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Written by: Ian Muirhead

Design @ Copperleaf: Learning, Networking, and Growth at the UX x UX UNconference

What do you get when you mix three design leaders craving learning, networking, and growth for their teams but are hesitant to attend large, in-person events? A small, yet mighty two-day conference that encourages designers to emerge from their home offices and get back to in-person learning and networking!

Organized by Maria Papaleo, UX Manager, Infrastructure Services at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Simon Stolz, Senior UX Designer at SAP, and myself, the UX x UX UNconference was created to encourage attendees to expand their perspectives and peer networks. It was a chance to reinforce our commitment to growth, embrace diversity in people and experiences, and gather curious minds to drive forward innovation and accelerate problem solving.

Photo courtesy of Tim Broadwater

From August 25th to 26th, we brought together design teams from Copperleaf, AWS, SAP, and Benevity to share their perspectives and passions. With a key focus on learning and growth, the conference gave team members the chance to lead lightning talks, workshops, and energizers—enabling them to sharpen their public speaking skills and share their experiences with peers.

This week I surprised myself by giving a presentation at the first-ever UX x UX UNconference! I’m really glad I stepped out of my comfort zone—the thought of being an intern speaking to a room of seasoned designers was really intimidating at first, but I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and encouraging group.

Alex Hernandez
UX Design Intern

We were thrilled to welcome Dan Buchner, award-winning designer and author of How Might We Champion Design Thinking in Your Organization, as our keynote speaker. In his interactive talk, Dan shared stories of his successes and failures, and explained how he has been able to advocate for new ways of working inside organizations. He spoke about how championing transformative ways of working through innovation is a key pillar for successful designers and leaders alike and provided practical and actionable ways to help others see the benefits and get on board.

Photo courtesy of Simon Stolz

Aside from the conference being two fun days of learning and laughing, we’re also proud to donate $2,000 raised from the event to Pain BC, a registered charity comprised of clinicians, researchers, and other supporters, with a mission to improve the lives of people in chronic pain through empowerment, care, and education.

It was fantastic to connect with peers and reignite our collective passion for design and innovation. For many attendees, this was their first in-person learning and networking opportunity in several months. Overall, we received positive feedback from participants that they gained valuable insights to bring back to their organizations and enhance their design expertise.

With the huge success of UX x UX UNconference 2022 and the great feedback received, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!

Our commitment to innovative design helps us deliver extraordinary user experiences to our clients. Check out more of our Design @ Copperleaf blog series here.