design teams grow fast and fail because delivery and quick-wins were given priority over foundation-building efforts and lasting impact.
Politicians often talk about job creation and unemployment figures, but we rarely hear about the quality of these jobs, their impact on society, or their role in driving positive outcomes for people and the planet. I’d love to emerge as an employee experience thought leader and pioneer the application of service design to human resources, people and culture, and organizational health and wellbeing. We spend about a third of our lives working, so why not be as intentional about cultivating happiness during our working life as we do our personal life? There’s a vast opportunity to rethink and redesign the future of work, as well as shift the public discourse on work and what work means. For me, that starts with our move out west and the opportunity to drive change—I'd love to talk!