Nicole Yankelovich


Leadership / Management

I have had leadership roles in every project I have worked on throughout my career. At Brown University, I was the first employee of IRIS, the research institute at Brown University that I helped to found as a new college graduate. I took the initiative to learn everything I could about interaction design from conferences, published papers and colleagues. This allowed me to be the lead designer on all the Intermedia applications we created over the course of 9 years, as well as the project lead for the various educational projects we were engaged with.

During my 19-year tenure at Sun Microsystems, I started and managed four different research teams: Speech Applications, Network Communities, Collaborative Environments, and Wonderland. In each case, I proposed the idea for the project to the Sun Labs director and then recruited and hired staff. Except for the Wonderland project, I also managed all the employees on each team. In the Wonderland case, Sun management restructured the Lab and enlisted a few professional managers to take over all people management, leaving the Principal Investigators to focus on running the projects. I was offered one of those management positions, but I opted to continue as a Principal Investigator so that I could focus on project work. With one exception, all of the people on the four research teams were engineers.

And upon leaving Sun in 2010, I founded WonderBuilders with two of the members of my Wonderland research team. As CEO, I had full responsibility for running the company and doing almost every job that does not involve engineering. This included sales, marketing, all customer-facing interactions, user research, interaction and UI design, documentation, web site maintenance, proposal writing, recruiting and managing contractors, billing, and various other administrative tasks. After closing WonderBuilders at the end of 2014, I started an independent consulting organization, Envisiture Consulting. As an independent consultant, I am able to help start-ups, established companies, and other organizations launch and run new projects. See What I Can Do For You.

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