Speaker Bios

Kate Wilhelm, Manager, Product Design, D2L Corporation

Kate is a user experience leader and strategist with strong practical knowledge of user experience tools and best practices. She pioneered the information architecture practice at BlackBerry and contributed there as a UX leader and practitioner. Kate has worked in both corporate and consulting environments and has helped many companies define their brands and their user experience strategies. She has been a speaker in Canada and the US, has served on the executive of the IA Institute, and is an active mentor.

In her spare time, Kate contributes her design thinking expertise to a climate change initiative. She recently switched back to karate from kung fu and can often be found in a deep horse stance.

 

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Susan Simon Daniels, Senior User Experience Researcher, Oracle | Netsuite

As a UX professional, Susie listens to and observes people using products and services—but not in a creepy way. Then, Susie works with design and product teams to make those experiences better. Something she’s been doing for more than 25 years. Susie earned a Masters in Language and Rhetoric from Waterloo and became a Certified Usability Analyst through Human Factors International.

Currently at Oracle | NetSuite, Susie has had stints at Maple Soft, Open Text, Sun Life, Manulife, Quarry Integrated Communications, BlackBerry and Intel Security. Susie dedicates her working hours to improving the user experience of software, hardware, websites and mobile devices. With proven success in delivering customer research, user-centered design, professional writing and technical training, Susie believes a cross-discipline team armed with customer insights makes every product and service more valuable.

When not advocating for better user experiences, Susie and her high-school sweetheart are busy raising one often well-behaved daughter and one less well-behaved dog. Susie will most certainly quote poetry and Red Sox baseball statistics at opportune moments.

 

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Hida Behzadi, Design Strategist and Graphic Artist, London Life

Hida Behzadi is a Design Strategist and Graphic / UX designer. Through her design journey she has worn even more hats, such as creative director, account manager, print production coordinator, project manager, illustrator, university lecturer, and art instructor.

Coming from a background of design (M.A., B.A.) and fine art (informally) she ran a successful visual communication boutique (Creative Cocoa) between 2010–2016. Through those years she has had the chance to work with well-known clients like Canada Post, City of London, The Grand Theatre, United Way, McGill University, Municipality of Dutton Dunwich, Andrew Lewis Design, Lashbrook, Carve, Pillar Network, Innoversity, YMCA, and many more.

Hida is a registered member of RGD Ontario and currently works with London Life’s Digital Services, as a Design Strategist. She believes that user experience design spans more than just the digital realm, and embraces any opportunity for learning and exploring better ways to serve the user needs through visual communication and design. She is thrilled to be sharing her passion and experiences with like-minded design and user experience enthusiasts at UX Centre Stage.

 

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Jennifer Pretti, Team Lead, User Experience, Thalmic Labs

Jennifer Pretti has been pursuing a career in user experience for over 18 years. Her path towards UX began early, after discovering the field of human-computer interaction while studying Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Her growing passion for the field led her to Virginia Tech, where she completed a Masters degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a specialization in Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics. It was at that point she launched her professional career as an Interaction Designer working for companies such as IBM, Nokia, Vision Critical, and BlackBerry. Jennifer then took on a UX manager role at Christie Digital, helping to build its first UX team and establishing user-centered design processes in both software and hardware development.

She is now the UX Lead at Thalmic Labs, managing a growing team of designers, with a goal of redefining the ways in which humans interact with technology. Keeping her equally busy and happy are her two children, rock climbing, running, and spending time at the cottage, preferably with a good book and glass of wine in hand.

 

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Sarah Cole-Megaro, Layout Artist, Digital Extremes

Sarah Cole-Megaro is Layout Artist at Digital Extremes in London, Ontario. She is currently working on new open-world content for their free-to-play game WarFrame.

Before joining DE, she was a Level Artist at Ubisoft Toronto where she shipped a number of AAA titles including Assassin’s Creed Unity, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Watch Dogs 2, Far Cry Primal, and the upcoming Far Cry 5.

Sarah also sits on the program advisory board for Humber College’s 3D program and often volunteers at student networking events reviewing portfolios and helping recent graduates get started in the industry.

 

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Emily Mahood Bowman, Senior User Experience Designer, General Motors

Emily Bowman is a Senior User Experience Designer at General Motors where she designs the next generation of infotainment systems for Cadillac vehicles. Throughout her design career, she has leveraged user-centered methodologies to help global brands like Jaguar Land Rover, Kimberly-Clark, Ford, and Intel create useful and usable experiences through cars, phones, wearables, and the web. Emily also serves as the Experience Architecture in Residence at Michigan State University and is an active volunteer in the Michigan UX community.

 

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Roxana Galusca, UX Designer, Thomson Reuters

Roxana comes to the field of UX design and research with a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As a UX professional, she specializes in qualitative research methods, agile methodologies, accessible design, and participatory research. Before her current position at Thomson Reuters, she worked as a UX specialist with Amnesty International, Fair Labor Association, and Sassafras Tech Collective.