These women have made it to the awardee list of DCFemTech 2018. We are ever so inspired by their work and what they have to share. Here’s why you should be following the work of these 19 amazing women.
Betsy Bland, Sr. Director of Customer Experience, MicroStrategy
Betsy Bland has over 13 years of experience in UX design. She’s worked in-house and as a consultant for industries including financial services, tech and government. She’s played a lead role driving company-wide user research and design initiatives for a suite of digital wealth management products. Her UX team provided user-friendly platforms and tools that enable over .5 M end-users to make quick informed decisions. She lead her team in product development and management, including identifying and creating solutions to expand engagement, improving user task completion, and ultimately boosting customer retention rates. Outside of her work, she is mom to two girls, Penny (5) and Alice (3).
What are you most proud of from the past year: Winning the Patriot’s Half Ironman triathlon.
Raquel Breternitz, Senior Designer, Pivotal Labs
Raquel Breternitz is a designer and writer with experience across diverse mediums, problem spaces, and domains. Her work is connected by a passion for research-driven design thinking and a hunger for tackling complex problems. She believes design should be approached content-first with a sharp eye on ethical considerations and human-centered outcomes.
Currently, she works as a Senior Designer for Pivotal Labs, where she works to enable government agencies to be human-centered, do the right thing, and do what works.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Unfortunately I can’t talk about about my direct work due to NDAs, but I have been putting together a worldwide employee resource group for LGBTQIA+ individuals across Pivotal Labs, which has been a really interesting learning experience and has enabled me to learn a lot more about how to support, recruit, and retain people like me.
Liz Calka, Lead User Experience Designer, National Geographic
Liz is a Lead User Experience Designer at National Geographic, where she creates digital storytelling interfaces, community products, and design systems. She is also a freelance photographer, and a House Tour Contributor for Apartment Therapy.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I’m most proud of all the new connections I’ve made with inspiring people in the past year, through both design and photography!
Olivia Cheng, Designer, Nava PBC
I make things for humans. Currently building a stronger social safety net at Nava PBC, and helping to improve HealthCare.gov.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I’m most proud of leading and supporting the design work on the new Healthcare.gov application in spite of complex policy and technical constraints.
Jen Doyle, Interactive Designer, ISL
Jen Doyle is a designer with a passion for creative interfaces and unique experiences. Originally from New Jersey, she studied design at MICA and now loves to code and make things for the web. She enjoys running, going to concerts, and cuddling her cat.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I am most proud of putting on ContraryCon, an annual conference featuring DC creatives with my co-workers at ISL.
Kai Frazier, Founder, Curated x Kai
Kai is a historian (B.A History), and innovative educator (M.Ed) passionate about utilizing technology to provide inclusive opportunities and increased exposure in cultural settings for people of color.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Creating my first startup bringing inclusive and representative virtual reality field trips in the Arts for students in underserved communities. For our last field trip, we filmed the Obama portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Phim Her, Marketing Solutions Manager, Washington Post
Short version: Phim is a marketing solutions manager at the Washington Post. She is also an active member of AIGA, where she serves as the incoming National Diversity & Inclusion Task Force Co-Chair with Douglas Davis. She is also on AIGA’s National EMERGE Task Force where she is currently filming a Humans of New York-inspired series featuring the diverse tech and design scene in DC.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I’m most proud of my work through AIGA’s National EMERGE Task Force. I get to pay it forward in terms of using all the skills I’ve acquired over the years to support young emerging designers who are just starting in their career. I can’t wait to share the EMERGE video interviews I have been shooting, featuring a diverse set of designers and developers here in DC.
Dian Holton, Deputy Art Director, AARP
Dian is a deputy art director at AARP and a part-time visual/brand associate for GAP Inc. Her background includes publishing (print/digital), integrated marketing, branding, retail installation and styling. She currently serves on the AIGA Washington DC chapter board as the Diversity and Inclusion. She also recently wrapped up a NIKE collab.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Personal: My most recent NIKE sneakers that paid homage to the military in March. My Instagram Daily Digits hitting 1000 and celebrating the milestone with the design team at Etsy in Brooklyn.
Philanthropic: My continuous work with AIGA DC as the Diversity and Inclusion chair overseeing Women’s Leadership, Design Continuum scholarship, Design for Good and general D&I.
Meghana Khandekar, Designer, Nava PBC
I’m a user experience designer and researcher. I’m passionate about work that prioritizes freedom of expression, access to information and benefits, privacy rights and transparency. I’m currently at Nava PBC, where I’m working to modernize the Veterans Affairs appeals process.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Until recently, I was at 18F, a design and technology team within the federal government, where I led user experience design and research on login.gov. I’m proud to have helped shape product strategy since it’s inception in 2016.
Gina Kim, UX Designer, US Digital Service
Gina is a user experience designer and researcher who works alongside with other civic-centered technologists to create accessible tools for the public. She has a background in visual design and illustration and received her MFA for Design for Social Innovation, which pivoted her to career towards human-centered design and systems thinking.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I lead design and research for internal and Veteran-facing tools at VA. I am most proud of the Appeals Status tool for Veterans because of the data improvements our team was able to make in order for Veterans to have more visibility into their appeals. I also joined the Grant Management Modernization program team at FEMA with the goal to streamline a grants life cycle and provide transparency and to the public.
Katy Kinsey, Senior UI/UX designer, Excella
I am a multidisciplinary UI/UX designer with an insatiable desire to create. I love to analyze products and their challenges then design interfaces that are useful, usable, and delightful.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I am most proud of how my work created social impact.
My contributions working for Excella allowed me to work side by side with USCIS to update their customer service portal to deliver MyUSCIS. MyUSCIS reaches over 14 million people around the world by providing information and facilitating immigration to the US. Additionally, my volunteer work with the opportunity project, aloud me to contribute as a design lead for the tool “MySpot”. This tool uses data sets from the DC Department of Human Services to help youth experiencing homelessness find and access services in the Washington, DC area.
It took a large amount of time to complete these projects (many times I worked over the weekends), but it was all worth it. It felt really gratifying to see my hard work put to good use. It taught me that I can reach my goal of helping others if I passionately apply myself to my work.
Amanda Miklik, Director of Design, United States Digital Service
Amanda Miklik is working super hard to use their tech chops do the most good for the most people in the greatest need. As the Director of Design at the United States Digital Service (USDS), Amanda is building a community of badass UX professionals who are transforming some of the US government’s most critical digital services for the better. They are also an organizer and advocate for racial justice and disability rights, so they’re passionate about building teams which are representative of the people they serve.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Leading a team of bada$$ designers working to transform the US government’s digital services.
Katharine Molloy, Senior Graphic Designer, Vox Media
Katharine Molloy is passionate about design, brands, and the perfect chocolate cake donut. In her spare time she likes to work on DIY projects, and bake treats. The treats might be vegan but you’d never know it. Currently Katharine works as a Senior Designer for Vox Media where she helps shape the future of digital advertising.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Refining team processes and planning and organizing Pixel Punch.
Emilia Regan, Design Lead, Mariana Tek
Emilia is an experience designer who thrives on exploring new ways to interact with users, whether through native app design or manipulating chaos magick to discover augmented and virtual realities.
What are you most proud of from the past year: Helped concept, plan, and drive a new iOS app experience from idea to launched product.
Rica Rosario, Senior UX Designer, Deloitte Digital
Rica Rosario is a human-centered designer, creative strategist and social do-gooder delivering impactful business solutions through data-driven design, storytelling and technology. She has 12 years of experience in design, user research, behavior change, branding and digital strategy. Rica is a Senior UX Designer at Deloitte Digital and the President of AIGA DC, the local chapter of the professional association for design.
What are you most proud of from the past year: I am most proud of my service on the AIGA DC Board as President and the impact that had on cultivating, connecting and celebrating DC Design (and Tech) and designers.
I am an Information Architect and UX advocate, better known as the UX competency and Senior Lead for Deloitte Digital. I received my BFA in Graphic Design and my MA in Computer Security with a specialty in investigations, aka “asking the right questions”.
Having been a full-stack programmer and visual designer prior to going into UX at both small and large companies, my diverse background and heavy focus on user research mean I am part of many different projects, particularly those in the healthcare, education and cyber-security fields. I’ve been on a diverse set of teams and projects, all of which I’ve been proud to be a member of. I enjoy exploring the world around me and I spend a lot of time understanding the “why” when part of a new project. To me, the user research is the most critical step in product development – without it, we’re just designing in the dark.
What are you most proud of from the past year: This is sort of silly but last week I got on a very late flight from an out-of-state client project. One of my UX practitioners was in the seat in front of me. It had been a crazy long day for both of us but I was so proud to see her sitting there, asleep, having moved out of her comfort zone that day in facilitating a design session with a group of people including senior stakeholders.Watching my junior team members grow into amazing practitioners gives me a satisfaction that I don’t find in really anything else I do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my client work, but seeing these people grow through tough challenges I’ve put them into and then get up in front of something that makes them nervous and knock it out of the park? Yeah, that’s nothing BUT pride.
Kim Stockley, Senior Content + UX Strategist, ISL
Texas transplant turned Washington, D.C. enthusiast, Kim believes that behind every great design is a strategic insight (and a whole lot of data). Her current focus on content and UX strategy is rooted in a background of interior and graphic design, and over the years she’s been fortunate enough to work with clients like Kroger, Jiffy Lube, Capital One, International Rescue Committee, and Service Year. Kim takes great pride in her ability to uncover insights that drive user-centric strategies, and nerds out on consumer trends and usability testing tools on a regular basis.
What are you most proud of from the past year: This time last year a large percentage of my bandwidth was devoted to social media strategy, but after completing an intensive 6-week UX course, volunteering to help out other team members, and lots of advocating for myself internally, I’m proud to say that my work load (almost) exclusively consists of interactive projects these days. Over the past 12 months alone, I’m proud to have worked on digital products ranging from mobile apps for refugees to web redesigns for global brands alongside talented interactive designers, UX directors, and product owners.
Jen Strickland, Senior UX Architect & Researcher, LookThink
Putting people first, especially the “edge cases.” Bringing the same DIY ethos of punk to professional creative work, Jen is dedicated to creating effective, empathetic, efficient experiences, regardless of medium, leaving no one behind. With skills ranging from research and strategy to design and development, she’s led high-performing teams implementing cutting edge tech solutions, delivered 50-75% increases in revenue & engagement, plus served as an individual contributor, often a UX team of one.
What are you most proud of from the past year: In the past year I fled tragic circumstances to start over in DC. It has been hard. Very hard. This new city is pretty overwhelming. Interviewing after surviving threats on my life was, um… challenging? I wasn’t always up to the task. Now, I have a job on a collaborative team that values accessibility, that is motivated to deliver world-class experiences, yet keeps sane hours. I have a safe home, high up on a cloud, in a city I’m discovering, with an ever-growing circle of smart, passionate friends with respected ideals. I found my voice in that hell I survived, and I will use it to speak for those who can’t, be it in design and development, music, or as a citizen of the world. I will not be silenced!
Kacey Tovornik, Product Manager, Venga
Kacey is passionate about creating intuitive designs and innovative digital experiences that improve the human experience. She enjoys finding refreshing solutions to complex problems, both in the workplace and in the community. When she’s not working or playing ping pong in the office, you can always find Kacey engaged in technical or design functions with local small businesses and volunteer organizations.
What are you most proud of from the past year: The ideation and follow through in the launch of our new product for the fitness vertical, Venga Move, as well as our brand refresh that prepared our company to diversify industries and continue to grow who doesn’t like to make something look shiny and new?)I am also thrilled to be celebrating my fourth year as a tutor with Horton’s Kids (it’s volunteer appreciation month!) and am happy to have completed a 200 Hour YTT that was inspired by my desire to share the gift of yoga & mindfulness with those that need it most, especially the kids and families of HK!