Designers are lucky if they get even one class on how to do their work. For most, design education is learned on the job, by trial and error. And forget anyone else learning how to work with a designer. To make great products that serve the customer, business, and brand, designers and their teammates need better tools and methods to ship high quality products.

Nina uses writing, public speaking, workshops, and prototyping conferences to help teams learn how to do the best work of their careers. Many designers, PMs, and engineers who worked with Nina immediately went on to become team leads, people managers, and first-time founders. Nina is happiest when amplifying people around her.




Workshops and facilitation, Stripe

Nina brings the best out of team members. At Stripe, Nina became known as the designer with the "productive meetings" that were inclusive, collaborative, and active. Teams leave the room with shared understanding, new good ideas, clear product roadmaps, and actionable prioritized lists for designers and engineering.


Bydesign conference talk, Prague

People often think of designers as creative visionaries. But our job is to fall in love with problems not solutions. In this talk, learn three collaboration techniques for research, idea generation, and critiques to use tomorrow to get the best out your teams.


Girl Geek Dinner talk, Github

On agile engineering teams, it can feel like design polish will never be a priority. Next time, next time, next time. In this talk, Nina offers tips to develop better relationships with engineering and product managers to see visible and tactical improvements in products shipping to your customers. 


Startup the Party conference co-founder, Tokyo

 Nina and her two friends in Tokyo wanted to brought their brightest and creative friends together. They co-created a weeklong conference bringing attendees from Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Patreon, and other parts of Japan to collaborate with makers in Tokyo.

Designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs took on Stanford style ethnography, protoyped projects on the streets of Tokyo, made street art in abandoned buildings, gave PechaKucha talks, and spent a weekend in the forrest listening to electronic music together.

As a result of the conference, several attendees have since moved to Tokyo or are working together in San Francisco, New York, and Berlin. Years later, a small group of attendees who at at the conferenced formed Symmetry Labs. Our goal was to new relationships across cities where work and play overlap, so we consider our event a great success. 


Selected articles


Advocating for your designers to the business
A design leader lives in two worlds: product design and the business. It’s your job to mediate when the needs of designers and the needs of the business compete. You, the manager, love design, you work with great designers, and you want to use your experiences to help grow their skills and careers. Designing great products can turn into more repeat and new customers: a happy business... 

Managing growth: run a lightning round of feedback
Short iteration loops are just as essential for your designers as it is for the products they design. Frequent, kind, and actionable insights can accelerate your designer’s growth and strengthen your relationship together. With this method, expect to spend 3 hours per designer, per quarter in addition to regular one on ones....

5 ways design managers can nurture growth outside the levels
It’s easy, and even normal, to think happiness comes from winning. But winning is when the most fun part is over: playing the game. Levels outline stages of expertise like L1: Junior Designer or L6: Principal Designer. They help managers and HR bring structure to fair compensation, hiring planning, and consistency across the team. But levels can also be reductive and frame career growth like a game to win...

Your Inspiring Designers [spreadsheet template]
What do you want to do in 5 years? What about 15 years? This question is hard because technology, industries, and what’s possible changes so fast. As a thought exercise, I tracked the career history of ten designers who inspire me in 2015 to help me make my own plan. Because this activity was so valuable for me, I made a spreadsheet template for you...


Konmari consultant in training

Nina is working towards a Konmari Consultant certification in her free time. She works one-on-on-one with individuals in their home helping them determine what they want from their lives and how to design it.


Lebensbild (life portrait), 2018
This art project is an exploration of voice, visual, and written narrative as a self portrait for how Nina defines the next chapter of her life in family, work, art, travel, and connectedness to nature.


Imagine what's possible IF these were more than side projects