Now serving those whom serve.

Yesterday I had my photo taken. It’s horrible, but we were in a bit of a hurry to get enough paperwork signed and submitted so that I can attend an all day workshop this Thursday. On the way back to the visitor’s lounge, I squeezed in a quick visit to the logo store to get this sweet new baseball cap with well-stitched logo hotness:

In just a few days I will start the next chapter of my career as an Executive Director of Design at USAA. I’m pretty excited.

Once again I will have designers of many roles and levels, to lead and mentor, full-time. My enthusiasm is not driven by a position on an org-chart, but by the challenge and opportunity to help others become better designers, business persons, and community leaders. And all of it in the service of deserving persons who served their country (and their families), like my father-in-law who served in Vietnam.

USAA was not the only role that I had on the horizon, but after learning more and more about the company and its culture, it wasn’t hard to think the universe was trying to tell me something.

Everyone I spoke to about USAA had nothing but praise for the company: Industry titans, peers, family, and friends — across the board, they all had nothing but incredibly positive remarks. It is rare, for me, to have a conversation about a service provider and for every person to not only recognize the brand but also have a positive comment based on their engagement.

More importantly, the member (user) is the center of everything USAA does. It’s one thing to talk to fellow designers about the importance of user-centered design, but in my experience, it’s another for the leadership to agree. In fact, during the many conversations I had with product and service leadership (read: VPs), they were fervent about the importance of a user-centered focus. How glorious is it to not have to defend the role design plays in creating better experiences for users?

There are challenges ahead and a lot of work to do, but all seemingly within my wheelhouse. It’s just a matter of how well we can execute, and I’m ready to give it all I’ve got.

Thank you to everyone for your positive statements and support, I appreciat’cha.