Careers

What design leadership means to Accenture’s Christina Goldschmidt

4 min read
Shayna Hodkin  •  Dec 30, 2019
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Christina Goldschmidt is a digital strategist and design leader working in management consulting for Bloom, a new ventures group within Accenture that uses design principles to invent and de-risk new business models for its clients. 


Name: Christina Goldschmidt
Title: Design Director & Experience Architect
Company: Accenture
Location: New York
Age: 41
Years in the design industry: 22

On what design leadership means to her:

My job is to help people meet their goals and highest potential. Outside of my day job [as Design Director and Experience Architect at Accenture] I teach, and I’ve also been in a lot of political roles in my life.

In traditional design education, no one teaches designers how to navigate the world of business or to be managers or even how to sell their ideas. I love taking super-talented designers and helping them grow as leaders and, in business, to promote themselves, their work, and ideas.

“You spend so much of your time at work—why do something you don’t enjoy?”

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On her career path:

I’m lucky to have held a bunch of different cross-functional roles in digital design—front-end developer, designer, researcher, and product owner—and have studied anthropology, design, and business (I have an MBA). Though I work across all industries, I have specialized in driving innovation in financial services, specifically insurance.

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On what makes her excited about her current position:

I’m excited to make the super complex simple and drive innovation to democratize services people actually need.

“When you leave your own agenda aside and help someone see alternative paths to their desired future, you invent all kinds of new and exciting things.”

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On her traveling work setup:

My work setup is a little sad. Since I’m in consulting, I travel almost every week, so I just run around with a laptop. I even take most of my meetings on my cell phone.

On sleep and showers as creative kickstarters:

When I’m stuck, I turn off my brain. Getting a good night’s sleep and letting my brain stop actively working in the shower helps unblock whatever has been eating at me.

“There are no bad workers—just bad fit.”

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On failure as a learning opportunity:

If we look at the world of startups, failing fast and failing forward are ways to learn about ourselves and shape our careers. I know it’s really hard to think that way when we are thinking about ourselves and our careers. We’re stuck in our heads about our personal worth.

There are no bad workers—just bad fit. If we look at failure as an opportunity to learn what situations are not the best fit for us, then we know that for the future.

“Being a good manager is often about being a good coach: listening, asking questions, and being a sounding board.”

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What she wishes someone told her…

  • Before starting her first design job: The best work comes from collaboration. As a designer, you don’t have to have all the answers or form an idea from zero. Design is not art; the best way to solve a problem is to work with diverse ideas and be grounded in what users actually need.
  • Before becoming a manager: Similar to above, you don’t need to have all the answers. Being a good manager is often about being a good coach: listening, asking questions, and being a sounding board for the individual to think through how they want to attack their problem
  • About becoming a mentor: Mentoring is the most rewarding part of my job. It gives me a new perspective and forces me to think differently. It is a way I constantly learn. The next generation of designers and digital leaders are so talented and are striving for such interesting careers. It’s design-thinking through lateral thinking: When you leave your own agenda aside and help someone see alternative paths to their desired future, you invent all kinds of new and exciting things. You see nodes and connections that you never would have if you were focused on yourself, your path, and your story.
  • About life: Do something that you are passionate about. Do something fun! You spend so much of your time at work—why do something you don’t enjoy? Also, the people you surround yourself with are everything. They are who you learn from and who can inspire you. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some really exceptional women throughout my career and forged lasting relationships with them. The path to leadership is a hard one, especially in an industry where not enough women have forged the path before. Having a group of women who have accomplished so much is a source of inspiration and wonderful advice.

Four designers we need to meet:

Stephan Abraham 
Rocky Ito 
Amanda Huffingham
Peter Wilson