UX designer, creative product coach, mentor

Through my 12+ years of designing web & mobile software for companies of all sizes, I’ve developed a broad range of skills I now use to help purpose-driven businesses solve real-world problems. 

my story

I was always fascinated by people, what makes them tick, why they do what they do. I chose Psychology as my college major, but quickly realized I didn't actually want to become a psychoanalyst. I switched to Fine Arts with emphasis in Graphic Design and Interface Design, knowing I wanted to help create this Internet thing I loved.

Pioneering & simple living

I learned the art of doing a lot with very little while designing for a local organic farmer in my college town of Moscow, Idaho. Mary Jane taught me about activism through building the life you want and being the example you want to see in the world. 

We built a brand that led to a nationally distributed women's magazine, a nationwide online community of rural women, and eventually a publishing book deal for a series of books on farming and simple living.

Jazz music, showmanship, choreography, and improvisation are great business and teamwork skills to have!

Jazz music, showmanship, choreography, and improvisation are great business and teamwork skills to have!

and all that jazz

I fell in love with jazz music and dancing, and in 2004 I left the farm to chase my big city dreams to Seattle. I joined a performing dance troupe and spent weekends as part of a dinner theatre production.

I conquered stage fright and learned the art of improvisation, while becoming a part of the kind of solid community that comes from giving something your all to create something bigger than yourself.

By day I built my career designing web & mobile experiences, moving into UX and software startups before the economy gave us all a little scare in 2008 and I decided to follow the tech migration to San Francisco.

I’ve developed a love and understanding for the needs of creative team members — your designers, copywriters, data scientists, and engineers. These people are the heart and soul of your company, and they need to be given space and time to do their genius work.

lean startups

I learned from incredible mentors and peers how to hustle, how to test hypotheses, the lean scrappy ways to build and ship software, how to fail fast, iterate, prototype, hack it together, and make it work. I've learned how this culture can make great people and also break them.

In 2014 I ran myself ragged, exhausted from adrenal fatigue, anemia, hypothyroidism, and insomnia. My doctor told me to consider a major career or lifestyle change… and I just laughed at her. What else would I do?

 

Running on empty

Eventually I realized it wasn't worth destroying my health if I wasn't doing something that was going to make the world a better place. I couldn't do it anymore just to boost a company's bottom line. I needed to figure out what would be worth it, to me.

But first, I had to build up my depleted confidence and creativity. I took up yoga and adopted a flexible schedule as a consultant, working fewer hours, sleeping more, and prioritizing leisure.

It's almost as if companies believe writing the words on the wall will make them a reality.

It's almost as if companies believe writing the words on the wall will make them a reality.

Stepping back has helped me observe from a distance how so many companies start out with good intentions, then burn the people they need to make their vision reality. Tech culture is promoting unsustainable practices that do us all harm in the long run. 

Innovation is great, but it requires inspiration and creativity. These qualities are notoriously illusive when you demand them. They require space, freedom, play, experimentation.

FIND BALANCE FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORK LIFE

Startups are yelling INNOVATE! DISRUPT! HUSTLE! but sometimes aren’t even clear what they’re hustling towards. Hustle is important, but so is clarity. Innovation is great, but it requires inspiration and creativity. These qualities are notoriously illusive when you demand them. They require space, freedom, play, experimentation.

Throughout my career I've learned to design and build software while establishing sane and sustainable internal processes. I’ve found avenues to productivity without riding those adrenaline highs. I’ve helped teams go from frazzled to empowered, and I’ve seen this transformation happen quickly, sometimes in just a few weeks.

I believe a culture focused more on empowering your team and giving them the space and freedom to play is what we need to strive for in order to solve the important problems facing us today.

 

Back to my roots

After more than a decade working for tech companies of all sizes, I return to what I learned back on the farm. Be the change you want to see. I draw on my UX experience, my love of choreography & jazz, and my study of yoga to coach and mentor founders, managers, and team members. I guide them to relieve tension and create more ease and flow in their work life, so they can sustain the creativity they need to solve problems that matter.


 
Sarah is a master of process: she brings order to the craziness that is startup life, keeps the team organized and moving forward, all the while protecting her team from burn out. Sarah identifies the ambiguities and asks the difficult questions in order to get everyone focused on the goal or task at hand.

What I love about Sarah personally is her honesty and transparency. Conversations with her are free of any ‘corporate bullshit’ or ‘buzzwords’ currently rampant in the tech world.

If you’re looking for a no-drama leader to help you or your company focus on achieving your goals in a sustainable way, Sarah is your person!
— Do-Hee Kim, True&Co.