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My story


Or one version of it, anyway



I’m a human, the third of three, hailing from the salty, humid core of Central Florida. I spent my childhood surviving two clever older brothers and their merciless tricks, immersed in art and writing and all the strange pursuits my hippie parents approved of. I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a degree in Graphic Design.

Afterward I moved around quite a bit, smitten with the world, wanting to see more of it and learn everything I could; between London, Toronto, and rural Paris, Ontario I lived away for twelve years before moving back “home” to Orlando and my family here. It’s still salty and humid but I’m glad to be back.

Orlando → Gainesville
Gainesville → London
London → Egham
Egham → Toronto
Toronto → Paris
Paris → Orlando
Download my résumé

An five, an enthusiastic idealist
At eight, a cautious optimist



Roots in digital


I have always been enthralled by the digital design landscape. When I was first starting out I designed flash sites in 13 languages for European ad campaigns. I put in the hours on big ad agency projects for the fancy shoe companies and deep-pocketed fast food industry. As I gained more experience I moved closer to the work that was aligned with my own values, especially arts and technology organizations, more than happy to be working alongside excellent fellow human beings (or “human beans”, as I once called us).



Design in healthcare


My first significant departure from traditional design work was stepping into the world of healthcare where I was the first visual designer embedded in the Human Factors team, a part of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at Toronto General Hospital. We designed and tested interfaces for medical devices and I got into the world of mobile app design, specifically for self-care of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. One of our projects, Bant app, won several awards including the People’s Choice at the mHealth World Congress. Other work is still in clinical trials.
I became a design lead in the Centre and grew an in-house studio with both staff and physical space. I helped bring Hacking Health to Toronto to connect designers with medical professionals. I blogged regularly to attract designers to the industry and spoke at Harvard, HXD Conference, Medicine 2.0 and others.

It was during this fertile period that I was on the founding team of Creative Mornings Toronto. I also started the Women && Tech project to highlight the stories of women in our industry, one of the first projects to do so.















Technology non-profit


In healthcare, progress was painfully slow-moving and I felt I could do greater good in a faster-paced environment. I decided to move back into technology where there was also more room for me to grow.

I started up at the Mozilla Foundation as a UX/UI designer working on interfaces for the Webmaker and Thimble projects. Over the years I advocated for design within this developer-centric organization and forged a role for myself as Design Director. I now oversaw a team doing the design work I previously did single-handedly, and much more, including the web literacy and advocacy work around Net Neutrality and Mozilla’s large scale annual fundraising campaign.

My colleagues were talented and ambitious and I learned a lot about my craft, the industry, modern day issues threatening the openness of the web, and about leading a team.

The work I did and the people I met at this intense, mission-driven organization have become foundational to my belief that my skills are flexible and infinitely applicable to helping lift up the things that I believe in.



I’m currently looking for a new opportunity. I’d love to hear from you.


Starting a studio


After Mozilla I started a small design studio with my husband that allowed us the unconventional flexibility to share care for our two young babies and still both work. Despite the competing challenges for our time, we managed to build a meaningful design business in the small town where we lived, Paris, Ontario (about 1.5 hours from Toronto). We helped dozens of businesses with graphic and web design, including branding, photography, videography, websites, animations, books – everything under the sun. We worked with the County on their economic and tourism strategy, planning and building campaigns and accompanying collateral. We worked with other talented local designers like Studio50 to tell the stories behind their products.

We were deeply embedded in our local surroundings and frequently volunteered whether to combat a local gravel pit, to slow urban sprawl, or to engage a community to raise money for a new school playground. We ran the frequently sold-out Paris Lectures event series that featured local artisans, a series of 20 events that grew from 13 people in a room to 150+.

Our business grew steadily until my mother's Parkinson's diagnosis drew us back to Florida. You only get one mom!

Read the deep history of our studio and local interests in the Jane & Jury blog




New horizons


The diversity of my experiences have taught me not only the skills of my trade but how to advocate for a cause and what doing work I loved felt like. I led projects and started side hustles and learned a ton about how people work, what's important to me, and how to get things done.

The people closest to me know that I am authentic, earnest, and an excellent communicator, a solid design leader with experience across a range of industries, remote and otherwise. Anyone who’s been in design review with me knows I have a penchant for the big picture and an obsession with the details.

What’s on the horizon? I want to take what I’ve learned and push it further. I want to try my hand at something new, something wonderful, something ambitious and meaningful. I would love to hear what you’re working on to see if I can help! Get in touch.


Skills
User interface design (UI)
User experience design (UX)
User research & testing
Branding
Graphic design
Illustration
Content strategy
Writing
Remote working
Open source
Design leadership
Hyper-organization

Sectors
Arts & culture
Activism
Community & non-profits
Healthcare
Small businesses & startups
Technology (web & apps)

Orlando, Fla.   352.895.1409   hello@cassiemcdaniel.com