Trust matters. Respect matters. Integrity matters.

Joel Peterson’s The 10 Laws of Trust talk

Last Friday night (yes, I know... but it was WORTH it) I had the opportunity to hear and talk with Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, about the 10 Laws of Trust and acting on values. 

Peterson's talk resonated with me as I move forward and consult as a UX and product designer. I love to collaborate, and I'm a trusting person, so how do I look at the opportunities that come along and decide who I want to work with? What is important to me?

On December 23, 2015, I walked away from HelpMEwell, a healthcare startup aimed a seniors with chronic conditions. A product that I strongly believed in. I walked away from almost two years of work (for equity only….) because I could not TRUST the founder. It is not enough to talk about transparency and values if you don’t practice them. I want to be clear that I was not the only one. I was the last one involved in the project to walk away. Too many deceptions, too many evaded answers, too many lies. I stayed too long. I know that. But I believed in what I thought was the mission. And I trust people. I consider that a good value.

Attending Launch Festival last spring, I repeatedly heard Angel Investors and Venture Capitalist talk about a 10 year relationship with founders. That if there were red flags in the beginning, they were not going to enter into a relationship with that founder - NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE PRODUCT.

Talking with Joel Peterson on Friday reaffirmed that I made the correct decision to walk away from HelpMEwell and First Traction Inc. (the parent company)  – a decision I would have made much earlier had I not wanted HelpMEwell to succeed so much. 

Joel Peterson’s The 10 Laws of Trust:

  1. Start with personal integrity 
  2. Invest in respect 
  3. Empower others 
  4. Measure what you want to achieve 
  5. Create a common dream 
  6. Keep everyone informed 
  7. Embrace respectful conflict 
  8. Show humility 
  9. Strive for win-win negotiations  
  10. Proceed with care 

Since last December I've consulted for several companies, and have had wonderful experiences working with people that are not only passionate about their product, but are open, honest, and trustworthy. The collaborations are been great. And affirming.

Trust matters. Respect matters. Integrity matters.


I care a lot about creating good user experiences. About communicating clearly. About creating products and user experiences that don't make your brain hurt.

It can be a challenge to distill product thoughts down to something the user can quickly understand – and that SOLVES A PROBLEM. To create an experience that delights instead of exasperates. To find the insights that bring clarity. It's exciting with it all comes together. I love finding the WHY. 

Working in close collaboration with product managers and developers, I will help you determine not only how the user experience and product will function and look, but how the design builds your brand recognition and helps you achieve your overall corporate objectives. Clear planning with all parties up front, can save countless hours down the road. 

There is beauty in sticky notes.

What do musicians have in common with user experience designers?

Advertisement for benefit concert

I'm not full of it. Honestly. I live in both worlds.

The thing is, I have always been designing user experiences. As a musician (oboist, Juilliard grad.) I sought to reach my audience – digging deep into a piece of music with all "product owners" (musicians, conductors, etc.) to bring the music alive and connect with the "user" (audience). Musicians, like designers, don't play in a vacuum, we ask for feedback to create the best user experience. If you don't connect with your audience and create a product that people want, what happens? They jump out of your concert-going “funnel” and spend their hard earned money elsewhere, and there is a good chance that they might not come back.

It’s not a huge leap to go from the user experience of aural design to that in visual design. The skills transfer over well. Challenge your user enough to keep it interesting, but not so hard they get frustrated; don't make them waste brain effort trying to navigate through the product; observe and listen to feedback; give them a great experience, remind them to come back, and MAKE SURE they leave happy.

Meaningful Design

I worked as a visual designer for many years at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The end goal was to save lives and create a better health care experience for patients and their families.

From a complex form made easier, a hang-tag on a patient's IV pole meant to prevent medication mistakes, or a cycling jersey to raise money for cancer research, the end goal was for the benefit of our patients. The audience might be a patient, a parent, a nurse, a physician, or an employee interested in cycling 100 hilly miles to help raise millions to find cures for cancers. Product owners including the CEO of the hospital, the Foundation, Oncology, Patient Education, Professional Education, Patient Care Services, etc., but ultimately all the product owners had the same goal – to make a child healthy again – and to keep them healthy.

That passion for a great user experience has had a huge impact on my design thinking.


The last two years had me wearing many hats as the sole designer and co-founder at the startup, First Traction including:

  • interviewing users to research product fit;
  • developing personas based on most valuable users; 
  • mapping sites and user journeys;
  • wireframing the user experience for responsive web apps and mobile apps (including the Apple Watch)
  • testing the interactive prototypes with users; 
  • designing user interfaces and testing with users; 
  • developing branding identity and content voice, including logos, iconography, and other graphics; 
  • recording and editing voice and video; 
  • and working with developers to iterate quickly on web and mobile app designs given very limited bootstrapped resources. 

I love all aspects of design. And if I don't know how to do something, I'll find out how.

I love learning.