Happy Monday Uplifting Crew!
None of the impact I've had in my career has been the result of a singular design genius. It has primarily come from the collaboration of multi-disciplinary teams who are passionate about thoughtfully improving the lives of people, and the support of friends, family and leaders who have invested in me. These are people who always say, "You've got this. I believe in you!" So when I began writing Uplifting Design, the first thing I wrote was the dedication:
the most uplifting,
creative and encouraging
force I have ever known.
I would not have written Uplifting Design with the encouragement of my fiancé Giulia, or the example she demonstrated of leaving a high-paying job in banking to follow her passion as a chef. Not only has she since done incredible things as a private chef at corporate events (e.g.: Airbnb HQ in London), boutique hotels, and at her own "restaurant dining table" in Greenwich, she helped launch an exquisite Italian restaurant in London's Mayfair district this fall, and just today started her dream role as a pastry chef at the best Italian patisserie in London (owned by Prada). And if that wasn't enough, she's written almost twice as much for her manuscript Cooking Connections (coming out next year) than Uplifting Design. Seeing her in her ikigai (see Chapter 1 of Uplifting Design :) made me want to also get into that inner space and write.
The second thing I wrote were the acknowledgements, which is another lovely part of a book where authors can recognize those that helped contribute directly to the manuscript, and indirectly to the lessons and content that shaped the book. This week I thought I'd share the entirety of the acknowledgements, in gratitude for all the leaders who created the space for me to have design impact across my career. My deepest thanks for your partnership, mentorship and always being ready to say, "You've got this!"
In deepest gratitude,
In the world of business, design can only be as powerful as its most senior visionary supporter. Steve Jobs could not have led a successful turnaround of Apple without the incredible designs of Jony Ive’s team (Apple’s first Chief Design Officer); and likewise Jony could not have had the design impact he did without the executive sponsorship of Steve. So before I begin sharing principles, stories, lessons and tools for elevating design, let me first acknowledge those leaders and mentors who have supported me across my journey.
First I must recognize Chet & Mary K. Makoski, my graphic designer father and actor mother who created a rich environment for creativity throughout my childhood, who instilled in me the core value that our highest purpose is to serve others, and who provided countless edits, critiques, comments and suggestions throughout the writing of the book. I also have to acknowledge the incredible force that my three children - Rue, Eliot and Max - have played in my life as a designer. Providing for them has always been the prime motivation for me to grow in my design career, and I’ve also learned many direct lessons and concepts from them that I’ve incorporated into my work life (e.g., ikigai, which you will read about in chapter 1).
I am so grateful to Henry Poydar who took a long shot hiring me at Big World Media as a young Interaction Designer while I was still a student at Tufts University; Donald Chesnut for bringing me into the amazing world of Studio Archetype; Rich Radka, John Payne, Alder Yarrow, Hugh Graham and Arnie Lund for mentoring me at Sapient; Brendan Kiernan and Andrew Davison for helping me step into my first leadership role at texture/media; Lisa Anderson, Steve Kaneko, Phillip Joe, Ali Vassigh and Dean Slawson for accelerating my growth at Microsoft; Jim Wicks for giving me a chance to play my first executive leadership role at Motorola; Dr. Regina Dugan for mentoring me during the most amazing stretch of my career at Google; Jack Forestell and Frank LaPrade for believing in the power of elevating design at Capital One; Jordan Sweetnam for leading product through a close partnership with design at Walmart; Zaka Mian for bringing me into my first Chief Design Officer role at Lloyds Banking Group; Phil McKoy for reaching out and working with me to create the first Chief Design Office at UnitedHealth Group; Deb Bubb for being one of the most aligned champions of design in her role as Chief People Officer at Optum; Steve Garber for being such an empowering executive coach; Jonathan Castro for helping me realize the power of storytelling in design early in my career; Dr. Nava Ashraf for letting me test out the approach to the book with one of her executive education classes at the London School of Economics; Kam Chana and Clive Grinyer for having the faith to invite me to teach the book as a series of live master classes at the Royal College of Art (RCA) when Uplifting Design was just an idea and a single chapter; the fifteen RCA Service Design Master’s students and seven industry partners who attended my first master classes; Karolina Johnson for her elegant and creative book design; the multi-disciplinary teams I’ve worked with across product and engineering groups who were the real heroes who brought design concepts to life; and most importantly every designer whom I’ve had the privilege of serving through the leadership roles I’ve had - uplifting you and being in awe of your creations that make this world a better place is why I wake up every day energized to make the business world more understanding of your extraordinary preciousness.
Finally, I must acknowledge the countless contributions Giulia Trevisan has made to me and this book. She is not only my loving wife who truly sees me and believes in me, but is also a startup CEO and private chef who wrote her own book, Cooking Connections, inspiring me to write Uplifting Design. This book would not have existed without you, Giulia. You read every chapter with love and tough feedback, and helped transform me into something that began to resemble a writer.
* * *