How do you explain your profession to people outside of the industry? What do you find most exciting and/or rewarding about this work?
I would summarize my profession as designing experiences that are founded by human science. At Ford, we approach each design challenge using a research methodology centering on neurology, psychology and anthropology. By utilizing these three foundations of human behavior to shape our solution, we are able to account for the needs of the individual, the group and the community. This collective understanding forms the building blocks of a human experience and enables diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to remain at the core of everything we do.
What I find most exciting about this work is the impact we can have at multiple scales. When talking about workplace, our findings have the ability to impact both the spaces we create and the policy of an organization. The impact within workplace is cyclical and can be monumental. When an organization understands the ‘why’ behind their employees’ behavior, and in response designs curated experiences, it will inevitably boost organizational culture, which drives retention and wellbeing, further enhancing the ‘why.’ Then, the cycle continues. There is incredible value in deeply understanding your employees even in large, multifaceted, global organizations.
Within Retail, we have the potential to positively impact individuals, communities, and even nations of people when we pair human science with the data and analytics we have access to. We can begin to overlay thick and thin data to not only transform the retail experience, but enrich the lives of our customers along the way.
What milestone or accomplishment have you made in your career that you are most proud of?
I am incredibly proud of the design team that we have created within Ford’s Built Environment Studio. We have an incredibly well-rounded, diverse, talented and inclusive team of designers and strategist with a range of background experiences. We value the diversity of our team as it ensures we are thinking broadly in both our strategy and execution. Mentoring others on their creative journeys has been incredibly fulfilling.
What is one notable achievement (personal or professional) that you've made over the past year?
I’m proud that I’ve been able to educate our organization up through executive leadership on the importance and value of human-centered design. Through this understanding my team has been able to:
Drive key initiatives across multiple facets of the organization including our notable work-from-anywhere policy’
Formulate the design strategy and execution of our global workplaces (gaining the recognition of Comparably’ s “Companies with the Coolest Office Layouts”);
Set in motion the deep exploration into enriching the lives of our manufacturing workers through enhanced and equitable access to wellness; and
Garner trust to lead the exploration into discovering the future of our retail strategy (likely the largest, and most exciting accomplishment, but still confidential at this time).
What is a piece of media that has inspired you professionally?
I recently read a book titled “You’re Not Listening: What you’re missing and why it matters,” by Kate Murphy. This book has transformed not only the way I listen but how I communicate, as well. This book dives deeply into the reason most people tend not to listen anymore, the psychology of listening, how information is processed in the brain, and what the devastating impacts can be when listening is not a honed skill. I’ve found this body of work incredibly valuable in my daily work. It has helped me engage with customers with far more empathy. I now have an understanding of how to listen more efficiently to what people say, and what they don’t (both are incredibly valuable).
Please share one fun or surprising fact about yourself:
I enjoy activities that get my adrenaline going: riding motorcycles, driving cars at the racetrack or bungee jumping!