Becoming a UX Leader: Insights & Advice from New UX Leads

You’ve just learned you’re going to be leading UX on a project – what now? Whether you’re new to it, in the throes of it, or aspiring to UX leadership, making the transition from designer to leader comes with new challenges such as strategy, project management and people management, that can be intimidating without direction and support. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ playbook, this panel discussion with Lauren Russell from U.Group, Nikki Kerber from Mediabarn, and Justin Kalaskey from Phase 2 Technology seeks to bridge the gap by providing actionable advice, useful resources and examples of wins/challenges faced by the new UX leader.

Featured Panelists:

Lauren Russell
My name is Lauren Russell, and I am a Senior Visual/UX Lead for U.Group, focused on enterprise ux and visual sensemaking across the digital landscape. I am often motivated to find the limit so that my team can exceed it to create something truly remarkable and useful.
I have over 10 years of experience in the civic design and tech space, working with teams to solve taxpayer problems and make palatable processes for the federal worker. Over the years, I have developed a toolkit with which to respond, rather than react to any user-centered challenge that comes my way.
I graduated from Corcoran College of Art + Design with a Bachelor’s in Fine Art for Graphic Design. In my free time, I like to build things, draw, and yoga.

Nikki Kerber
Nikki Kerber is currently a Lead UX Strategist at Media Barn Inc, located in Arlington, where she leads cross-functional digital teams in the delivery of UX research and design initiatives for clients such as the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. Over the course of her career, she has formed partnerships with four different government agencies and a handful of commercial entities all with the same goal, proving the best in class omni-experience for both the customer and business. Her areas of expertise include product development and visioning, persona development, usability testing and service design. Prior to Media Barn, she led small and medium sized project teams as well as the internal UX community of practice for Booz Allen Hamilton.

Justin Kalaskey
Justin has been a website UI designer for over seven years, with five of them focused around UX. He’s worked primarily in agency settings with a focus on B2B companies across a variety of industries. In his previous role as the Associate Director of UX at a mid-sized digital marketing agency, he built the agency’s UX Department from the ground up, including strategy and service offerings. Prior to that, he took lead on many web projects, from intake and research to high-fidelity prototypes, ready to be handed off to development.

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