I am a user researcher and design strategist whose practice has been built upon core learnings and beliefs collected from different academic, cultural and organizational settings:
- As a linguistic ethnographer I was trained to observe and describe rather than present ready-made solutions. Doing fieldwork for Italy’s first sign language dictionary for the Deaf taught me the essential role of upfront research driven by a user-centric mindset.
- Experiencing life as “the other” in communities both at home and abroad laid a foundation of empathy that reminds me never to lose sight of the end user perspective (as separate from my own). As a fair-haired and forthright American woman modeling critical thinking and writing in a Turkish university, I put my vision on hold so the surrounding context could set the agenda.
- A “problem posing” participatory model of education has been the basis for how I engage students, stakeholders and users alike – as co-creators of meaning and change. Teaching workplace English at a Haitian multi-service community center proved that language learners will flourish when the curriculum is designed around their own rich and profound life stories, rather than workbooks or tests.
- Coaching writers new to academic discourse gave birth to my heart-felt commitment to iteration. In corporate contexts I witnessed teams struggling to suspend judgment and tolerate ambiguity are more likely to produce “successful” results than less flexible teams settling on a MVP offering that satisfies no one.
- Shifting the organizational conversation to center upon its end users energizes me. This can be accomplished – albeit slowly – through a combination of regular Member Listening Labs, research reporting, design thinking workshops and empathy gathering activities across the company.
I am tirelessly committed to creating better product experiences, and passionate about empowering team members to build and act upon their own insights.