DesignTalks: Careers

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4 days, 4 webinars, 4 design leaders.

Build your dream career in design. Join four digital product design experts as they talk career strategy, leadership, identifying once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities, building your personal brand, and more. No long, drawn-out presentations—just 30-minute talks with actionable advice you can apply to your work today.

Maria Giudice

Innovator, artist, protagonist, and positive provocateur, Maria has pursued a vision of intelligent, elegant, people-centered design throughout her professional life. Under Maria’s leadership, Hot Studio, the award-winning experience design firm she founded in 1997, grew into a full-service creative agency with an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients. From 2015 to 2017, Maria led a global team of designers as Autodesk’s first VP of Experience Design.

The rise of the DEO: Leadership by design

Leadership by design explores the intersection of creativity and business acumen, explaining how and why this unlikely coupling produces leaders most capable of solving our increasingly complex business problems. In the ever-increasingly complex and globally connected business world, creativity has become the number one driver of economic growth. This conversation will focus on:


  • Learning the difference between traditional business leaders and design leaders
  • Understanding the attributes of the DEO, and how they apply to modern day leaders
  • Techniques and intuitions that can help people become stronger leaders within their own organizations, the business world, and beyond
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Leslie Witt

Leslie Witt is VP of Design at Intuit, where she leads the design team to re-imagine the products, services and institutions that shape consumers’ financial lives. At Intuit, she’s committed to shaping better financial outcomes for people and small businesses, and raising the esteem of design and designers. Prior to Intuit, she was an Associate Partner at design firm, IDEO and a visiting lecturer at Stanford

How to find the happy accidents that define your career

Bob Ross was right: there are no mistakes, only happy little accidents. At least that’s what Leslie Witt would say. Serendipity and coincidence led Leslie down a career path that included IDEO and her current position as VP of Design at Intuit. This talk will cover:


  • Why most design careers aren’t linear, and why that’s good
  • How designers can maximize each assignment and opportunity they are given
  • How to stay open to new opportunities and happy accidents
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Zaki Warfel

As a certified executive leadership and transformation coach, Todd Zaki Warfel works with individuals and organizations interested in personal growth, leadership development, and organizational transformation. Having held leadership roles at Workday, Cisco, and Twitter, Todd has lived through the trials and triumphs of transformation first hand.

The design career journey

Have you just graduated and are embarking on your first job in design? Have you been in design for a while and you’re wondering what’s next? Have you ever asked yourself whether or not you should go into management?


In The Design Career Journey, we’ll explore a framework for developing a successful career in design, including the big question “Should I go into management?” This talk will cover:


  • How to apply the career ladder framework for individual contributors
  • How to apply the career ladder for managers
  • Why management isn’t for everyone, and why you might want to avoid it


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Von Glitschka

Von is creative director of Glitschka Studios, a small two-person boutique design firm located in the Pacific Northwest. Their diverse range of illustrative design has been used by some of the most respected brands in the world. They creatively collaborate with ad agencies, design firms, in-house corporate art departments, and small businesses to produce engaging visual narratives.

How to build your personal brand as a freelance designer

Many designers do not have an active design practice outside of their day job. But pursuing creativity outside your day-to-day work environment—plus sharing that work with others—will help you grow and thrive throughout your career. This talk will cover:


  • The power of personal projects
  • Demystifying your creative process
  • Building an audience
  • Increasing your potential for securing new work
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