Introducing Women’s Design Leadership

Jen Byyny
Jen Byyny
Sep 30 · 3 min read

How two female design leaders are coaching each other on the journey of leadership.

Claire and I met at ArtCenter College of Design (ACCD) in the Graduate Media Design program in 2002. We became fast friends from the beginning and shared similar mindsets. Since our days at ACCD we have worked in various design roles and industries including: Education, Media, Health, Finance, Lifestyle, Data Analytics, Government, Enterprise Software Design and Software as a Service.

While Claire and I were chatting about work and life one day I asked, “Do you know if there are any good ‘women in tech’ mentorship resources?” We both realized we couldn’t think of any. We had entered the land of UX from the time when UX was not a discipline and have been doers and early shapers of the landscape.

Claire proposed we create one: “Let’s discuss our journey of UX/product/design leadership on a regular basis. This way we help guide each other and make a commitment to talk often.” This is now our co-founded project. With over 15 years each in UX Design, we see ourselves as pioneers in the industry. And we are still growing as we go.

Today Claire and I both have Leadership Design roles in software companies, Finance and Health respectively. We often have video meetings to discuss situations at work and provide advice to each other about how to resolve them. We share resources about how to grow personally and professionally, how to be better leaders, and ponder what we are seeking in our careers at this point in our lives. We share a philosophy of guiding the next UX/product design leaders while also coaching each other along in this process of work and life.

Our conversations are not new or unique, but we think there are ones worth sharing. Join us in our journey of ‘growing as we go.’

Our goals for WDL are the following:

  • We support each other by listening, sharing advice and offering encouragement.
  • We are coaching each other to help grow our careers.
  • We are pioneers as first-gen UXers. We now lead teams and help grow their careers.
  • We coach designers who want to become the next design leaders.
  • Through all of the above, we are breaking new trail.

We discuss situations that many in the design tech world deal with every day. We wondered if there was a podcast or blog we could follow? And while there are many great design and tech podcasts and blogs, none came to mind with the specific lens of the day to day experiences of women leaders in tech design. So we decided to create one.

We know that many female leaders in tech face similar issues. It is our mission to share honest opinions, perspectives, lessons and shortcomings in areas we seek more information, and offer encouragement when we are not confident. We want to invite others to the conversation to participate and contribute to the women leaders in the tech community. Join us on this journey and let’s grow together.

Me (on left) and Claire at ArtCenter MFA graduation in 2004

About Jen and Claire

Before we met at ArtCenter, Claire worked at museums as a curator with a Master’s degree in Art History. And I worked as an art director advertising after studying Business Marketing in undergrad.

After graduate design school, Claire taught Interactive Media Design at a private college, worked at CivicConnect, EPAM Systems and now is Director of Product Design at BlackLine, a leading provider of cloud software that automates and controls the entire financial close process headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Post ACCD, I did UX contract work in San Francisco, spent many years on various products at Yahoo, and then joined Looker Data Analytics. I am currently Head of Product Design at Welltok, a leading enterprise SaaS company for consumer health activation located in Denver, CO.

Women’s Design Leadership

Career growth through the lens of women in design leadership roles

Jen Byyny

Written by

Jen Byyny

Design leader focused on business and people growth. Success to me is when business impact and personal growth influence each other.

Women’s Design Leadership

Career growth through the lens of women in design leadership roles

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade