January 2022 โ€ข project + program highlights!

heatherlee nguyen, the indie consultant โœŒ๐Ÿฝ, workshops


I’ll be pausing about once a month this year to write about exciting new updates related to my freelance work, community engagements, and Think Olive Creative. this new year is off to an energetic start!

full-circle moment!
on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, I spoke for 30 minutes at Optum about community-led design and the origin story of Black Designers Ignite. 111 people attended (when I checked), and the response both during the session and behind the scenes was touching. so many of us feel the same way (about tough things that are hard to speak on at work) but when we do talk about it.. it reflects in people around us, something ignites, and it transforms us. community strengthens. and this matters!

feeling so thankful for this full-circle moment, which I’m honestly still unpacking. will share more about this later. till then, here were some of my favorite slides (swipe the IG post below!)


Femmecubator mentor matching!
on Friday, January 14, 2022, I hosted a happy hour workshop for Femmecubator’s very first wave of mentors for, Mentor Matching, a new program launching soon!

I have been working in the field in Minneapolis since 2009 (12 years!) and I love how I’m meeting people everywhere now. Mentors and mentees are matching all over the country through this program.

I left feeling inspired and ready to continue these budding relationships..

and all this reminded me of the one beautiful thing the pandemic brought to us, the mainstream acceptance of all-virtual events and doing it all from home ๐Ÿ™‚ busy working moms like me actually have greater access to being able to show up, support, attend, advance, and connect now easier than eever before. and I don’t know about you but we are taking full advantage!

[sidenote: if you are a mentor (experienced or first-timer) who is interested in mentorship circles, being a one-on-one career coach, serving as a technical mentor to women getting into UX + tech?! get in touch by filling out this mentor matching interest form @femmecubator.


at our workshop we reflected on how best we can serve as mentors. the goal at Femmecubator is to create a flexible, yet impactful program where people can connect on their own time, and where mentors have support, tools, and resources for successful mentorship moments. this is just the start!


Brand Design!
on Monday, January 18, 2022, HL-UX met an exciting milestone! We delivered the final logo for our client, along with an initial icon set and full-on brand guidelines. this was a supplement to the foundations of the fresh new design system I’ve been building with them the past few months.

as a UXer I haven’t had many opportunities to both lead product design AND design the brand. (talk about another full-circle moment!) I have loved building a relationship with this client over the years and this was an exciting deliverable. Swipe the post for the polaroid highlights ๐Ÿ™‚

here’s to many more milestones this quarter and year!

with love,
Heatherlee
#theIndieConsultant

How are you hacking the diversity & inclusion gap?

defending diversity, heatherlee nguyen

Our differences create opportunities.
Opportunities for a more equitable world.

How are you empowering those people who look and who talk and who live & love differently than you? How can you do better? We all need to confront our biases and check our privilege at the door. I see promise in our future products in services. I believe we can build a more equitable world!

Don’t you?


Peace & love are universal concepts.
Now, more than ever is the time to defend diversity.
We all belong.


Tแ•ผE Iแ‘Žแ—ชIE แ‘•Oแ‘Žแ”•แ‘Œแ’ชTแ—ฉแ‘ŽT
๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜ ยป๐—–๐—ซยซ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป

I’m Heatherlee. An independent research and design consultant with a background in UX, a passion for service design, an interest in biomimicry and a stake in your strategy. Iโ€™m passionate about helping you bridge the gap between your product teams and the people you design for.

Contact info & more about me here.

Translate Direct won first place at Hack the Gap!

heatherlee nguyen

Translate Direct, my service innovation won 1st place at a (virtual) hackathon this weekend! I’m so grateful the judges saw my vision. Thank you Hack the Gap! I’m going after this idea. This is a real problem right now (and it always was) and I care about fixing it.

[To watch the demo video (below) please reach out for the password. Would love your thoughts! heatherlee.ux@gmail.com]

What’s next? I’m looking for people willing to watch my short video demoing the concept. If one of these bullet points fits you, and youโ€™d be willing to email back & forth, get on a call with me, or demo this service, please reach out!

Looking to connect with:
โ€ข ESL Teachers (and staff)
โ€ข Teachers and administrative staff at language/immersion schools
โ€ข Public servants: care givers, community organizers, volunteers regularly communicating with bilingual and/or non-English speaking families
โ€ข Anyone specifically working with multilingual communities during this crisis

The survey I circulated during the hackathon is still open. Add your perspective right here: https://lnkd.in/eD98Hum

(Thank you for sharing with your network).

Gratefully,
Heatherlee


Tแ•ผE Iแ‘Žแ—ชIE แ‘•Oแ‘Žแ”•แ‘Œแ’ชTแ—ฉแ‘ŽT
๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜ ยป๐—–๐—ซยซ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป

I’m Heatherlee. An independent research and design consultant with a background in UX, a passion for service design, an interest in biomimicry and a stake in your strategy. Iโ€™m passionate about helping you bridge the gap between your product teams and the people you design for.

Contact info & more about me here.

Your local library.. the original co-working spot

defending diversity, heatherlee nguyen

Co-working spots are cropping up in all major metros. And who wouldn’t be lured by all the free coffee, networking and sexy surroundings? With remote work and startup culture in full swing, we all saw this coming.

In the Twin Cities where I am it seems like a new spot opens every few months. Very cool ones too, I dig the digs. Some spots come with the message of inclusion and female empowerment, some serving the savvy startups, some kind of exclusive and all come with a significant price tag.

One day driving I needed to duck into a room for a call and found Iโ€™d have to pay $50 for the day at one of the popular ones. Sure, everyone here can probably afford that. But what about the rest of the community? Are we actually closing ourselves off from people right in our neighborhood by creating these exclusive clubs?

I walked right into my local library and got to use a room for free as long as I needed. (Library staff are some of the best! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ) There was no free coffee.. I wasnโ€™t surrounded by women like me or people in tech.. but I saw cool art, people getting tax help, students, families, and I realized how important it is to support our libraries too. Not only a ๐™๐™๐™€๐™€ resource ๐™›๐™ค๐™ง ๐™–๐™ก๐™ก.. but they do ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ for our communities you might not even know about.

I love the swanky new coworking spaces as much as the next gal.. but is this actually filling a gap? Or could it be widening the gap between people like you and people not like you..


How might we show up for our libraries?





Tแ•ผE Iแ‘Žแ—ชIE แ‘•Oแ‘Žแ”•แ‘Œแ’ชTแ—ฉแ‘ŽT
๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜ ยป๐—–๐—ซยซ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป

Iโ€™m Heatherlee. An independent research and design consultant with a background in UX, a passion for service design, an interest in biomimicry and a stake in your strategy. Iโ€™m passionate about helping you bridge the gap between your product teams and the people you design for.

Contact info & more about me here.

My Why

heatherlee nguyen
COMMUNITY
commitment_community-59.png

It was a hard decision to start working independently. I love being completely immersed in a problem, embedded on a team, iterating. But as motherhood really kicked in, and the world around us started changing, so fast, I made the jump. Hereโ€™s why..


Flexibility to Connect

Making connections out in the world motivates me. Whether itโ€™s studying nature to make more sense of a design problem or scheduling coffee dates to meet people doing great work.. I consult and operate under flexible hours. Why? to make connections with my communities.


Diversity of Thought & Experience

I donโ€™t like when weโ€™re all the same. I believe diverse partnerships make products and services better for everyone. For me, thereโ€™s a special balance between immersive, in-person collaboration and divergent thinking. Iโ€™m seeking to work with people Iโ€™ve never met, on problems I havenโ€™t heard about. Why? to be a more compassionate, open designer. for new perspectives. to learn the most I can from as many unique experiences as possible.

This is why you hire me.


Never not networking

Iโ€™m always out there meeting people. New projects, new partnership, new problems to solve. Whatever the reason, Iโ€™m never standing still. I am not locked down with one group of team members or one box of tools to use. I know a lot of really talented people, managers, colleagues, fellow consultants.. and weโ€™re always sharing ideas. When you hire me you kind of hire them, too.


Opposite of ladder climber

I have no interest in your job or getting to a certain level within the org. Iโ€™d rather go down the ladder.. get on the ground level with the users and people powering your company. I donโ€™t expect to work in the perfect environment and I will always push for the best, not for a year-end bonus, but because I believe in it.  


After Hours Enthusiasm

Being inspired matters. And letโ€™s face it, the spark of creative genius doesnโ€™t always schedule itself from 8am โ€“ 5. I do some of my best work at 10pm, when the world starts sleeping. So I keep my days and nights fluid for serious heads down time, only meeting with you when we should. Why? to take advantage of those moments of mania. When those juices are flowing, I can flow and really produce.



Motivation to move fast

More often than not my projects have a start and end date. Even though โ€œDesign is never doneโ€ I found myself able to produce much faster with much less red tape after leaving the FTE world. Doesnโ€™t mean I was always right but I could have a hypothesis, prototype, test, discuss, and iterate all in the matter of weeks, days, hours even.

Letโ€™s face it, your in-house team can easily get bogged down with town halls and putting fires out. I have 6 months to a year to produce real results for you. Iโ€™m bringing my bias toward action.


People, Products, Problems with Purpose

Choosing what I work on is a privilege. I was never good at saying no.. but now I know when and why to say yes. I am deeply motivated by meaningful work. I say yes to people making positive impact. To products I believe make a better world. And to problems worth fixing. Why? to use my skills for a greater purpose. to leave the world better than I found it. to use my privilege wisely and make my work matter.



So is this forever? I am very open minded to joining a team full time again. Working collaboratively on a team brings me joy. And that can look a lot of ways! If I’ve recently applied it’s because I’m jazzed up about your company. If you can help me live out my whys above, I believe anything is possible.


Tแ•ผE Iแ‘Žแ—ชIE แ‘•Oแ‘Žแ”•แ‘Œแ’ชTแ—ฉแ‘ŽT
๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜ ยป๐—–๐—ซยซ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป

I’m Heatherlee. An independent research and design consultant with a background in UX, a passion for service design, an interest in biomimicry and a stake in your strategy. Iโ€™m passionate about helping you bridge the gap between your product teams and the people you design for.

Contact info & more about me here.

Voice of Customer booth!

heatherlee nguyen, product research, user research
At my clientsโ€™ conference collecting user feedback this week. Two software companies are merging and itโ€™s our job to embody DESIGN AS A STRATEGY. We were here collecting what people love, wish for and what they hope we donโ€™t change as the integration roadmap planning begins. We also held a workshop where we collaborated directly with the customers, it was a big hit! What else did we do? What did we learn? How did these activities help the product team? More to come.. HeatherleeNguyen_C3-03

Tแ•ผE Iแ‘Žแ—ชIE แ‘•Oแ‘Žแ”•แ‘Œแ’ชTแ—ฉแ‘ŽT ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐˜ ยป๐—–๐—ซยซ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป I’m Heatherlee. An independent research and design consultant with a background in UX, a passion for service design, an interest in biomimicry and a stake in your strategy. Iโ€™m passionate about helping you bridge the gap between your product teams and the people you design for. Contact info & more about me here.