General info
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Design Director
A conceptually driven, creative strategist and leader with 15 years of professional experience in cross platform design and managing design teams. A team player, visionary and mentor, dedicated to the craft of user experience design and motivated by driving results. Through her career, Leah has designed and lead teams for a variety of start-ups, agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Recent focus has centered around extending the AOL digital footprint for its millions of consumers.
Experience
Dulles, VA
Aug 2010 - Present
Design Director
AOL
Serve as creative lead for the AOL.com portal business and its subsidiaries to include but not limited to: The Huffington Post, Daily Finance, AOL Video, AOL Real Estate and Games. Collaborate with product, business, and development teams on creative solutions focused on product growth and content syndication expansion. Obtain consumer insight through usability, prototyping, and multi-variant testing.

Innovate around the evolution of an iconic brand broadening its mobile footprint. Identify and define the concept for AOLs mobile application, which received Apple's corporate “New and Noteworthy” promotion and Google recognition, thus serving as the benchmark for AOL’s presence across IOS and Android platforms.

Strategize with national and international sales teams to design and direct partnered integration points across desktop and mobile to uphold brand integrity and valued consumer experiences for future and existing initiatives with partners such as: A&E, Capital One, Google, HP, Starbucks, Target, Toshiba, Verizon, Visa.

Effectively orchestrate the workflow of multiple projects across a six-person design team to meet the demanding needs of a fast paced, large-scale business. Oversee the design process in beginning stages and then empower the team and hold group critiques to share thoughts and push design boundaries. Mentor creative talent and foster a fun collaborative environment for local and remote design teams.

Arlington, Virginia
Mar 2010 - Aug 2010
Senior Art Director
SapientNitro
Work closely with large corporate clients to help define, design and build websites aimed to grow business and user engagement. Understand, and help guide requirements around prospecting, brand voice and marketing. Present clients with in depth studies on competitive landscape, consumer needs and market differentiators based on extensive market research and data. Provid recommendations around product strategy based on findings. Design front end interfaces as well as assisted UI designers in the refinement of content flows and layout.
Dulles, Virginia
Jul 2003 - Jan 2010
Art Director
AOL
Create noteworthy and memorable online brands that define a voice and speak to a targeted demographic. Innovate on ways to expand virtual outreach through SEO, syndication, social networking, and mobile applications. Design best in class interactive experiences aimed to increase monetization of AOL products/services through page views and AD revenue. Partner with editorial teams to grow audience, foster engagement and aggressively compete with industry leaders thus enticing consumers and partners.

Strategize with product, business and technical teams on creative solutions for the expansion of new and existing products, tools, content efforts and ways for advertising integration. Provide innovative thinking to serve as a market differentiator and drive habitual usage for affiliated sites. Assist sales teams with advertising needs around package sales, promotions and partnered features to include advertisers such as (but not limited to) Levis, InStyle, Purina, Proctor and Gamble. Design solutions to migrate sites to more cost effective and simplified dynamic platforms aimed at ease of publication and keeping content fresh.

Define and facilitate the career growth and professional development of a design team. Effectively manage the work of multiple projects. Seek top talent for both contract and full time opportunities. Effectively speak to and sell design solutions. Explore new ways to refine complex review processes in effort to maintain the integrity of the design and maintain speed to market.

Certification: Scrum Certification for Agile Development
Virginia
Oct 1996 - Nov 2006
Consultant
LLKDesign
Creative consultant providing multiple front end web services/solutions ranging from design, production, UI, and code for a variety of clients to include insurance agencies, law firms, government affiliations, technology companies and creative groups such as photographers and design studios. Primary objective was to assist companies at gaining a strong web presence, by which to market and scale their businesses.

Client Roster Includes but not limited to: AKQA, Clear Blue Insurance, Xigent Technologies, Keith Barraclough Photograpy, SQN Communication design, Social Technologies & NADO.
Reston, Virginia
Apr 2002 - Apr 2003
Art Director
BVB Advertising
Define, direct and implement creative solutions for a full service advertising agency. Identify and solve marketing problems, through smart well designed advertising collateral (to include: identity design, poster design, print ads, event signage, brochures, web design, and direct marketing). Oversee all aspects of the design project from concept to completion. Duties also encompass hiring and managing all participants involved in the creative process.
Santa Clara, California
May 2000 - May 2001
Senior Designer
Exodus Communications
Lead web designer for large corporate Intranet and Internet sites. Ensure strong user interface executions via consistent collaboration with information architects and developers through plan, design and site launch. Assist Marketing with the promotion and redefinition of the corporate brand. Initiated/identified quality assurance testing standards for Internet based applications.
San Ramon, California
Feb 2000 - Apr 2000
Senior Designer
Everything-Commerce.com
Conceptualize interface design solutions, logos, and branding schemes for parallel B2B, B2C, and C2C Internet portals. Worked closely with business analysts and developers to develop site maps and information architecture construct.
Arlington, Virginia
Jun 1998 - Feb 2000
Designer/Senior Designer
Glynn Interactive
Designed front end web and CD interfaces for numerous clients. Collaborate with developers to follow projects through full life cycle. Meet with clients to understand project needs and desires from informational and visual perspectives. Create promotional print media to include corporate identification, posters, brochures, and signage. Work closely with clients, developers and printers to ensure deadlines are met.
Education
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Sep 1992 - Jul 1995
BFA | Graphic Design
James Madison University
1994-1996 : Alpha Phi International Fraternity
1995-1996 : University Graphics
Awards & Recognition
Accolades
1996 : Print Magazine Cover Design Honor
1999 : Employee of the Year – Glynn Interactive Inc.
2002 : PIVA Print Award – Colorcraft
2005 : Webby nomination – AOL Coaches
2007 : Silver Award, W3 Award – AOL Coaches
2013 : New & Noteworthy, Apple – AOL IOS Mobile Application
2013 : Google Recognition – AOL Android Mobile Application