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Aaron Irizarry

Aaron aka “Ron” is the Head of Credit Solutions Design in Capital One’s Commercial Bank. Aaron is also the co-author of “Discussing Design: Improving Communication and Collaboration through Critique”.
More importantly, Aaron loves connecting with people through food, is a lover of heavy metal, and a lifelong Dodgers fan.

Aaron Irizarry

About the talk

Leading successfully, through leading ourselves

The way organizations are approaching product development and emerging technologies are constantly changing. At the same time our practice as designers is evolving with new tools, techniques, and approaches, surfacing at a pace that can be hard to keep up with.

What does this mean for us as leaders of teams (big or small)? How can we lead teams in progressive orgs going through digital transformation or orgs that are slower to adapt?

By focusing on developing certain skills, disciplines, and characteristics, within ourselves as leaders, we prepare ourselves for the challenges we face when leading our teams and working with our partners. We also set ourselves up to be leaders that can coach, nurture, and elevate our teams to be best equipped for the challenges they face as they execute on their work.

In this presentation, Aaron will share insights, tools, and techniques (from personal success and failures) for growing his own leadership skills, overcoming leadership challenges, and successfully developing teams.


  • Gauging and improving our EQ as leaders.
  • The role of vulnerability and transparency in successful leadership.
  • Adaptive communication and leadership styles for different types of team members and partners.
  • Leading through enabling autonomy.
  • Creating personal norms for successful leadership.

About the workshop

Laying a Foundation for Effective Design Teams

As our field grows, technology advances and users develop new expectations for the products they use, we are challenged to build teams that deliver best-in-class products and services.

When we look at what it takes to build successful, high-performing teams, we see that our opportunity for success doesn’t solely lie in the skills we hire for, but in setting a foundation for successful team (and org) outcomes by creating an environment for our teams to do their best work and be their best selves.

In this workshop, Aaron will share insights, tools, and techniques (gathered from personal success and failures) for building environments that set teams up for success.

Through presentation and activities attendees will walk away with:

  • Insights into creating a foundation for your teams to do their best work.
  • Building a team vision that supports team autonomy
  • Tips for increasing team communication and collaboration.
  • Dealing with conflict within teams and with partners (navigating workplace politics).

Workshop activities will help participants:

  • Gauge and improve their EQ as a leader.
  • Create a shared vision that supports team member autonomy in decision-making and execution.
  • Create a canvas for building strong partnerships with cross-functional teams.


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