Growing your team from Performance Improvement Plans into Team MVPs

Natalie celebrates her team, Gotham Girls Roller Derby, at the awards ceremony for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
Natalie celebrates her team, Gotham Girls Roller Derby, at the awards ceremony for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
Natalie, aka Ginger Snap; front row, second from the left, celebrates another championship medal win with Gotham Girls Roller Derby

Growing your team from Performance Improvement Plans into Team MVPs

I learned everything I know about leadership from roller derby. And, aside from the broken bones and bruises, the fundamentals of mentorship, coaching, and teamwork seamlessly translate into leading design teams.

Roller derby. I know. Stay with me.

Before my entrance into the tech and design worlds, Gotham Girls Roller Derby was a full-time, actual real 40+ hour a week job. I helped bring what started as group of 6 women skating around in a parking lot and build it into a half a million dollar per year NY NFP that sells out arenas, has 9 international championship medals, and…


a11y
ˈalī/
noun

  1. Shorthand for being an accessibility advocate
  • Origin: breaking down the word “accessibility” with only the first and last letters, plus the 11 letters in between (a11y).
  • “Being an a11y will help your company avoid getting slapped with a lawsuit, and make your product available to a growing population who want to buy your products and services.”

Disclaimer — I am not a licensed attorney nor do I work at a law firm. Please contact your legal counsel for details and questions about your unique accessibility situation.

Many companies struggle with the financial feasibility of making their digital…


Image for post
Image for post

I posted a random rant on the twitters about how the Miss Universe card was pretty damn horrible. Then I let it go. Then I read an interesting article by a thoughtful designer, David Kadavi (who I only know from his writings). In the piece, Kadavy defended the design of the card. So — like every designer — I have an opinion and an asshole, so I decided to write about it.

Even taking into account his followup comments about it being “fine,” not “perfect,” I still disagree. I don’t even think the card was “fine.” It failed an in-context…


Image for post
Image for post
In Greek plays, the masks weren’t just fancy for the sake of bein’ fancy. Masks were constructed to amplify the actor’s voice in the large amphitheaters, serving a functional purpose as well as an aesthetic one. The same principal should be applied to UX and UI Designs.

Ancient cultures learned about their world through storytellers. They learned about their gods and devils through ceremonies, rituals, performances — that is, experiences. Without being able to read, these experiences were the only way to learn how to be a good person in the eyes of the gods. They had to be accurate. Every tiny element had to support the stories and teachings. One didn’t dare distract the congregation with meaningless props, words, characters, movement, or costumes when teaching people how to avoid angering Zeus or avoid turning into a pillar of salt. …

Natalie Blair

Design leader, team builder, Brooklynite, interaction designer, storyteller, connector of dots, herder of cats, retired roller derby skater, dog mom

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store