Chicago Camps

Leadership by Design

September 29–30, 2022

Online — Everywhere

Conference Overview

Learn design leadership from the experts at
Leadership by Design 2022.

On Thursday & Friday, September 29th & 30th, from where ever you are. Since we’re not going to be in our space, let’s meet in yours! We’ll have 2 days of stellar keynotes and focused design leadership presentations with thoughtful Q&A that allow you to gain a lot of insightful learning. In addition,each day has an uplifting interstitial that provides a nice break.

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 we’re going to postpone our full sessions until 2023.

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.


Carol J. Smith

Carol J. Smith
Sr. Research Scientist, Human-Machine Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

Carol Smith has been has been improving the human experience across industries for 20 years and working to improve AI systems since 2015. She is a Senior Research Scientist in Human-Machine Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and an adjunct instructor for CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). Carol has an M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction from DePaul University and is an active UX community organizer.

For more, keep up with Carol at or on Twitter as @carologic.

Ethics & Trust for Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies such as automated vacuums and smart refrigerators are becoming more common in homes, and we all find ourselves conversing regularly with chatbots (whether we want to or not!). As these systems augment humans at work and at play, design teams are challenged with managing the complexity of the interactions, and need to ensure that humans are kept safe and in control. Unfortunately, ethical statements such as “do no harm” are simplistic and unhelpful when designing complex interactions.

Carol will introduce practical approaches that integrate ethical design principles; engage teams in speculative work to proactively identify bias and harms; and help you and your team to focus on supporting users in gaining calibrated trust of these new systems. Strong leadership and facilitation skills are needed to guide teams through these often uncomfortable discussions. Be prepared to guide your team successfully through this important work.

Wil Reynolds

Wil Reynolds
Founder & VP of Innovation, Seer Interactive

A former teacher with a knack for advising, Wil has been helping companies develop brand marketing strategies since 1999. As the industry evolved, so has Wil’s approach. In recent years, Wil has been leading the charge in leveraging “Big Data” to break down silos between SEO, Paid Media, and traditional marketing—helping clients see the big picture by combining and analyzing data from various sources (even billboards). Wil’s data-driven approach to consulting helps clients and their teams make better, more strategic, cross-channel decisions and hit the ground running with honest, actionable insights to start generating results and revenue.

Wil likes helping people too. While data is at the forefront of Wil’s approach, so is wanting to help others grow and better themselves. Seeing the need for an agency that does good by its team, clients, and community, Wil started Seer Interactive in 2002 as a one-person operation out of his living room. Today, Seer is a remote-first company with offices in Philadelphia and San Diego that employs over 220 people. As Seer’s VP of Innovation, Wil develops strategies to help clients find opportunities where the typical tools do not. His methods have shaped the search industry worldwide, and he regularly speaks for marketing conferences all around the world. When he’s not working, you can catch Wil hanging out with his wife Nora, sons Rio and Niko, checking out the best craft beer spots he can find, or keeping up with his running goals.

For more, keep up with Wil on Twitter as @wilreynolds.

Fireside Chat

Wil has been helping Fortune 500 companies develop brand marketing strategies since 1999. Wil’s data-driven approach to consulting helps clients and their teams make better, more strategic, cross-channel decisions and hit the ground running with honest, actionable insights to start generating results and revenue. As Seer’s Vice President of Innovation, Wil develops strategies and innovations to help clients build traffic and make money. Over the past two decades, his methods have helped shape the search industry and he regularly speaks at marketing conferences worldwide.


Anne Hjortshoj

Anne Hjortshoj
Senior Director of User Experience, CarGurus

Anne Hjortshoj is a product design leader with an accidental specialty in spinning up new teams. During her 20+ year career, she’s successfully led design and product teams in industries as disparate as automotive, cybersecurity, online education, financial services, politics, and advertising. Anne is currently Senior Director of UX at CarGurus, where she’s leading the team she founded three and a half years ago.

For more, keep up with Anne at or on Twitter as @annesaurus.

Stage Zero: What to Know When Starting a Design Team from Scratch

Congratulations! You’ve accepted a job where you’ll have the great privilege of leading design at a company the way you’d like to lead it, by building a team the way you’d like to build it… for a company that has never worked with designers.

During this talk, I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned from my experience during the last decade of building three teams at three very different organizations. I’ll describe what to expect as far as ups and downs of the challenge you’ve just accepted, and will provide a playbook to help you and your team find success. Additionally, I’ll provide tips to help you select the right company to join in the first place.

Liya James

Liya James
Author, Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

Liya is a designer, inclusion advocate, and author. Over the past two decades, Liya’s product innovation work has touched millions of users through collaborations with brands like Apple, AT&T, Mercedes-Benz R&D, and IBM Design, and she’s had the privilege to work alongside disruptive startup founders and social entrepreneurs whose collective exits total several billion dollars. She continues hone her craft and search for better ways to make the world a better place through technology as co-founder and principal at Totally Human, where she and a diverse team of designers and strategists help companies identify and productize opportunities to do good and do well.

Liya is currently writing a book on the relationship between Innovation By Inclusion with Rosenfeld Media.

For more, keep up with Liya at

Natalie M Dunbar

Natalie M Dunbar
Senior UX Content Strategy Manager, Walmart

Natalie Marie Dunbar is a UX-focused content strategist with a unique blend of skills as a journalist, content writer, and user researcher. Taken together with her curiosity for technology and her passion for engaging consumers, Natalie excels in balancing the creation of delightful user experiences with strategic content that supports the needs of a business or organization.

Natalie has worked in various roles as a content writer and strategist for brands that include Anthem, Farmers Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Walmart, and She’s also produced original content for (US) federal agencies that include the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Centers for Tobacco Prevention (CTP), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Veteran’s Administration (VA).

When she’s not herding content or writing books, Natalie teaches private yoga, sharing the benefits of Hatha Yoga as a peaceful yet powerful way to reconnect mind, body, and spirit. Her first book, From Solo to Scaled: Building a Sustainable Content Strategy Practice, is available from Rosenfeld Media.

For more, keep up with Natalie at or on Twitter as @TheLiterati.


Emily Haines Lloyd

Emily Haines Lloyd
Writer & Pep Talker

A copywriter, magazine contributor, and novelist—Emily Haines Lloyd has been telling stories her entire life.

Emily writes about creativity, transformation, living well, and occasionally frozen fish (we’ve all got bills to pay.) She’s published a book of inspiring, real-talk poems called Pep Talk Poetry and has contributed to a variety of publications including Medium, Elephant Journal, and Detroit News.

Emily also facilitates workplace training on the power of positivity, as well as breathing and meditation sessions. Because even if you don’t believe in harnessing your chi, we can all agree that a deep breath and some stretches never hurt anyone.

You can follow Emily at @WriterEm on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for daily reminders that you’re an unmitigated badass. Or visit for more information.


Leadership by Design 2022 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.