I believe in the power of…

headshot of Alyssa Burtt, Design Strategist

Human-Centred Design

I believe that good design is achieved by striking a balance between a strong creative vision, and deep listening. There is much that goes on in that tension, and I have acquired the frameworks, skills, and tools to navigate it well.

Vision and Impact

For better or worse, you will have an impact. Making yours an intentional and an effective one requires clarity of purpose and vision, but it doesn’t end there. So in projects, while I frequently ask the question, “are we getting where we want to go with this?”, I also test assumptions with research best practices, and lead teams with clear communication, rapid prototyping, and testing iterations to make sure we achieve audience resonance or product-market fit.

I also believe that impact extends to the social and ecological systems we are a part of. I do the work to unpack the ways I participate in that which I oppose, and I hold my vision ‘Regard Transforms‘ as my personal north star. To me this looks like practicing regard for difference, regard without judgement, and regard for personal responsibility, and every time I find it’s a transformative choice.

Relational Leadership

I am actively studying this stuff. I am a trained facilitator, leader, and collaborator. I have the skills necessary to engage people, to create a culture of creative risk-taking and speaking up, and to relate to and prize each team member’s differences. I believe that engaging a team’s differences is what makes a project go from good to great. I’m currently completing my second year of a 4 year Leadership Program called Lead Gather Relate. The work has roots in the person-centred approach, and my teacher Dr. Jenn McCabe is in a direct lineage from humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers. Why relational leadership? Because, as her teacher, Ernie Meadows so beautifully articulated, “all work gets done through relating.”

Don’t take it from me

“Always equipped with a ‘seek to understand, before being understood’ mindset, I’ve witnessed Alyssa redirect a plummeting team dynamic towards the direction of collaboration and constructive contribution. She made a point to ensure everyone’s voice was heard, promoted mutual respect, and provided the structure and leadership required of the team to make it to the finish line. ”

— Arya Abdool, MBA (CCA colleague and team member in the Laundromat project)

What’s my story?

I was a sensitive, creative child born to two professionally driven accountants in a small Canadian city where the biggest cultural event was the annual rodeo. When I was 16, my Mom sat me down and laid out my career options: accountant, lawyer, engineer, or doctor. I told her with all the grace and strength I could muster that I would choose option E: none of the above. While I excelled in all school subjects, I was most passionate about the communication arts.

In high school, I was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, designing spreads in Adobe inDesign in my school’s Mac computer lab. It was the late 90s, and in my own time I also taught myself to hand-code html. I was creating websites that subverted the intended use of web elements, with massive photo backgrounds, drop-down menus filled with poetry, and buttons that linked you through a journey of unexpected worlds. Needless to say, I forged my own path, and got my BFA in painting, photography and digital arts, and went on to study graphic and web design at the Art Institute of Vancouver.

In 2017, after 10+ years of founding and growing two design and brand strategy consultancies to success (ZenHouse Media and Brave Narrative, see my resume for more details), I realized I had more to learn. But I never lost my family-inherited left brain, and delighted when I discovered an MBA program at an Art School in San Francisco. I graduated with honours in May 2019 and received my MBA in Design Strategy. I am currently looking for opportunities with visionary organizations and top colleagues to create real impact through the power of design thinking.

Download my resume.

Interested in hiring me, collaborating, or just saying hi? Get in touch.