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Ryan Rumsey

Ryan Rumsey

Second Wave Dive
Vermont, United States

Ryan is the author of Business Thinking for Designers, CEO of Second Wave Dive, and founder of Chief Design Officer School. His focus is to develop the leadership abilities of the many, help others deliberately practice hard-to-learn skills in safe spaces, and nurture confidence via continuous, small, and well-focused changes.

Over his career he:

  • Built and scaled multiple design, product, and strategy organizations at Electronic Arts, Nestlé, and USAA
  • Was hired as “first designer” three times
  • Led design at Apple, but not the fun, popular Steve Jobs stuff. He worked on AppleCare–Tim Cook stuff.
  • Spent a lot of time in enterprise software and corporate strategy; focused on customer and employee platforms, programs, and tools

Outside of work, Ryan spends most of his time raising three kids with his partner, living within an eco-cooperative community, and learning about cows.

He will gladly talk to you about music, the Liverpool Football Club, sustainability, comedy writing, or why the 1980s were the best decade.

Upcoming Talks and Workshops

The path to design leadership: how to choose your battles and get your wins


There is a lot of material online about design leadership, but they all failed to touch on what it's really like to be a design manager/design leader.

By managing design managers ourselves, we’ve noticed that, even with all of the info out there, designers still don't realize what it really is to have a hard conversation with staff, put someone on a performance management review, have budget negotiations, deal with personal issues from team members. While at the same time battling with the desired to be recognized by your craft and not being responsible for producing the craft anymore. (that brought you to a leadership position in the first place).

It's a lonely job, hard that most of us are unprepared to do, and the expectations are enormous.

We want to have an honest chat about the hardships and battles you can expect that no one will tell you, how to deal with them practically and personally, and how to best mentor and inspire your design team members to grow as human beings in the process.

We want people to leave knowing what they can expect when they move into leadership, but also with the necessary tools to get some wins within their organisations to create change.

Past Talks and Workshops

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