I specialize in design, education, and communication. I prize users over stakeholders, Slack over email, actual work over meetings, and authentic storytelling over conventional resumes. I pair broad design-thinking strategies with a sense of urgency to get a job done. I like operational details and back up plans. I keep company with those who seek a better world with hard work, commitment, and honesty. I’m full of opinions and I hardly ever keep them to myself.
fine, fine details
Director of Engagement, Character Lab
August 2013 – Present
Lessons Learned: Starting from Scratch + Making Useful Products
· Lead the team to create and curate character-development content and tools for the classroom
· Oversee all web-based products, design, and development
· Manage brand and all external communications
· Generally help to build the plane as we fly it, pinch hitting where necessary (operations, recruitment, writing copy, making pitch decks, creating external partnerships, etc.)
Character Lab is a nonprofit on a mission to develop, disseminate, and support research-based approaches to character that enable kids to learn and flourish. We are a small team of researchers, designers, and educators and mostly based out of New York. I chose to work at Character Lab instead of going to business school. That may sound strange, but becoming the second full-time hire in a brand new organization has afforded me daily opportunity to create, problem-solve, strategize, and operationalize. Less than 10 months in, we had a brand, a following, a new set of products, and a growing team. I am proud of the work that can be seen by an external audience as well as the powerful, efficient, and considered culture we’ve building on the back end.
KIPP Foundation, Senior Creative Manager
January 2009 – August 2013
Lessons Learned: Using the Design Process + Managing a National Brand
· Oversee the national visual brand for KIPP
· Create all associated materials (annual reports, event materials, ad campaigns, etc.)
KIPP is a national network of public charter schools serving students in low-income communities across the country. At KIPP, I worked under the Director of Marketing to oversee the design direction of the organization and maintain visual brand integrity. I designed, developed, and produced marketing collateral, brochures, presentations, multi-page books, related reports, and event materials. I developed visual brands for new KIPP schools each year, and trained staff of our schools on basic design principles. I managed photo and video shoots and oversaw the look and feel of our web presence. I consulted with my colleagues to craft stories, roll out new initiatives, and design experiences for others.
KIPP Foundation, Recruitment and Selection Coordinator
September 2007 – December 2008
Lessons Learned: Detail-Orientation and Organizational Design
· Manage operations for a highly competitive fellowship application and selection process
I coordinated, systemized, and organized the recruitment and selection of KIPP’s prestigious Fisher Fellows. I communicated with all applicants and I managed the recruitment database and team calendar. This role forced me to be detail-oriented and meticulous. It also taught me to plan for every pitfall and worst-case-scenario, to be savvy about office politics and hierarchy, and how to travel for work. The role taught me about whole-organization design: during my time working at KIPP, we’ve gone from 45 employees to more than 100. I was part of conversations about growth strategy and talent management that really changed the way I thought about how organizations multiply their impact.
“I Have a Dream” – East Palo Alto, Senior Program Coordinator
June 2005 – December 2007
Lesson Learned: Creative Problem-Solving
· Design and lead after school, summer, and intervention programming for a diverse group of elementary school students.
· Run day-to-day operations of a small nonprofit with the support of a corps of volunteers.
In this role, I oversaw the academic, social, and emotional development of 60 middle school students by providing one-on-one mentoring and tutoring, managing a daily after-school program and staff, designing and implementing a customized summer program, and training and supervising over 120 volunteers. I partnered with and coached the teachers of the students, and provided social-service type support and grants to families of students. I worked with families to recover from homelessness and violence.
Edison McNair Academy, Teach for America Sixth Grade Teacher
June 2003 – June 2005
Lesson Learned: Patience
As a teacher, I created and executed student-centered lesson plans which combined curriculum with challenging supplemental material while maintaining a positive learning environment that valued diversity, creativity, and dialogue. I strengthened student investment with rigorous, standards-based goals and parent investment through weekly parent newsletters, family conferences, and weekly progress reports. Most classrooms in low-income communities in California achieve 0.5 – 0.7 grade levels of growth per year. We achieved 1.6.
Wells College, BA in Public Policy
2000 – 2003
Attending a 400-person women’s college that you’ve never heard of was the best decision 17-year-old Rachel ever made. I became a better friend: living in a tiny community means that you look out for everyone. I became a better listener: going to a small college means really engaging with people who don’t share your views. I became a better leader: the small environment afforded me the opportunity to be class president, captain of sports teams, and run the college newspaper. I became a better speaker: afternoon seminar with only a couple other people meant that we talked a lot, and we developed brave and poised voices. Wells became a training ground for moving mountains later on in life. Wells taught me that if you want something to happen, you can make it happen. If you have a good idea, share it. If you see a wrong in our world, it is your job to make it right. I feel profoundly lucky and grateful to have found my little, weird, random, special college.