I’m running for the 2008 Information Architecture Institute board of directors

The Information Architecture Institute has four open spots on its Board of Directors and the 2008 election process is underway. A few weeks ago, my friend Livia Labate encouraged me to nominate myself, and while I was apprehensive at first, I decided to throw my hat into the ring.

I believe I can help to grow our community, evolve the purpose of the organization, strengthen our partnerships with related organizations, and evangelize our vision to the greater population. I bring a fresh perspective and want to challenge some of the preconceived notions about what’s possible in this community. We’re at the tipping point of going mainstream and need to prepare for the influx of new professionals to come. I want to help make it happen.

(Nominated by Whitney Hess)

Turns out that Mario Bourque also nominated me. His words were extremely touching.

I would like to nominate Whitney Hess to the IAI Board. I can say with confidence that Whitney is one of the future leaders in our field. She brings a fresh perspective to our work and constantly challenges us to “think outside the browser”. She encourages and inspires abstract thinking and challenges my very own notions of the truth. As everyone knows, innovation is achieved by those who challenge the status quo, and she does just that. Whitney invests a tremendous amount of time in networking with her peers, attending conferences, and giving ‘food for thought’ through her Website. Her reputation speaks for itself, and those of us who know her are appreciative to call her a friend and colleague. Her peers hold her in the highest regard, and her commitment to making all experiences better is a testament to who she truly is. Her unique perspective and commitment would definitively translate into significant benefits for the IAI, and would have an impact as we move forward. IA is alive and well, and will keep thriving so long as there are people like Whitney Hess fighting in the trenches.

(Nominated by Mario Bourque)

Check out the full list of 2008 nominations to the IAI board of directors.

To run for office, we were required to submit a position statement, a bio and a photo. I wanted to share my submission because I feel passionately about what I wrote and I’d like to hear your thoughts. I don’t think it’s likely that I will be elected given the formidable folks I’m up against, but this isn’t about winning for me. I just want to be a part of the conversation, and I want to be the voice for young practitioners like me.

Whitney Hess’s Bio

Whitney Hess is an independent user experience design consultant based in New York City. Most recently she was on the design team at Liquidnet, an international financial software company that runs the leading electronic marketplace for wholesale stock-trading. Previously she was an interaction designer at two marketing agencies, Digitas and Tribal DDB, where her clients included American Express, New York Times, Allstate, Claritin, Tropicana, and EarthLink. Most notably she helped to conceive, design and test an innovative card search tool for American Express and is named as a co-inventor on its U.S. patent.

Though she began her higher education in computer science, Whitney received a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. For the Master’s capstone project, she was one of five HCI students to develop Roadcasting, a system that allows drivers to create and share their music playlists with other cars on the road. The project has received press from Wired, MIT Tech Review, Slashdot, BoingBoing and more.

Whitney writes about technology and customer experience on her blog Pleasure and Pain at http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog

Position Statement

When a friend mentioned that I should nominate myself to the IAI board of directors, I was apprehensive. I doubted whether I meet the qualifications and assumed I wouldn’t be taken seriously.

Then I realized what I bring to the table. My age, experience and background – quite different from the other nominees and current board members – are actually assets. I have been a professional in the field for less than four years, but in that time I have worked on several high profile projects, challenging the status quo in a quest to create fresh, compelling, effective user experiences. My adaptability and perseverance are obvious to anyone who knows me.

My Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction gave me the skills to participate in a broad range of user-centered research and design activities beyond IA, and instilled in me a sense of responsibly to improve people’s lives by affecting the way they use technology. My Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing made me a strong communicator and ardent observer, further enabling me to create change.

Being at just the beginning of my career, I feel enormously invested in helping to shape the future of this field. I want to better articulate the purpose of information architecture and develop its relationship to related activities and organizations under the umbrella of user experience. As our discipline enters the mainstream, we need to unify to attain common goals and create a clear, powerful message to our peers in technology and business.

I began to reach out to this community early this year because I felt a lack and was looking for the next challenge in my career. In this short time I have become an active and visible participant, and have been fortunate to become friends with some of our most vocal and influential members across a wide range of practices. My overt passion for people (not only in my work, but in my life) makes me a natural liaison and community organizer. I want to lead the new generation of practitioners in the field of user experience, and I believe that being an IAI board member will enable me to do so.

Contact Information

E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @whitneyhess
Blog: http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/whitneyhess

The candidates’ bios and position statements will be posted and voting will begin on Monday, September 8. This is pretty exciting and I look forward to seeing what happens next! Thank you for all of your support.

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  1. says

    Whitney, I'm really glad that you're running!

    People do take you seriously, and it's a testament to your professionalism, practitioner capability and openness. Since I've met you, I've never doubted your ability to be a leader in our field!

    Good luck, you'd be an excellent addition to the board!


  1. […] may remember that I ran for the Information Architecture Institute’s board of directors in September, but wasn’t […]

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