Chicago Camps

Leadership by Design Home Edition

August 6–7, 2020

Online — Everywhere

Conference Overview

Learn design leadership from the experts at
Leadership by Design: Home Edition.

On Thursday & Friday, August 6th & 7th, from where ever you are—since we’re not going to be in our space, let’s meet in yours! We’ll have a day of abbreviated design leadership presentations, thoughtful Q&A, and an optional workshop that allow you to gain a lot of insightful learning.

Normally, we’d all be heading to downtown Chicago including all of these wonderful speakers. We’re used to amazing views, great coffees, too many snacks, and a lot of local Chicago-area food goodness. Since we can’t do that, and we don’t want our amazing speakers to miss out on that, we’re going to postpone our full sessions until 2021, and these teasers should make sure we all get enough of a taste to hold us over until then.

Here’s what we’re doing:

  • The first 20 tickets to Leadership By Design: Home Edition for only $5!
  • The rest of the tickets to Leadership By Design: Home Edition are only $10!
  • Workshop tickets are only $15! (Only 50 available!)
  • We’re also offering “Pay What You Can” and “Need 1, Take 1” (free) options, as well

And we’ve got a pretty swanky t-shirt, brought to you in collaboration with our pals at Nerditees:

Leadership by Design: Home Edition black t-shirt Leadership by Design: Home Edition blue t-shirt Leadership by Design: Home Edition pink t-shirt

For $12, you can get your choice of color and size shipped directly to you., and we’ll add an additional “Need 1, Take 1” ticket to the pool.

Meet Our Awesome Sponsors

These great sponsors help us make Leadership by Design affordable and accessible. These organizations see the value in design and design leadership—please show your support for the support they’ve shown us!

About Our Speakers

Great thinking on design leadership is found in many forms in many industries. We’ve curated an incredible lineup of design experts, mentors, and coaches from diverse fields to help you down your own leadership path. Our single-track format ensures you’ll get to learn from every one of them.


Maggie Hsu

Maggie Hsu
Co-Founder, Gold House

Maggie Hsu is a Co-Founder of Gold House, a nonprofit collective of pioneering Asian leaders dedicated to systematically accelerating the Asian diaspora’s societal impact while enhancing the community’s cultural legacy. She is also is the Alliance Manager for Blockchain at Amazon Web Services. Prior to that, she led business development for Fluidity, a platform for tokenizing securities based on the Ethereum blockchain. Maggie was previously Chief of Staff to Tony Hsieh, CEO of Prior to that, Maggie was Director of Strategy at Hilton Worldwide and a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She is a Co-Founder of Mochi Magazine, an online magazine for Asian Americans. Maggie holds undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard University.

For more, keep up with Maggie at

Michelle Y. Bess

Michelle Y. Bess
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director, Sprout Social

Michelle Y. Bess serves as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director at Sprout Social, focusing on efforts to ensure all people feel a sense of belonging and that their voices are heard. Prior to Sprout Social, Michelle worked in college persistence at OneGoal and Posse Chicago.

Michelle attended Whitworth University, earning a B.A. in Biology and completed Georgetown University’s Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management. She was recognized as a 2018 AdWeek Rising Brand Star, serves as a Board Director of Degrees of Change, and is the Founder and Co-Lead of The Brave Space.

For more, keep up with Michelle on Twitter as @michellebess.


Alyssa Boehm

Alyssa Boehm
Vice President of User Experience, Forrester

Alyssa is the Vice President of User Experience at Forrester. She has established UX practices, career ladders, and built high-performing, cross-functional teams in a variety of spaces including customer science, healthcare, financial services, and education. She is based near Boston with her family and some pushy house cats.

Dani Nordin

Dani Nordin
Director Experience Design, athenahealth

Dani Nordin is an experienced UX strategist, designer and researcher, who’s been working in the design industry for over 20 years, most of it on digital products. She’s currently Director of Experience Design at athenahealth, heading up the Orders and Results zone for the athenaClinicals EHR. She’s also a part-time lecturer at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies, where she teaches design thinking for emerging technologies.

Prior to joining athenahealth, she built out a UX practice and design system for Pegasystems’ digital experiences, and she helped to build a user research and design practice for Harvard Business Review.

She lives in Watertown MA with her husband, two daughters, and a dapper golden retriever named Larry.

For more, keep up with Dani at or on Twitter as @danigrrl.

Helen Keighron

Helen Keighron
Director of Product Design, HubSpot

Helen leads a large, global multi-disciplinary team of product designers, content designers and researchers at HubSpot, a SaaS platform enabling businesses to grow through their inbound marketing, sales, and customer service practices.

Over the course of 20 years working in digital design and development, she has (sometimes sneakily) infused user-centered thinking into organizations to solve problems in verticals including automotive, financial services, government, manufacturing, retail, and beyond. Helen has started and scaled high-performing, diverse design teams in environments from design agencies to high growth SaaS companies. Prior to HubSpot, her team at Curriculum Associates re-envisioned a product suite used by 15% of the US K-12 education market.

Helen is always happy to chat about leadership career development, organizational design trade offs, and the power of research storytelling in UX transformations. She believes strongly in mentoring and keeps slots on her calendar for early career professionals and emerging managers. She is based outside Boston in a small town known for llama-on-sheep crime.

For more, keep up with Helen on Twitter as @helenpremium.

Kara DeFrias

Kara DeFrias
Chief of Staff, QuickBooks Online Platform

Kara served as Director of Experience Design in the Obama White House, working on the Cancer Moonshot. Her background is a mix of private and public sector leadership experience, including TurboTax and the inaugural class of White House Presidential Innovation Fellows. In the latter she served as entrepreneur in residence, reimagining the relationship between the government and people from a technology perspective. She does pro-bono for orgs like Team Rubicon; taught human centered design to micro-entrepreneur women in rural India; and guest lectures at UC San Diego and Stanford. She currently champions the self-employed and small businesses on the Intuit QuickBooks Online Platform team as Chief of Staff.

For more, keep up with Kara at or on Twitter as @karadefrias.

Maria Pereda

Maria Pereda
Director of Product Design, Roadmunk

Maria is the Director of Product Design at Roadmunk, a SaaS product that enables companies to visualize their strategy and align as organizations. She is building Roadmunk’s first design practice and laying the foundation for a user research program to guide future efforts. Maria has a strong track record of setting up design practices from the ground up, where she focuses on building foundations for research, strategic design thinking focused on user goals and business outcomes and creating strong partnerships with product and engineering.

Prior to Roadmunk, Maria served as Senior Director of Product Design at Schoology, a leading Edtech company in the K-12 US market. Maria established Schoology’s first design practice and elevated design culture within the organization by making numerous improvements in process throughout the product development life cycle. Past experiences include Group Director of UX at Critical Mass, leading work for the Citi Global accounts in Toronto and New York. She’s also held design leadership positions at GE, where she helped establish a design Center of Excellence, and Fry, an e-commerce startup later acquired by Oracle.

In 2018, she took an oath to never buy clothes again, and has been making her own since, with variable success.


Scott Sullivan

Scott Sullivan
Head of North American Design Group, Ascendum

Scott is the Head of North American Design Group at Ascendum, and helps to build products and services to assist people in making positive long-term changes to their behavior.

Prior to Ascendum, Scott was at Adaptive Path in San Francisco, later working on behavior-focused financial services at Capital One bank. With an arts-driven education and diverse influences, his work has run the spectrum from education to energy; finance to interactive performance art.

For more, keep up with Scott at

Building Compound Designers Workshop Description

It’s useful for researchers to have a thorough understanding of the ideation process, because the ideation is going to be structured around the research findings and deliverables, which will be the result of specifically crafted research protocols. It’s equally as important for these researchers to have an awareness of Content Strategy, so that they can capture specific details in their research that can lead to an understanding of the how people use language to work through the problem space. Interface designers who can meaningfully interpret the provenance of research findings will be able to preserve the intent of strategic decisions when they run into a snag resulting from bringing abstract concepts into our dimensional world full of very real limitations.

Too often, design and designers exist in isolation. They will work on one part of the greater whole, be very good at that one thing, and then come to your company and suddenly something doesn’t quite click. Now when you’ve got ten or fifty, or four hundred designers who’ve worked at various levels of isolation on varied products and services, it can take a long time to get everyone on the same page. Design firms like Adaptive Path would specifically seek out designers who were t-shaped where the bar of the t was equally as developed as the stem. This very intentional generalism was useful for a number of reasons, but one that really stands out is that these designers have an ingrained awareness of how each part of the design process supports and relates to every other phase of the project. This workshop is the result of the need for these strong t-bars in a hiring environment based on keyword searches and hyper-specialization. It focuses on the cause and effect of different inputs, tools, and techniques, why they matter, and how they’re useful for all of the other parts of the process of building meaningful experiences for messy humans in complex circumstances.


Leadership by Design: Home Edition will be 100% online and from where each of us are. And then, later, we’ll share on Vimeo so you can watch and learn again, watch what you’ve missed, or share with your internet pals.

Sponsorship Opportunities

We want to be the easiest partner you’ve ever worked with–even at the traditional conference level! With that as our guiding mantra, all of our Leadership by Design sponsorships are $1,500.

Leadership by Design has many different options available that are comparable to any other large scale event, and we’re happy to work with you to create something custom to meet your needs. We’ve got a great event planned and we’d love to talk to you about how we can partner with you!

If you’re interested in sponsoring Leadership by Design and getting in front of the people who are driving the future of design, contact us or download our Sponsorship Packet.

Chicago Sponsors Camps

  • Rosenfeld Media
  • Simplecast
  • Lead Honestly
  • Columbia College Chciago

Code of Conduct

All attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at our conference are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event. We are expecting cooperation from all participants to help ensuring a safe environment for everybody.

The Short Version
Full Version

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter and other online media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.