Steph majored in Advertising at the Savannah College of Art and Design after being fascinated with how the needs of a business are fused with solving design problems. After graduating with her B.F.A. in 2010, she was offered a role as a Designer at NewCity in Blacksburg, VA, where she focused on designing for the higher education space for six years. While working on university websites, she gained an understanding of best practices on the web, the importance of discovery, and designing for prospective students. After missing the Baltimore area for too long, Steph moved back to her hometown in 2016 for an Interactive Designer position at Mindgrub Technologies. She later left for a chance to work at a startup building CRM software, before coming back in 2018 as a Product Design Manager. She recently took an opportunity as a Principal Product Designer at Exelon, which opened up more opportunities for her to provide mentorship and coaching for other designers.
In her current role as a Principal Designer at Exelon, she oversees several products, evolving the design process within the organization, and maintaining a level of quality for her teams. Teaching, coaching and lifting others up is a part of what she loves to do in her day to day, and she is excited to do that for new and aspiring talent through AIGA.
What’s your biggest challenge as a designer or creative?
Understanding the research space and how it can be used to your advantage. In the UX process, research is a must, but it can be a trap when you build a product thinking “Let’s just test it!” without really knowing what the problem is you’re trying to solve. Knowing the right research methods is something I am constantly learning.
What’s your favorite quote/philosophy?
“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” – Anthony Bourdain
What are your top 3 favorite books or movies? (doesn’t have to be design-related)
Better Call Saul (TV series!)
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
What’s on your desk that you could not live without?
Sticky notes + sharpie. SO MANY!
What sparks creativity for you?
Used to be walking around the city until we sadly moved to the burbs. I miss doing that every day! There’s so much great design in the city. Things are a little more peaceful now, I’ll chill on my back deck or check on my gardens. Outside of the day to day, attending a design conference or seeing live music always sparks inspiration.
What are some of your hobbies?
Native gardening, barre, wine, exploring new places with my son, video games (Switch and PS5), watching long video essays on Youtube