As a senior-level creative professional with 30 years of industry experience and an MFA in Innovation and Design Research, I enjoy discovering the “why” as much as crafting the “what.” I’ve collaborated with and led multidisciplinary teams on hundreds of branding and communications solutions for a multitude of clients. I’ve presented to audiences in the US and abroad on design, creative culture and the power of empathy. I’ve led participatory design and design-thinking workshops that unlock innovation for designers and non-designers alike.
At the center of all of this is an intense fascination with understanding the myriad ways in which audiences interact with design, advertising, and the world around them. I am compelled by the need to understand, connect with, and support the people I collaborate with and the communities I produce work for. Whether the outcome is a new brand, product, service, system or process, there are few things in life as satisfying as creating something that, in turn, creates a positive shift in how humans think, behave and relate to the world around them.
My work has been recognized by Graphis, Print, LogoLounge, the US Ad Review, Black Book‘s AR100, the Effies, VOX, ShowSouth and the American Advertising Federation, and my students have won numerous awards at local, regional and national competitions such as the American Advertising Federation Awards, the National Student Show, and the AIGA Flux Awards, and have had work from my classes featured in Luerzer’s Archive, Graphis and Graphic Design USA.
TeachingIn my former role as a professor of practice, I specialized in bringing industry-relevant instruction into every class, with a particular focus on the importance of developing human-centered connections with all stakeholders that lead to deeply meaningful outcomes. As the director of a student-run design studio, this focus was of particular value. FourDesign is both a course and a working studio, where a small team of handpicked design majors work directly with clients and their customers, learning the “language of business,” the importance of interdisciplinarity, and the potential of design to make a positive impact on the world we live in. In 2021 I received some unexpected recognition for my work with FourDesign and was honored with the “Advertising Person of the Year” award, presented by the Western Virginia chapter of the American Advertising Federation.
ResearchMy academic research focused on the discovery, practice and critical analysis of the ever-increasing range of skills needed for successful relationships between designers, collaborators, clients, and the communities we are designing for. As a result, I was able to create the kinds of teaching strategies and experiential-learning opportunities that provide students with the tools needed for those interactions. Understanding the factors that influence how audiences perceive and interact with design enables designers to become strategic partners with clients, actively participating in helping them create relationships with their customers instead of just providing a creative service. I also actively sought out transdisciplinary collaborations with teams of faculty researchers and industry professionals, with the overarching goal of effecting positive change for a range of communities. The grant proposals I was involved in addressed a variety of topics such as consumer perceptions of poultry welfare during food production, recycling construction waste, lead detection in drinking water, and recovery housing for families impacted by addiction.
ServiceAcademic and professional service engagements have provided opportunities to use my background and expertise in a variety of contexts. Some examples include serving as an invited panelist, grant proposal reviewer, and portfolio reviewer for the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and as a team mentor for Make a Mark, a local design and development marathon benefiting Virginia nonprofits. At Virginia Tech, I also served on several advisory boards and committees such as the Human-Centered Design Graduate Program Executive Committee, the Office of Undergraduate Research Advisory Board, and the College of Architecture and Urban Studies Diversity Committee.
ConnectIf you need more info or would like to discuss a project, collaboration, or speaking engagement, please send me an email. You can also download my resume (the short version) or my CV (the long version).
ClientsBelow are a few of the clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with along the way: