DFA writes with a bittersweet update. After almost three years, Stacy Klingbeil is leaving her role as DFA program manager and service designer. Going forward, Stacy will continue to help organizations build their design capacity, create new products and services, and strengthen their impact.
Stacy will always be a special member of the DFAmily. We are excited for her next adventure and look forward to collaborating with her as she joins our growing DFAlumni network!
We will miss her leadership, her make-it-better approach, and the passionate spirit she has when using design innovation for social good. Please join us as we send our thanks and best wishes to Stacy!
As we say “see you later,” Stacy would like to share some reflection on her time with DFA:
Things heard, pondered, and put into action by Stacy Klingbeil over the past 2.5 years
As I organized my things to prepare for my departure from DFA, I poured over stacks of saved Post-its, filled notebooks, and old emails to find the anecdotes, pieces of feedback, and advice that most shaped my DFA experience. These stories, moments, and comments come from students, co-workers, studio guests, mentors, community members, and more. I have received some of the most helpful and constructive notes (both positive and negative) and I’d like to share what each means to me below.
On taking risks: “Getting out into the community and off campus is the most important and most risky part of DFA.”
Totally. Encouraging college students to learn design by tackling complex, social challenges is serious. But it’s why people are in DFA. This is a generation that wants meaningful, creative work. When I started at DFA, there were more passionate students demanding our services than we could support. Scaling DFA in a way that improves quality has been a hard, nerve-wracking, but exciting challenge.
On leading others:
When I saw this, I felt like I’d hit manager success! This is what it’s all about. But I wanted to know why: does she love the pin-ups and feedback sessions? The people? The space? The mission? None/all of the above? Let’s find out and give her more of that.
On preserving the rigor of design: “You have brought the whole DFA office to a new standard when it comes to design practice.”
Am I dreaming? Did anyone else hear that? I can’t believe she said that. When time is the most valuable and exhausted resource, championing the process within a giant system across multiple universities while also being the voice of users is not easy. But someone’s gotta do it.
On priorities: “This doesn’t pay much.”
Yeah. I know. But I sure am glad no one is here for the money. There are so many other benefits.
On leaving random notes:
What a nice surprise post-it note to appear on my desk: the perks of sharing an office with some of the best college students around. Whoever you are, keep leaving these funny little gems for people.
On making mistakes: “Oh…I heard that was a big misstep.”
Yikes. Should have probably thought that one through. I wish I’d heard more about the issue directly, so I could’ve changed course en route. Must talk this through with everyone involved.
On future-thinking: “What if DFA National was like a bank trying to launch the ATM?”
Whoa! I have no idea what it would look like for DFA to be more automatic, technical, transactional, and specialized, but I can’t wait to explore it. Metaphors are powerful. Use metaphors more.
On testing prototypes: “14 people on a Google Hangout? That sounds like a nightmare.”
Frightening feedback on a storyboard. So many people told us big virtual calls to connect DFAers wouldn’t work – even some of our team was skeptical. But nothing compares to trying things out. No one would have guessed that group calls would be such a great and feasible way for DFAers to share best practices with one another throughout the year.
On taking risk (part 2): “Isn’t that project topic is too political?”
Isn’t everything political? What’s the connection between politics, social justice, and social impact? Why are we here? Why!? How can we frame the challenge so students have an opportunity to explore the tough questions that come with civic action? It’s critical to ask and consider.
On having a vision:
This is lovely. No doubt.
On moving on: “I’m excited for you. Sad. But mostly excited.”
Sad and excited. Weird and wonderful. Bitter and sweet. Thanks, DFA, for the best time.
<- We agree. Thank you, Stacy, for all you have done for DFA!