Teaching & Speaking

 

i am from a family of teachers

My father and mother were teachers as was my grandfather, and aunts and uncles on both sides. One would think this was my professional destiny. Instead, my parents, perhaps a little jaded, viewed the corporate world as a Shangri-la without the headaches and hassles of public school systems. They prodded my sibling and I towards careers outside the educational sector. In my second year at college, I found my way into tech as a web designer for the university's international offices. 

At university, my favorite professor exalted, "What ever you learn, share with others. That is your service." 

Early in my career at IBM, I ran workshops on user-centered design for the new Web to print-based documentation folks. I gave presentations at the Society for Technical Communication on usability testing. I published case studies and usability articles in ACM journals, AS/400 magazine, and Midrange Computing

Fast forward to the late 2000s... After an MBA and two years in brand management, I left my good corporate job at Nestle to travel the world for two years. My travels brought me to India, Southeast Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

When I returned and settled into the Bay Area in 2010, it was time for me to be of service as a way of saying thank you for all the gifts and magic I felt when I left one life to live another.  I started my blog Take Your Big Trip and gave workshops to tell others how to live their dreams and travel the world. And in this experience, I realized that I was a teacher.

Photo by Mark Altenberg

Photo by Mark Altenberg

Photo by Mark Altenberg

Photo by Mark Altenberg

I ran the blog for five years and planned and ran a Meet Plan Go and Net Impact events, spoke at several Asia Society meetings, and ultimately ran a Take Your Big Trip workshop at SXSW Interactive, where I had been voted in to the conference by hundreds of members of the community I had impacted. I shared what I knew to 1000s of website visitors per month and hundreds of workshop attendees. I know for sure that my workshops have spawned at least 10 big trips.

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Travel remains a part of my life, but I am fully back in tech and currently a director of product at a digital health startup. My teaching efforts are focused on helping UX designers apply the business skills of analysis, strategy, and client management to their work. I still run workshops as part of my job, and find great joy in creating an engaging and educational experience where all members walk away with practical skills they can apply immediately.

I've published: 

I spoke at UXPA-Boston to several hundred UX practitioners and product managers about Choosing the Right Metrics to Show UX ROI. You can see see a small video of me speaking. My session was rated 25/26 "Thumbs Up." Some of the feedback I received about my presentation included, 

"So much great data in this- I can immediately share at my job. One of the two best presentations of the day"
"This was worth the cost for the day! Loved the directtranslation of business goals to UX goals"
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When I'm not speaking or teaching, I listen to questions from my peers with curiosity, "What do they want to know? What concerns do they have? What are they seeking to learn?" These breadcrumbs are my new trail to new workshops. My parents' fears were averted, I'm not a teacher by trade, but teaching is my way of service.

Contact me about a teaching engagement >