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32 Inspirational Design Managers You Should Follow 15 February 2016 | Piotr Koczorowski

Welcome to People You Should Follow!

Come forward and have a look at the brand new episode of our series.

Those people know how to join the beauty of design and the craft of business and – I warn you – they're pretty good at it. Most are experts also in the fields of UX, Product and so on – the term design is a wide one.

This week we've got for you: 32 Inspirational Design Managers You Should Follow.

We prepared a handy table of contents at the bottom – use it to navigate the list! Remember, this is not a ranking – everyone is equally important.

List of experts

Click on the expert's name to go to their section

  1. Susan Tacker, Teradata Marketing Applications
  2. Michael Hayes, SumTotal Systems
  3. Brian Berhoeven, Morningstar
  4. Nikhil Welankar, Cognizant Technology Solutions
  5. Carol Smith, IBM
  6. Leonardo De La Rocha. Facebook
  7. Robert Hendry, Salesforce
  8. Jim Griffin, Reuters
  9. Andrew Merryweather, Thomson Reuters
  10. Leah Koentopf, Capital One
  11. Kate Kapp, Tesco PLC
  12. Scott Pitkin, Angie's List
  13. Isaak Hayesy, AppDirect
  14. Barbara Gulten, Shopbop
  15. Mark Romney, Brooks Running
  16. Darren House, Grant & Stone Ltd
  17. Jonathan Nachum, Shutterstock
  18. Damon Dimmick
  19. Nick Forrester, Zopa
  20. Chris Kirkman, loanDepot
  21. Doug Hungarter, Amazon
  22. Christopher Rampey, Amazon
  23. Nick Beese, Amazon
  24. Calvin Nguyen, Amazon
  25. Hugh O'Carroll, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  26. Chris Heideger, Perficient
  27. Bruno Wong, Webgility
  28. Juliet Sallette, Donco Designs
  29. Boon Chew, SapientNitro
  30. Alvaro Soto, McCombs School of Business
  31. Carrie Huang, Vodafone
  32. Shay Rahman, KPMG

Susan Tacker

Susan Tacker

User Experience Design Manager at Teradata Marketing Applications

Technical content and user experience leader; passionate and pragmatic user advocate in an Agile, enterprise software development organization.

Practiced in creating collaborative and high-functioning teams; developing team-wide skills; mentoring; and managing global departments. Founder of the Houston chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association (UXPA); Director of Membership and Sponsorship of Triangle UXPA; co-organizer of Ladies That UX – Durham. Master’s degrees in both Human Factors in Information Design and in Journalism.

Twitter: @sdtackerWebsite: linkedin.com/in/sdtacker

Michael Hayes

Michael Hayes

Manager of User Experience Design at SumTotal Systems

Currently the Manager of User Experience Design responsible for leading a team of UX designers creating user-centered experiences that focus on compelling interfaces, intuitive usability and clear functionality.

Twitter: @2amDesignerWebsite: coroflot.com/mhayes76

Brian Berhoeven

Brian Berhoeven

UX Design Manager at Morningstar

As a UX Designer Manager Brian leads and mentors the UX design team, designs and oversees existing and future user experiences for HelloWallet’s product(s), develops wireframes, sketches, diagrams, designs, prototypes with and without clear direction.

He also collaborates with engineers, product managers, users, customers, researchers and other designers to deliver award-winning experiences and advocates, designs and plans qualitative and quantitative design experiments for our products.

Brian is also a user-advocate during the entire development process.

Twitter: @beverhoevenWebsite: linkedin.com/in/brianverhoeven

Nikhil Welankar

Nikhil Welankar

Manager – User Experience Design at Cognizant Technology Solutions

Nikhil has 13 years of professional work experience in User Experience Design & Visual Communication including user research, prototyping, usability testing for web & mobile applications. He conducted 200+ user interviews and 100+ usability testing sessions in India, Malaysia and USA and authored 5 research papers based on the Nokia Research projects and presented them in prestigious international conferences in India, Netherlands and USA.

He also has expertise in various UX design techniques such as contextual inquiries, stakeholder interviews, surveys, task analysis, card sorting, affinity modeling, mind mapping, information architecture, prototyping, usability testing, expert reviews, competitor analysis and heuristic evaluations.

Twitter: @nikhilwelankarWebsite: linkedin.com/in/nikhilwelankar

Carol Smith

Carol Smith

User Experience Design Manager and Speaker

Research driven UX Manager who motivates teams to design products and services to meet the needs of their intended users.

I welcome opportunities to evangelize about UX through local and international speaking engagements, and have spoken at over 50 usability and technical events around the world.

At IBM Carol is leading design strategy and managing a team of designers who are creating innovative, delightful user experiences in an Agile environment.

Twitter: @carologicWebsite: linkedin.com/in/caroljsmith

Leonardo De La Rocha

Leonardo De La Rocha

Product Design Manager at Facebook

Tenets: Make people smile, Make insights actionable, Remember scale & flexibility, Decisions rooted in research but always what feels right, Make things that are beyond useable — make them persuasive.

Current areas of focus: Design standards and centralized design tools, Communication design, dashboards and data visualization, usability research, Legos.

Recent Experience: Org staffing, culture catalyst, and product design manager on Facebook add platform, Design lead for Yahoo StreamAds (Gemini), Launched Yahoo's re-envisioned suite of global publishing tools, Contributing lead for global design language system, mobile interaction design (iOS) for Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, dashboard/metric design language, strategic product role, re-branding strategies.

Twitter: @delarochaWebsite: delarocha.myportfolio.com

Robert Hendry

Robert Hendry

Experience Design Manager

A fusion of Designer and Product Manager, powered by technology and a fair amount of caffeine to deliver elegant user-centric solutions … I have the ability to navigate the labyrinth of stakeholders & requirements, synergistically cross silos, use words like synergistically with confidence, envision contingent solutions and develop products from concept to execution with iteration and feature enhancements.

I am passionate about creating innovative products that do both: address business goals and deliver exceptional user experience. Employing my UI and UX background, I deliver solutions that increase engagement and promote better usability through the cutting edge web technology without adding more cow bell just for the sake of it.

Listening to the customer and guiding them through the journey to arrive at an optimal solution is an important part of my design process. By utilizing my visual design / prototype skills, I bring value by eliminating resource bottlenecks that translate business requirements into rich customer experiences.

Twitter: @ibrodkastWebsite: linkedin.com/in/robertolsonhendry

Jim Griffin

Jim Griffin

Head of Design, Reuters

Seasoned user experience executive with a focus in web and mobile platform design, strategy, usability, and architecture. Proven track record of executing and delivering products, from concept to release, leading large product teams across business, design, and development.

At Reuters Jim leads a global and multidisciplinary team that designs the user experience and brand identity across Reuters.com products, creative advertising solutions, and marketing collateral.

Twitter: @jagriffin7Website: flipboard.com/@jagriffin7

Andrew Merryweather

Andrew Merryweather

Director of Design, Financial & Risk UX Design Group, Thomson Reuters

I build and lead UX research, interaction design, visual design, and data visualisation capabilities for large-scale enterprise software projects.

I have overseen the design, development, and successful deployment of desktop, web, and mobile software products. I have prior experience managing development, technical QA, and project management teams.

Twitter: @merryuxWebsite: linkedin.com/in/andrewmerryweather

Leah Koentopf

Leah Koentopf

Senior Digital Design Manager | Capital One

A conceptually driven, creative strategist and leader with 15 years of professional experience in cross platform design and managing design teams. A team player, visionary and mentor, dedicated to the craft of user experience design and motivated by driving results.

Through her career, Leah has designed and lead teams for a variety of start-ups, agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Recent focus has centered around extending the AOL digital footprint for its millions of consumers.

Twitter: @LeahLynkWebsite: krop.com/leahlynk/resume

Kate Kapp

Kate Kapp

Senior Service Design Manager at Tesco PLC

I am a service-minded user experience designer with a broad design background background who is keen to apply systems and service-thinking to challenges in a variety of sectors.

I enjoy visualising ideas and experimenting with new and innovative processes that bring together design, data and futures. I work in highly collaborative ways, and have a wide stock of creative methods to bring this mind-set into organisations – workshops, service safaris, service blue-prints, ecosystem mapping etc. If I have one guiding principle it is to bring fun to the table – it grows the potential to overcome obstacles and inspires teams beyond the ordinary.

Twitter: @katekappukWebsite: linkedin.com/in/katekapp

Scott Pitkin

Scott Pitkin

UX Design Manager at Angie's List

A results driven design leader with a passion for creating meaningful digital experiences on the web and across screens. Experienced with shaping world-class sites on a global scale, from concept to launch. Excited about creating large, content rich web sites, focused and memorable mobile experiences, and intuitive applications that are fast, social and personal.

Twitter: @pitkinsgWebsite: unfenced.com

Isaak Hayes

Isaak Hayes

Senior Product Design Manager

Passionate design leader with over 10 years of professional experience designing for dynamic user-centered GUIs on the web, desktop, mobile and other devices. Recognized as a innovator, problem-solver, and advocate for the user. Passionate about creating visually compelling user interfaces based on user-centered design principles and best practices. Master comfort level in agile processes, communication, wireframing, visual styling and front-end coding.

Twitter: @isaakhayesWebsite: ihcreative.tumblr.com

Barbara Gulten

Barbara Gulten

Sr UX Design Manager at SHOPBOP | EAST DANE – Amazon.com

At Shopbop Barbara is managing Shopbop iOS and Android products. She is a User Experience Strategist who specializes in Mobile Product Management (iOS, android), UX Design, Innovation, Inventor (US Patent No.8121900), UI Design, User Research, User Testing, Marketing, Web Analytics.

Twitter: @garisbWebsite: linkedin.com/in/bgulten

Mark Romney

Mark Romney

Design Manager – Brand at Brooks Running

I am a passionate, motivated Art Director, Designer with 10 years of design and creative leadership experience. Whether focusing on an overall strategy or getting into the weeds of good typography, I get excited about creating engaging experiences and designs. I have helped build and manage teams, create and improve processes, and deliver great work that delights users and meets business goals.

Twitter: @markromneyWebsite: markromney.com

Darren House

Darren House

Design & Marketing Manager at Grant & Stone Ltd

Darren is responsible for all Marketing at Grant & Stone, looking after 16 Trade counters, and one Bathroom Showroom. Key communication between salesman to purchasing department and everyone in between. Looks after our two websites. www.grantandstone.co.uk and www.bathroomsbygrantandstone.co.uk

Twitter: @DarrenHouse_Website: darrenhouse.co.uk

Jonathan Nachum

Jonathan Nachum

User Experience Design Manager at Shutterstock

Graduate of NYU's ITP. Interested in diplomacy, psychology, technology, community, philanthropy, IA, IxD, product design, strategy and chocolate spread

Twitter: @jonfoutWebsite: linkedin.com/in/jonathan-nachum

Damon Dimmick

Damon Dimmick

Senior Product Design Manager / User Experience

Damon is a strategic and comprehensive UX / Product Design leader. I evangelize the design of elegant, intuitive, and innovative interfaces that perfectly suit user needs.

He specializes in User Experience Design, Interaction Design, User Interface Design, Information Architecture, Interaction Modeling, Persona Development, Requirements Gathering. Ancillary: Usability Testing, Lean Prototyping, CSS, HTML.

Twitter: @damondimmickWebsite: linkedin.com/in/damondimmick

Nick Forrester

Nick Forrester

Experience Design Manager at Zopa

Nick is a natural researcher with great analytical skills in Quant and Qual which spans everything from technology (e.g. analytics) to people. As well as having a keen mind for data, Nick has great people skills which makes him invaluable member to any team – and also importantly a diligent, impartial and insightful user researcher.

Twitter: @nickforresterWebsite: linkedin.com/in/nick-forrester

Chris Kirkman

Chris Kirkman

Head of UX Design at loanDepot

With over fourteen years’ experience in UX, UI, graphic, and web design, Chris held positions such as Design Manager and Creative Director with an extensive background leading and working within many creative teams of large, publicly traded, and small startup sizes. His designs bring simplicity, a strong attention to detail, with usability held of high importance. He also codes responsive, standards-compliant, HTML5 and CSS3 websites.

He co-founded two startups, one of which published a well noted digital business card mobiile app, uME, for iOS devices. He previously was the local chapter President of SandCHI, one of the two largest UX (User Experience) design groups in San Diego, and co-founded MultiValence Productions with his first film hitting global theaters in 2016.

Twitter: @ChrisKirkmanWebsite: kirkman.design

Doug Hungarter

Doug Hungarter

Senior User Experience Designer at Amazon.com

Doug is a seasoned UX designer and front-end technologist who loves a challenge. He specializes in Product Definition and Experiential Exploration, Modern, Standard-Based Development—HTML(5), CSS(3), JavaScript (and JQuery), Design/Information Architecture/Interaction Design, Usability and Accessibility (Section 508, WCAG/WAI), and Design and Development Processes and Workflows.

Twitter: @dugfreshxWebsite: blindedbydesign.com

Christopher Rampey

Christopher Rampey

Senior UX Design Lead for Amazon's 1st brick-and-mortar locations

Christopher is a full-stack product and experience design strategist, currently leading the design of radically convenient experiences at Amazon's first brick-and-mortar locations.

He is also a player-coach with over 15 years of experience bringing big agency polish and lean startup scrappiness to top brands such as Amazon, Microsoft, Technicolor and Nestlé and a passionate, entrepreneurial champion of innovation, holding multiple patents pending. Advocate of disciplined design thinking, working backwards from customer needs to solve complex problems and delight users.

Twitter: @CSRampeyWebsite: about.me/rampey

Nick Beese

Nick Beese

Senior User Experience Designer at Amazon

Nick's research focuses on Workshops, ideation sessions, interviews, surveys, creative facilitation. He is responsible for designing design sessions, personas, storyboards, sketching, interactive prototypes, wireframing, user journeys.

As for User Testing Nick takes care of focus groups, guerrilla user testing, lab testing.

Twitter: @ndbeeseWebsite: behance.net/ndbeese

Calvin Nguyen

Calvin Nguyen

Senior Manager UX + Design at Amazon

I design and build products, teams, and processes… usually in that order. Currently hiring for Amazon/Lab126 in Sunnyvale, CA. We have user experience design, ethnographic/qualitative research, and prototyping/design technology roles available!

Twitter: @CaliCalvinWebsite: ixdasf.ning.com/profile/CalvinNguyen

Hugh O'Carroll

Hugh O'Carroll

UX Design Manager

Over 15 years’ experience in creating great user experiences in B2C and B2B environments. Over a decade of design experience in web, mobile and software applications.

Hands-on experience with managing all stages of a user-centered design process from user research, process analysis, interaction design, prototyping, production, usability testing and marketing.

Twitter: @puneetmitaWebsite: uxandthecity.com

Chris Heideger

Chris Heideger

User Experience and Design Manager at Perficient

Hands-on Interactive Art Director with exceptional design sensibilities and a passion for great UX/UI. As a leader I have an innate ability to serve as both a nurturing people manager and as creative lead that contributes to high-level web features and ideation for apps that are inline with clients’ goals…

Twitter: @cheidegerWebsite: chrisheideger.com

Bruno Wong

Bruno Wong

User Experience Design Manager at Webgility

I'm a creative thinker and data-oriented UX designer with a keen eye for pixel perfect interfaces and aesthetic detail. Enjoy creating seamless cross-channel and cross-device customer experiences. Over the last years I've led the design of SaaS products, websites and mobile apps going from concept to final product. Also enjoy (because really, I DO enjoy it) designing A/B tests, and doing detailed analysis of user patterns and the data to improve usability.

Gadget junkie and passionate musician applying my creative and analytical skills in the Bay Area Digital Media arena.

Twitter: @bruno40grWebsite: brunowong.me

Juliet Sallette

Juliet Sallette

Project Design Manager at Donco Designs

Juliet Sallette is an Accomplished Marketing professional with proven track record in development of strategic business plans focused on enabling customer growth, acquisition, brand awareness, and bottom line business growth. Proven strengths in the development of integrated marketing solutions, utilizing direct marketing, digital marketing, broadcast, digital, print and social media, and partnership marketing.

She is also skilled in shaping direction of successful go-to-market strategies, utilizing broad experience from multiple industries, with a focus on ROI and has demonstrated expertise in strategic planning, building & leading teams, managing partnerships, and achieving successful results.

Twitter: @JSallettWebsite: jsallette.com

Boon Chew

Boon Chew

Manager, Experience Design at SapientNitro. Board director at IxDA.

I'm an experienced designer with over 10 years experience in digital and experience design across the entire design lifecycle – research, ideation, strategy, planning, prototyping, implementation, testing, and delivery.

I am comfortable getting into the messy details of systems and implementation as I am with highly conceptual, organisational or strategic work. My passion lies in delivering products that puts the end user first, aligned with business and technical goals and capabilities.

I've been promoting and advancing design practice through mentorship, events, talks and workshops. I currently serve on the board of the Interaction Design Association, and run events through IxDA's London chapter as a local leader.

Twitter: @boonychWebsite: about.me/boon

Alvaro Soto

Alvaro Soto

Senior Design Manager and MSTC candidate at the McCombs School of Business

Product design leader with over 10 years of professional experience in software, platforms, web and mobile. I have led and manage teams delivering experiences for mobile, websites, software applications and platforms.

My expertise offers a critical focus on helping companies validate markets and create and scale enterprise products that are intuitive a delight to use and most importantly, succeed in the competitive market.

I offer the ability to translate business and user needs into actionable requirements for conceptual and production design within the agile application development framework while maintaining and ensuring a delightful and consistent user experience.

I excel at communicating market stories, product experiences and conceptual modes to executives and customers. I am passionate about building team culture and thrive under pressure. I love to transform challenging situations into opportunities for design, product development and strategy.

Twitter: @ahhhlvaroWebsite: about.me/alvaro.soto

Carrie Huang

Carrie Huang

Senior Design Manager, Group Customer & User Experience at Vodafone

Carrie is passionate about the value of design. Everything she does is in the pursuit of utilising her broad ranging design expertise to the greater good of the company and customers. Not only is Carrie a strategic and philosophical thinker, she is also a creative and exceptional design manager. Always reliable, resourceful and resilient.

Twitter: @creativecazWebsite: linkedin.com/in/carriehuang

Shay Rahman

Shay Rahman

Experience Design Lead (Manager) at KPMG

I'm a passionate User Experience Designer with a balanced skill set in being a strong communicator, problem solver, wireframe'r and visual designer. I have experience mentoring, building and managing teams of designers within large corporations whilst leading several projects and pitching for new opportunities.

I do more than just create wireframes or stunning visuals; I'm a strategic thinker, bringing logic and functionality through research and user centred motivational design. I am multi-disciplined and well versed in speaking the languages of designers, developers, product owners, marketers and clients.

I have designed experiences to solve enterprise level production processes, service delivery and created consumer applications across several industries (inc. utilities, finance, insurance, sports, tv) and in several countries (UK, Philippines, India, Poland).

Twitter: @shayrahmanWebsite: shayfur.com

Do you think we've got them all? Is there anyone you’d like to see here? Or do you believe that you should be in the list?

Go the comments section or to the Twitter profile @UsabilityTools and tell us what you think – we’ll gladly make additions!

Be sure to spread the word around and share the list – everyone should benefit! See you next week.

Disclosure: All profile pictures of experts were taken from their official profiles in social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn.

PS. If you need an eye-opening experience when evaluating your design’s general usability, we are able to show what people do on your website without any group testing. Check it out here: UsabilityTools Session Recording.


Piotr Koczorowski

Written by Piotr Koczorowski

Quirky, funny and energetic young blogger from Poland with a passion for video games, contemporary American literature, chillwave music, and pizza. Between studying Translation Studies at a Polish university, Piotr works at UsabilityTools where he blogs about UX and goes overboard with puns and cultural references. In his free time he dreams of space travel (and pizza.)


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