Members of the School of Human Ecology’s Board of Visitors have attained prominence in their field and are chosen because of their value in providing sound advice and counsel. Appointment is considered one of the highest honors given by the School. Founding board of members are listed here.
Debra Alder – Appointed: 2016
Debra Alder is the president of the Alder Companies, a third generation family business distributing dairy products throughout the midwest.
Lucky enough to be born into a community focused family; Debra has been a “volunteer” as long as she can remember. She currently serves on the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees, City of Delavan Planning Commission along with other community and church activities.Previously, Debra received the Wisconsin Governor’s Trailblazer Award for Women in Business and the Governor’s Torch Award given to third generation family business owners. The Milwaukee Business Journal also named her as a “Woman of Influence”in 2011.
More recently, Debra and family have renovated a 106 year old historical building on the main street of downtown Delavan, providing affordable housing and upscale restaurant space. The area was named to the National Register of Historical Places.
Recognizing the School of Human Ecology’s role in shaping her personal focus on communication, integrity and robust relationships within her family, business and community, Debra was honored to be named to the SoHE Board of Visitors.
Deb is married to Dr. Jeffery Scherer (UW -MD ’78) and they are proud parents of Jack (UW MD ’15), Jenny and Joe. Outside interests include travel and following Wisconsin sports.
Follow her on Instagram @djalder411
Stephanie Anderson – Appointed: 2011
(BS 1981, Interior Design) is co-owner and executive vice president of Creative Business Interiors, Inc. With offices in Milwaukee and Madison, Creative Business Interiors has a staff of 80 and specializes in interior design, interior construction, and business furnishings for a variety of clients, including corporate, banking, professional service, health care, education, retail, and nonprofit organizations. Before co-founding Creative Business Interiors in 1991, Anderson was vice president of Indecon, a design/build/furnish firm. Certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), Anderson also is a Wisconsin Registered Interior Designer (WRID). In addition, she is a member of the National Independent Contract Dealer Council (NICDC), a national group of (Knoll) Office Furniture Dealer Principals dedicated to best business practices. Anderson received the Milwaukee Business Journal 2002 “Women of Influence” award for mentoring.
Michael Axelrod – Appointed: 2014
(BS 1993, Consumer Science) started his wealth management career while he was a junior in the School of Family Resources and Consumer Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1992, Michael secured a highly competitive collegiate internship with Northwestern Mutual. While completing his junior and senior years at UW-Madison, he started his career in Wealth Management within the local Madison branch of Northwestern Mutual. To this day, some of Michael’s best client relationships come from clients he acquired while at Madison. He was named a National “Top 10” college intern in 1992 and 1993. After graduation in 1993, Michael immediately joined Bleakley, Schwartz, Cooney & Finney, a boutique wealth management firm within Northwestern Mutual. Michael has been a partner at the firm since 1999. Bleakley, based in the New York City area, employs over 100 people and manages $3 billion of client assets. Michael has played an integral role in helping to grow the firm and help clients across the country manage their finances. Michael is a national speaker within the wealth management industry. Michael is married to Heidi and they live in Short Hills, NJ, with their three children Jordyn (10), Ethan (8) and Claire (5). Michael and Heidi are involved in a number of local charities including NJ SEEDS, and a Child Advocacy Center. While not working, Michael loves traveling with his family, following Wisconsin athletics, and coaching his children’s baseball and basketball teams.
Bonnie Bogen – Appointed: 2015
(BA 1976, Child Development/Early Childhood Education) Bonnie was drawn to working with children with special needs while working on her bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison. After graduation, she acquired her special education certification at UW in the department of Behavioral Disabilities; she then went on to earn a Masters Degree in Special Education from National Louis University while living and working in Chicago. Bonnie’s teaching career initially included teaching children with learning disabilities and behavior disorders. Her passion for working with preschool age children and their families led her to the field of Early Childhood Special Education, where she has been a teacher, classroom consultant, and autism specialist for over 30 years. While supporting parents and facilitating parent education and support groups, Bonnie earned a parent coaching certificate from the Adler Institute. She opened her own parent coaching company, Positive Parenting; Sensible Solutions in 2010. Her belief in the importance of strengthening the family in order to make parenting a more rewarding experience drives her work. She is a published Author of two curriculum guides for teachers. After many years away from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bonnie was reintroduced to SoHE by Dean Shim. A tour of the new building, a visit to the lab pre-school and a presentation on 4W along with other new initiatives provided her with the incentive to join the Board of Visitors.
Jane Boutelle – Appointed: 2019
Jane is the CCO and Co-founder of Digsite, where she and her team provide an agile integrated research platform that enables organizations to learn from and iterate with their target audiences. She has a deep background in software product management and marketing. Boutelle’s early career in the San Francisco Bay Area included stints at Apple and Intuit, where she was the first product manager for QuickBooks. Her husband’s desire to raise their children in his home state led her to Madison, where she consulted locally and nationally and worked closely with the Center for Brand and Product Management at the Wisconsin School of Business. She joined the SoHE board because of her support for the school’s mission and to honor the memory of her friend Elizabeth Schar.
Brenda Chamberlain – Appointed: 2013
Like many SoHE graduates, Brenda Chamberlain is absolutely devoted to improving quality of life for individuals and communities. A 2002 graduate of the school, Brenda began her career as an interior designer specializing in senior living and universal design. She took a non-traditional path when she began volunteering with Horton’s Kids, a nonprofit that empowers children living in one of Washington DC’s most under-resourced communities with wellness and education programs. She worked with the organization for more than a decade, learning and growing with it from Volunteer Coordinator to Executive Director. Under Brenda’s leadership, the organization received numerous accolades, including the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management and recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama. Brenda returned to Madison in 2014 to raise three spirited little Badger fans. She continues to pursue community betterment through board service and volunteer work.
Brenda appreciates that her SoHE education—combining human-centered problem solving, innovation, and pragmatism–has been as valuable in the boardroom as in the design studio.
Bridget Coffing – Appointed: 2014
Bridget Coffing has more than 35 years of communications experience including public affairs and issues management, marketing communications and public relations for both major corporations and public relations and advertising agencies. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations for McDonald’s Corporation. In this role, Coffing was the company’s Chief Communications Officer and reported to McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, she oversaw the Global Government and Public Affairs department; Global External Communications, encompassing media relations, public relations, marketing communications, and global digital communications; and the Global System Communications group, including internal communications, meetings and events, creative services and the McDonald’s archives. A 30-year veteran of McDonald’s, Coffing led a global team of company communicators to invigorate dialogue with employees, international media, stakeholders, customers, and the NGO community. She helped shape strategic Brand communications to strengthen the company’s work to make a difference as a corporate citizen. Coffing led the McDonald’s Global Communications Council, driving system-wide communications alignment, and the Worldwide Corporate Relations Council, helping facilitate issues preparedness and crisis management. In her previous role as Vice President of Global External Communications, Coffing developed communications strategies and initiatives to reinforce McDonald’s commitment to children’s well-being, Ronald McDonald House Charities, marketing leadership, sports and entertainment alliances, global field communications, and worldwide consumer brand activities including McDonald’s FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games sponsorship. Coffing joined McDonald’s in 1985 from Golin/Harris Communications, where she specialized in food and consumer marketing. Coffing previously worked at Stephan and Brady Advertising and Regal Ware, Inc. concentrating on retail promotions, reputation management and marketing oriented communications.
Coffing is the recipient of numerous top industry awards and McDonald’s recognition, including the McDonald’s Presidents’ Award, which is annually awarded to the organization’s top one percent of employees, and McDonald’s Team and Circle of Excellence Awards. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, the Arthur Page Society and The Seminar; a Board member of the Public Relations Society of America, Chicago chapter; and the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology.
Jennifer Cyra – Appointed: 2018
(BS 1987, Retailing) is a global leader and business transformation consultant in the retail industry, Her company Cynamen Advisors works with companies ranging from start-up to the Fortune 500. While attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jennifer was a House Fellow in Witte Hall and after graduation, began her career at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Throughout her career Jennifer held roles of Senior Vice President Merchandising, Private Brands and Global Sourcing at Office Depot and OfficeMax and Vice President-GMM Women’s Apparel at Sears Holdings, and she has extensive international experience working in Asia, Europe and Canada. Jennifer lives in Chicago and as a running and fitness enthusiast, has completed 14+ half marathons. A committed champion of diversity and inclusion with a passion for advancing women in leadership, she is a member of International Women’s Forum and has served on the IWF Chicago Forum Board of Directors. She volunteers her time as an executive mentor for Women Unlimited LEAD and the Chicago Innovation Network women’s mentoring co-op. Jennifer knows that the SoHE challenges all students, faculty and staff to embrace critical thinking and to serve as champions of equity and equality. She is proud to support the School of Human Ecology because SoHE people truly change the world.
Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn, Twitter @jlovescoffee, Instagram @jlovescoffee
Jean De Vita – Appointed: 2015
(BS 1970, Home Economics Journalism) has always believed that alums from her bachelors program could fit a very wide range of careers. Hers included consumer nutrition education, publicity, media relations, and regional planning projects in Milwaukee, WI, and Norfolk, VA, before earning an MBA in Marketing from the University of Memphis in 1980. As a product manager for a major orthopedic implant manufacturer in Memphis, TN, she shepherded products from inception through research, design, production, promotion, and distribution, traveling the US and parts of Canada and Europe. Writing and planning were always strong interests, so after returning to Wisconsin, she worked with a medical research foundation in communications and planning. She then began a long relationship with the UW-Stevens Point Small Business Development Center, guiding entrepreneurs in developing business and marketing plans. She also led a CEO roundtable for mid-size businesses before returning home to Milwaukee with her husband Bob after 31 years away. In retirement, she finds a great match for her passion at Milwaukee’s Riverwest Food Pantry where she has served on the board of directors and continues to work in nutrition and wellness programs. She finds in the Board of Visitors a unique opportunity to stay connected to and support the future of SoHE.
Su Hilty – Appointed: 2012
(BS 1969, Retailing) began her career at Bloomingdale’s, eventually moving to Gucci and then to Liz Claiborne Accessories where she served as vice president of marketing. Su next became vice president of marketing for 225 Fifth Avenue, The NY Gift Building, a wholesale mart specializing in gift and home products. When the building was sold, Su joined Merchandise Mart Properties to head marketing efforts for 7 W New York, from which she retired in 2011. Now Su is giving back to her organizations and associations that have impacted her 40+ year career.
Kristin House- Appointed: 2018
(BS 1984, Environmental Textiles and Design) using what she learned in her design and textile classes, Kristin House began her career in retail at Marshall Fields, where she had the responsibility of running several different departments and hired as many as 90 staff. She was also an Assistant Buyer for women’s sportswear. After 5 years, she left in order to follow her entrepreneurial spirit and pursued her new career as a meeting planner. Kristin eventually used the education she received from UW-Madison and SoHE to start her own firm to become the successful business woman she is today. Currently, she serves as Senior Vice President and Team Director for ConferenceDirect. For the past seven years, she has been honored with the ConferenceDirect Gold Award for booking over $10 million dollars in hotel room revenue yearly. In addition, Kristin was voted by Convention South as one of their “Meeting Planners to Watch” and she also received the “Best Meeting Professional” award from Colorado Meetings and Events magazine. She frequently teaches and speaks on hospitality subjects at many industry events.
UW-Madison has been a part of Kristin’s life ever since she was a young child. From her grandfather to her parents to her younger sister, Kristin’s family is full of UW-Madison alumni. By being on the SoHE Board of Visitors, she has a chance to give back to the school she loves so dearly and be a resource and mentor to current SoHE students!
Connect with Kristin on LinkedIn
Linda Granato –Appointed: 2019
(BBA 1988) Graduating from the University of Wisconsin Business School with degrees in Marketing and Management and an emphasis in Retail, Linda Granato’s interests in retailing steered her to Macy’s Executive Training Program. While raising four children, Linda pursued continuing parent education and fulfilled many volunteer hours and numerous positions serving local education programs throughout several school districts. While supporting her husband’s NHL career, Granato had the opportunity to volunteer in many different volunteer organizations across the country including the planning and implementation of many nonprofit events. Linda is happy to have returned to Madison, and is enthusiastic about all things SoHE including lifelong personal interests in design and sewing.
Mary Jaeger – Appointed: 2012
Mary Jaeger (BS 1978, Textile and Apparel Design; MS 1980, Related Art) draws on years of study and work in Asia. She is an entrepreneur well known for her accessory collections using fabric manipulation and shaped resist dyeing techniques. Jaeger received Japan’s Upcoming Designer Award for collections that bridged the fashion and kimono industries. She was also honored by UW-Madison SoHE with the Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition to UW-Madison degrees, Jaeger has degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and Nihon Senshoku Gakuen in Kyoto. Jaeger designed for Mary McFadden at Jack Mulqueen (New York City), Renown (Tokyo), and Shiho (Kyoto, Paris), among others, before starting her independent label, MARY JAEGER. She won the Smithsonian Honoring the Future Sustainability Award in 2019. She exhibits internationally with collections available at her Brooklyn Atelier and fine stores and galleries worldwide. Visit her at maryjaeger.com or Instagram @maryjaeger_ny
SoHE encourages students to be life-long learners and gives them the skills to be curious and thrive.
Matt Joki – Appointed: 2014
(BS 1989, Consumer Science and Economics) Principal Funds is currently a top 15 provider of Mutual Funds to the retail investor. They currently manage over 750 Billion dollars of client assets ranging from traditional fixed income to equities and alternative investments. Matt is the Senior Director Wealth Management for the Mid-South Region, based in Nashville, TN, representing the firm focused on serving the major wirehouse brokerage firms. Prior to joining Principal Funds Joki was a Director and Western Divisional Manager at AllianceBernstein Investments. In 2009, he received the AllianceBernstein “Award for Sales Excellence.” Joki worked extensively with brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies delivering focused engagement in the following areas: investor behavior, capital markets education and the probability of success in retirement. Matt has 15 plus years of industry experience and a broad level of expertise in multiple disciplines as well as products (managed accounts, mutual funds, UITs). He has been a featured speaker at over 500 events and has regularly been a main stage presenter at national and regional sales meetings for firms like Merrill Lynch, AXA, MorganStanley and many other investment firms. In addition, Joki has been involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors. He started a major event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Minneapolis that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars at the All Sport Ball. Before moving to Nashville, Matt was based in Chicago, where he was a founding member of the Kandy Kane Ball, one of the largest 1 day toy drive in the city of Chicago with over 1000 attendees and over 6000 toys given annually. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the National W Club for former Badger athletes and was part of a group that founded a new executive UW group in Chicago – the Buckingham Club of Chicago. He currently serves on the Music City Bowl Board of Directors, serving as entertainment co-chair. He lives in Franklin, TN with his wife Andrea and their two boys, Braxton and Lawson.
Yolanda Jenkins – Appointed: 2012
(BA 1967, L&S) has pursued her interest in young children’s learning and the tools to enhance their learning throughout her academic and professional career. She earned a M.Ed. from Boston University in special education and received a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California-Berkeley. As a doctoral student she began to examine the potential of technology for young children’s learning. Dr. Jenkins started her career in educational technology at the Atari Education Foundation and then moved on to establish the preschool program at Apple Computer, identifying appropriate uses of computer technology in early childhood education. Based on her work at Apple, she was asked to become a member of the technology committee that developed the policy for developmentally appropriate uses of technology for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Jenkins continued her work in educational technology for IBM’s K-12 education department and as the director of the usability testing laboratory for early learning software at Compaq Computer Corporation. She relocated, in 1998, to become the director of the Learning Systems department at BBN, Inc., a research and development technology company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When Dr. Jenkins returned to California, she entered the nonprofit sector as director of Starting Points, a research and policy development project that supported early childhood services in the city and county of San Francisco. In 2006, she shifted focus to the critical issue of minority under-representation by managing a research project to increase minority representation in the health professions in California at the School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley. Dr. Jenkins has served as an independent consultant and as a board member for the Computer Learning Foundation, as well as the chair and a member of the board of directors for Head Start of San Francisco. She remains active by volunteering at organizations where she can make a meaningful contribution and by studying current areas of interest such as brain research, genealogy, and effective communications.
Portia Robertson Migas – Appointed: 2020
(BA 1986, Journalism) Portia Robertson Migas launched her career in journalism, communications, and marketing from the classrooms of Vilas Hall. A bulletin board posting in the J-School led to a post-graduation position and, ultimately, more than two decades at ABC News. In 2010, Portia joined NPR where she started as a Supervising Senior Editor and, subsequently, became General Manager, New Programming—working on programs like TED Radio Hour and Invisibilia.
Portia actively pursued building inclusive cultures in the organizations with which she worked and volunteered, and that became the focus of her professional work when she became VP of Marketing and Communications for Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). MLT is a non-profit working to ensure underrepresented minorities have the opportunity to reach their full potential and rise to senior leadership positions within their organizations.
Portia currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the GREATER MSP Partnership, which works to accelerate competitiveness and inclusive economic growth in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. She is an active volunteer, mentor, and serves on the Board of Directors for N Street Village. Portia’s husband Joe is also a Badger, and their younger son is currently a History major at UW-Madison.
Chris Rotsch-Appointed: 2020
(BS 1974, Retail Management / Textiles and Clothing / Personnel Management) began her career in the Executive Training Program at Carson, Pirie, Scott in Chicago. After moving to Minneapolis, she joined the Dayton Hudson Corporation where she held roles as Buyer in the Merchandising Division, and later, directed Buyer Training and Development in Human Resources. Chris turned her focus to the nonprofit sector while raising her two children, volunteering and fundraising for entities from her children’s elementary school to the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. Educational opportunity has always been a passion and she has worked as a volunteer with national programs such as Success by Six, MotherRead, and Baby Ready/Baby Steps to ensure children are ready to succeed when they enter school. Chris serves as president and director of the Rotsch Family Foundation, which she and her husband, Jeff (BS Engineering ’72; MBA ’74) established five years ago. The Foundation focus is on Education and Community Development. Chris is thrilled to be serving on the SoHE Board of Visitors and to return to Nancy Nicholas Hall where the energy and enthusiasm are contagious.
Rory Smith – Appointed: 2013
(BS 2006, Interior Design) participated in Professor Wei Dong’s study abroad program in China, and was a member of the UW Marching Band, and is honored and privileged to give back to UW through the Board of Visitors. Rory was recently the Senior Manager of Concepts Design & Development for Walgreens at its headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, leading a team of design professionals in translating business strategy into customer experiences. He began his Walgreens career as a store planner helping to design and open hundreds of new stores, and in 2011 became Manager of Store Merchandising, guiding the merchandise planning and presentation efforts for a nationwide flagship store program. Rory lives with his wife and two sons in Wheeling, Illinois, and is currently searching for his next retail adventure.
Trey Sprinkman- Appointed: 2017
(BS 1996, Consumer Science) after graduating high school Sprinkman joined the United States Army and was stationed in Frankfurt Germany. While in Germany he was deployed to the Persian Gulf and is a Desert Storm Veteran. Upon his honorable discharge from the US Army he began his four year education at the UW. He worked for Ohmeda Medical, now part of GE Healthcare for 13 years in various sales roles. In 2010 he and his wife Shelly started Sprinkman Real Estate + Design a boutique residential brokerage and interior design company. He is an active volunteer and philanthropist giving back to the Madison community. He serves on the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board, an organization that is dedicated to the improvement and protection of the lakes, streams and wetlands in the Yahara River Watershed. He is an active member in the Madison Downtown Rotary and participates on an advisory council for the proposed Madison Public Market. Sprinkman is married to Shelly H. Sprinkman and has three children and one Labrador retriever.
Mary Strohmaier – Appointed: 2013
(BS 1980, Retailing) is a retired retail and manufacturing executive. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mary began her career at Dayton’s in Minneapolis and then became a buyer for Gimbel’s in Milwaukee. She moved to Chicago and held senior executive positions with Marshall Fields and Mark Shale. When her daughter was born she transferred to the manufacturing side of the business and was a senior executive at Everitt Knitting and Jockey International. Mary and her husband live in Brookfield where she is active in the community. She has held a number of board positions at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Mary is a proud supporter of SoHE and a member of the 100 Women Wall of Honor.
Barbara Tensfeldt – Appointed: 2014
(BS 1970, Home Economics Education) Barbara combined her passions for life-skills education and volunteer leadership into a career with University of Wisconsin-Extension as a county 4-H Youth Agent for Rock and then Jefferson Counties. That was followed by ten years as Executive Director of the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation. In retirement, She continues her focus on volunteer education and leadership development through personal involvement with numerous nonprofit organizations. Of note are her long-standing volunteer efforts with the Attic Angel Association where she served as Chair of the Board and Olbrich Botanical Gardens where she served as president of the Olbrich Botanical Society Board. Barbara received the U.S. President’s Call to Service Award in 2013 in recognition of her volunteer work. Membership on the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection Development Committee brought her back to a focus on the SoHE. She is honored to be able to give back to the school that helped her convert her passions into actions. She lives in Madison with her husband, Bill.
Jane Thiele – Appointed: 2020
Jane Rafferty Thiele (BS 1972, Retailing) has spent her life facilitating meaningful connections. She spent her early career in ad sales for the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper and as a merchandise manager for JC Penney in Chicago. Along with her husband Patrick, also a Badger alum and active UW volunteer, Jane moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then to Minnesota, where she raised three children, volunteered extensively, and served eight years on the board of Cretin-Derham Hall, a prominent Catholic high school. Patrick’s work then took them to London for two years and Bermuda for ten. Now both retired, they split their time between Stillwater, Minnesota, and Santa Barbara, California, where they enjoy hiking, traveling, interior design, philanthropy, and spending time with their three adult children and five grandchildren. Jane also connected her son-in-law Jason, newly married to son Justin and a partner in L2 Interiors in Santa Monica, to SoHE’s Interior Architecture program, where he now speaks regularly with students. Jane is a member of the SoHE All Ways Forward Campaign Executive Committee and Vice President of the Alumni Association for St. Joseph High School in her hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she was awarded Alum of the Year in 2018. Between a recent hike across Scotland and an upcoming one across the Dolomites, she traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, with Dean Shim and Professor Carolyn Kallenborn, who holds the Jane Rafferty Thiele Endowed Professorship, and rediscovered her love of textiles.
Kay Villa – Appointed: 2013
(BS 1979, Interior Design and Related Art – Textile Design), M.S in Textile Engineering and Science from North Carolina State University. Kay spent the majority of her professional career in product and consumer safety within the fiber, textile, apparel, and retail sectors employed by a wide range of organizations: a textile company; research at the U.S. DOC/NIST; trade association management at ATMI; instructor at the University of Maryland – Fire Protection Engineering Department, ANSI, and ASTM; and fifteen years as a consultant. She has participated in standards development for more than thirty years in ASTM, AATCC, ANSI, and ISO including serving as the Chairman of ASTM’s D13 Textiles Committee and on the Board of Directors for the USDA-Cotton Board, ASTM, and the School of Fashion Design (Boston). Kay is retired and she and her family reside in Neenah, WI. She is excited about serving on the SoHE BOV as her way to give back because of the opportunities SoHE provided to her during her undergraduate experience.
John Zeratsky – Appointed: 2016
(BS 2005, Family & Consumer Journalism)
John Zeratsky is a Founder and General Partner at Character, where he supports technology startups with capital and sprints. He’s a bestselling author of Sprint and Make Time, and has reached millions with articles in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Fast Company, and other outlets. John is a former Design Partner at GV (Google Ventures), where he developed the Sprint method and supported many of GV’s most successful investments, including Slack, One Medical Group, Flatiron Health, Blue Bottle Coffee, Gusto, and Digit. Previously, John was a design leader for YouTube, Google Ads, and FeedBurner, which was acquired by Google in 2007.
John studied journalism at UW-Madison and graduated from the UW School of Human Ecology. He’s working with the faculty, students, and staff of SoHE to bring a deeper and more practical understanding of design to the school.
Originally from small-town Wisconsin, John has lived in Chicago and San Francisco with his wife Michelle. They spent 18 months traveling in Central America aboard their sailboat Pineapple before moving to Milwaukee in 2019.
Connect with John on LinkedIn, on Twitter @jazer