Greetings, I am Tori Spiegel, a distinguished BRIDGEGOOD UX Design Apprenticeship graduate from 2022 and currently serving as a BRIDGEGOOD Ambassador with responsibilities encompassing outreach and program growth. In the summer of 2023, I was entrusted by the BRIDGEGOOD team to pioneer a high school internship initiative known as ‘Design Explorers.’ This program is strategically designed to nurture creative talent among high school students, aiming to diversify the tech sector and initiate meaningful, lucrative career paths.
During this summer tenure, I had the privilege of overseeing the growth and development of a cohort of talented interns. It is truly heartening to witness their remarkable progress. The experience has been a catalyst for enhancing my own leadership skills, particularly in the domain of design. I extend my gratitude to Shaun Tai, the visionary behind BRIDGEGOOD, for affording me this enriching opportunity. Moreover, I express my appreciation to my dedicated students for imparting invaluable lessons that have refined my abilities as an instructor.
In reflection, I offer four essential leadership insights applicable across organizations of varying scopes:
Strategic Communication: Discerning When to Engage and When to Listen Discerning when to engage actively and when to adopt a more observant stance is an art form. My personal ability to adapt between introversion and extroversion has proven to be an invaluable asset. This adaptability fosters an environment conducive to open dialogue and encourages vocal collaboration, a crucial component for team efficiency.
Time Management: Proactive Planning and Allocation Effective time management extends beyond mere scheduling; it encompasses the ability to foresee the duration of tasks. For instance, allocating dedicated time for discussions is imperative, despite their inherently unpredictable nature. Meaningful conversations necessitate dedicated time allocation, a critical factor in collaborative decision-making and guiding the collective direction of the team.
Leadership Approach: Embracing the “Benevolent Dictator” Role Embracing the role of a decisive leader, often referred to as a ‘benevolent dictator,’ is a counterintuitive yet effective strategy. Trusting one’s judgment and delegating specific roles within the team empower members with purpose and responsibility. This approach enhances collaboration and augments organizational efficiency.
Data-Informed Management: Leveraging Team Patterns Keenly observing and understanding team dynamics is foundational to effective leadership. Recognizing patterns, such as peak energy levels or moments of tranquility, allows for strategic scheduling. Capitalizing on these insights enables optimal allocation of tasks, ensuring focused work during calmer periods and interactive discussions during more energetic phases.
With the conclusion of this internship chapter, I eagerly anticipate the promising trajectories that lie ahead for my interns. My sincere gratitude extends to everyone who contributed to this enriching journey. Let us persist in our commitment to continuous learning, adaptability, and collective growth. #DesignForSocialGood