I've spoken at conferences, universities, and businesses, as well as at meetups, professional groups and for media interviews. I cover topics ranging from UX case studies, to research on memory, and on to best practices in muti-disciplinary teams. If your event has a registered Code of Conduct [I can help you create one if you don't] and you guarantee to make the best efforts to achieve a balanced speaker lineup – with particular consideration given to women's presence on technology and science topics – I'm probably game to step up.

I use sketchnote style slides – and a dose of humor – to make the driest and most technical talks interesting. By drawing from theatre training I make every experience unique and pertinent to the audience of the day. Even if I'm repeating a talk, I keep my delivery flexible with plenty of ad lib. You might find a YouTube of me speaking on the same topic,  but there will always be new material coming from the stage.

My goal is always to make otherwise inaccessible or unfamiliar topics approachable. I'm always looking for opportunities to speak at conferences and events outside my discipline. Delivering expert level content to fellow UX practitioners is important.  But a UX talk delivered to developers or account managers can open their eyes to new modes of thinking, and give them new tools to bring into practice. Plus, the more people there are in other disciplines who are familiar with how I work, the easier it is to work with them.

So don't hesitate to ping me, even if your conference is on a niche product I may never have heard of. 

I'm also available as a panelist, for collaborations and for creating slides for other speakers.  

Me, up on stage at GIANT Conference 2015. Had an absolute BLAST – and yes, there were turkeys, and kitten timelines, and brains. 



Creating an immersive and educational museum exhibition on Cognitive technology wasn't just a design challenge. It meant getting people past the idea that their own brain was too complex for them to understand. Working with a team of thirty cognitive technologists, game designers, virtual reality researchers and visual artists, we cerated a cohesive exhibition that felt both futuristic and approachable. Here's what we learned along the way.


After interviewing women about their speaking experience – or lack thereof – it turned out the greatest barrier they faced was neither stage fright nor lack of confidence. It was knowing how to pick a topic. I kicked off the day long workshop by presenting a 'talk topic taxonomy,' calling to attention the overarching – and totally approachable – categories nearly every talk falls into.


Style guides are finally finding a home online where they can be easily accessed and referenced – a great improvement from living in a binder in the copy room. However, that still leaves the problem of implementation, particularly on long term deep projects. I walked through the benefits – and costs – of incorporating the style guides directly into Sass, with examples both in terms of computing power and human hours. 


Responsive design has become the go to topic when referencing our shift to mobile. However, getting content to be responsive is the real next evolution enabled by our 'always with us' devices. Why wouldn't you want content tailored to your commute? I addressed the current challenges of gaining user's trust, particularly post pop-ups and disruptive advertising, as well as providing a forecast of how responsive content will likely arrive on our devices.


This is part of a series of short talks which have also been incorporated into longer lectures on how memory works. Why does using images effect recall? How do metaphors – particularly ones that relate to us personally – help us to more deeply seat memories in our minds? Where does humor fit in? In rapid fire, I covered all this and more, with hand drawn slides and a few jokes besides. 


This is the first of the series of short talks that make up the longer lectures on memory. Understanding why doodling – hint: that's visual thinking in action – isn't more commonly used as a business tool and why it's looked down on in schools is the first step to getting folks back on track to using their brains better. This isn't just about remembering, it's about communicating more effectively. Yes, a step by step guide to drawing a cartoon dinosaur is pretty basic, but it's still the most effective tool I've ever used to get past the cry of "But I'm not an artist!"

The SF EaJumping int a new career path is a bold choice, even when it's through one of the many training programs now available. Tradecraft brought me in to provide some perspective on what makes a UXer, beyond the tools we learn to use. UX thinking, or the 'research mindset' is something learned over time, and brings the gamut of a practitioner's experience into play. At the end of the talk, I gave students some games and exercises they could use to hone their observation and storytelling skills on a day to day basis, even when not working on a particular "UX" project. 

UX for Mobile

SF East Bay New Tech 2012

Photo from the AMAZING UX infographic by Ed Lea: http://edlea.com/blog/product-ux-ui-cereal/

The SF East Bay New Tech Meetup heard about me from my Visual Thinking Workshops and invited me to speak on UX, specifically as it applies to mobile. The audience was mainly developers who worked at large companies – like Symantec – and who had little background in UX practice. I presented this as both an introduction to the challenges of going mobile, where you no longer know where or when your users will be accessing your product, as well as a micro-workshop in how to start asking the right questions ...and listen for the answers users aren't saying. 


DePaul University 2010


I was invited to speak to undergraduates in the Communications Department as a guest lecturer with the goal of giving them some perspective on the twists and turns a career path can take. Starting with my own undergraduate studies in Osteology and working through to what the daily life of a UX Researcher really looks like, I provided them with both context and opened their eyes to some previously unexplored possibility, far out side ad agency work.

Photo by Mark Pappalardo

Photo by Mark Pappalardo