Lucas Coelho has dedicated his career to design and entrepreneurship. He started out as a Jr. Designer working for small agencies and startups before becoming a founding member of 99jobs.com. He went on to co-found UnCollege.org’s Brazilian operations, before serving as a Partner and Strategic Designer at Studio Flama. For the past almost four years, Lucas has served as the VP of design at Roam Digital, focusing on the company's design strategy, process, approach, and professional development of Roam Digital's design team members across New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.
In case you were wondering what a VP does, a typical day at work for Lucas consists of: attending strategy meetings with the senior leadership team, reviewing product decisions in critical projects, connecting people who should be talking with each other, figuring out how to deliver value to a new client, writing documentation, and improving the ways his team works.
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 myself, I 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.
I want to talk about the hardships 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.
I want people to leave knowing what they can expect when they move into leadership and that it's an inspiring and purposeful career for designers.