What do I care?

I am product designer currently located in the Bay Area with two years of experience. I wore many hats in two amazing early startups operating in lifestyle design and edtech. In both roles, I got to be hands-on from ideation to execution, and I get my thrill from watching an idea come alive and make a difference. I care about defining the right solutions for a given problem, and making sure that quality features reach the finish line.

I care about your brand

Taking your design briefs further.

Currently, I am at Collov Home Design — a company that offers online personalized interior design and e-commerce. My work focuses on shaping the integrated web-based platform on which our interior designers create highly customized design proposals and shopping lists for our clients.

Since the interior design team works under constant time pressure, I care to ensure not only that we meet our efficiency goals, but that our designers would not have to sacrifice the personal attention for clients even as new cases are flooding in. After all, we want clients to feel like the room designs are tailor-made for them, and that attentiveness is what makes Collov stands out.

Before Collov, I spent a year at Empowerly, a tech-enabled virtual college counseling startup. I first got connected to it through Springboard’s internship module. They saw value in having a design counterpart and hired me right after, which is how I got my start in the field. (I also got invited to record a video on how to make the most of the module, which has since been incorporated into Springboard’s curriculum.)

At Empowerly, I delivered a power feature—The Empowerly Score—that accurately predicts admissions outcomes while taking into account two “intangible” factors—Extracurriculars and Essays. The Score was so accurate that it had been shown to remove counselors’ biases while evaluating students’ performances. Since I composed the algorithm, I cared about how this Score might impact the mental health of minors. This meant building in mechanisms that provided trustworthy and actionable feedback. The feature ultimately played a significant part in helping the startup secure 1.6M USD in VC deals.

I don’t just care about shipping products that “meet goals” or bring in the cash. Those are important and are what I was hired to accomplish. But as a designer, I care about the broader human context which your technology plugs into. Thoughtfulness translates into stronger business brands.

Lai Jing joined Empowerly as our first UX designer when we were still pre-seed. It was clear from day one that her background in architecture translated well to being a UX designer. She understands how to design for people and constantly has the user’s best interest at heart. Lai Jing is incredibly thoughtful and thorough in research, from usability testing to interviews, and she develops strong processes and documentation that are crucial to any organization’s success. I highly recommend Lai Jing - she is as detail-oriented, passionate, hard-working, and talented as they come.

— Hanmei Wu, CEO & Co-Founder at Empowerly

Lai-Jing is one of the most detailed students that I’ve had during my time as a mentor at Springboard. Her attention to data and research set her apart from her peers as nothing is beyond her notice. Where her true strength lies is being able to dig through copious amounts of data to glean what’s of value to both the business and to the end user. Her desire on delivering a good experience for the end user is present throughout her entire iterative process, culminating in a solid product that provides meaningful value to all that use it. I’m proud of what she’s accomplished.

— John Maier, Senior Director of Product Experience at Home Point Financial

Lai-Jing is a creative thinker, problem-solver, and incredibly hard worker. It was a pleasure to collaborate with her on our projects. She is continually thinking about the big picture and how to bring the whole team forward.

— Madeleine Karydes, Marketing and Content Writer at Empowerly

I had the pleasure of working with Lai Jing at Empowerly. I was impressed at Lai Jing’s ability to create and implement successful team collaboration processes that prevent bottlenecks and inefficiencies. As a Product Manager with a UX Design background, she was a jack of all trades. She understood business goals and user needs while also focused on delivering a great product. Any employer would be lucky to have Lai Jing as a PM/Designer. Not only is she smart and driven, but she’s a teammate that you know you can rely on.

— Cythera Carino, Senior Product Designer at Bank of the West

Lai-Jing and I collaborated on user portal improvements and and student outreach for Empowerly while I was Community Manager. Hands down, she is one of the most responsive, hard-working, and genuinely driven co-workers I’ve had. Though our areas of expertise were very different, she learned very quickly and meaningfully incorporated feedback into the end product. Despite some setbacks and challenges that occurred during our time working together, she always had a positive attitude that cheered up me and anyone else who had the pleasure of working with her.

— Sheelah Bearfoot, Counselor at Empowerly

Lai Jing is a bright and passionate worker. She is a quick learner and is very organized with her projects and thoughts. She created the designs for the Empowerly student portal and completely revamped the Empowerly student experience. She helped our team culture as well by being very responsive and open to collaboration. Lai Jing was a pleasure to work with, and her passion for design and project management is unparalleled.

— Rashi Jindani, Former COO of Empowerly, current Founder of Goalifi

How I work

I have the mind of an architect. Literally.

My background was in architecture, and I was a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley before transitioning into product design. I left the “ivory tower” because I wanted to test out solutions to problems instead of spending too much time questioning, narrating, critiquing.

As an architect, I’ve done the grunt work of detail a rooftop drainage system (see below) and fire hydrant positions. These experiences taught me early on both the patience and methodical thinking needed to breathe life into ideas. My superpower lies in my ability to follow through and execute. I view research and design as strategic means to building the best possible thing rather than ends in themselves.

more that i care
Since a year ago, I started organizing a weekly meetup for architects looking to expand into tech called CritRoom. It has been an awesome journey so far as I got to meet many amazing individuals who had gone through similar experiences, or are exploring similar pathways. If you are interested to learn more, feel free to read up about it here!
outside of work
I am an INFJ. Outside of work, I enjoy freely roaming the streets on foot with my film camera while listening to podcasts (Current favorites are 99% Invisible and the Good Life Project)
I also love reading. As a PhD dropout who is freed from the chore of reading 300 pages a day, I now read anything I want for fun, and to give my eyes a break from screens.

Thank you for your time!