Hi, I’m Julia!

I'm a San Francisco-based business, product, and creative strategist focused on helping companies innovate.

 

The basics

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As a businesslady with a background in design (or a designer with a background in business), I move easily between big-picture thinking and tactical execution. I feel just as comfortable aligning stakeholders and assessing a product’s economic viability as I do building prototypes and leading ideation sessions. This fluency in strategy, operations, product, and design means I’m at my best when I’m solving complex problems with cross-functional teams.

How I approach problem solving

Creating structure out of ambiguity

Whether I’m developing an impact framework for an international NGO, mapping Dakar’s complex web of bus routes, or building a display cabinet for a friend’s collection of dog figurines, I’m always looking for the best way to organize things. In the business world, I love designing and leading processes that help teams reach clarity on tricky issues. I focus on the “how,” always looking for ways to inspire deep thought, structure information, test assumptions, and arrive at transformational solutions.

User-focused

“Who is our customer?” This is the first question I ask when leading a product development process, strategy session, or design workshop. I believe that establishing a deep understanding of and empathy for the user is the most critical part of any design journey.

How I lead

Psychological safety

I believe that strong leaders create the right structures and support systems to help team members surface the best ideas and feel empowered to take action. What this really boils down to is creating an environment of psychological safety. I aim to build teams where individuals feel safe taking risks, contributing bold ideas, and being vulnerable.

Obsessions + influences

Now for the fun stuff

My latest obsessions and influences include: Bowerbirds (I watch this video after long days at work). Vlisco textiles. Love and Rockets comics. Nasty gal Betty Davis. Muqarnas. James Turrell’s personal crater. Rock 'n' rollers Hot Snakes. Any and all deserts. Journalist Paul Salopek. Dogs. That really magenta shade of bougainvillea. The Annals of Medicine. Bruegel. RuPaul’s Drag Race. IKEA Hackers. Godfather of Rocksteady Alton Ellis. Marilynne Robinson. Turbo Tax.