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2021 Content Design Symposium

Content at Intuit
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Monday 9/20


Tina O’Shea, Rob Jacques

10-11 AM PT

The power of storytelling

Brad Smith

11-12 PM PT

Goal setting as a life skill

Louise Mintun

3-4 PM PT

Goal setting? Argh. Oof. Blurg. That’s what most people think, and that’s just plain too bad. I’m going to help take the angst out of goal setting, and show you how to make targeted, specific goals that can propel your life in any direction you want to take it.

About the speaker

Louise is the group manager for the Experts and Team Work product content design teams in SBSEG. In other life incarnations, she’s been a martial arts instructor, an investor relations manager, an actress, a ballroom dance teacher, an upright bass player in a cowboy band, and a maker and distributor of organic carrot juice. Hey, follow your heart wherever it takes you!

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Tuesday 9/21

AI, ethics, and writing for the future

Jenny Williams

11-12 PM PT

As tech builders, we often focus on meeting the needs of the people who buy and use our products. But our work can impact many others, including entire communities, institutions, and society as a whole—especially when AI is involved. In this talk, Jenny explains what makes AI different from traditional computing. She offers activities to get teams started with approaching product design through an ethical lens, and shows how writers are in a unique position to lead the charge for more hopeful, sustainable futures.

About the speaker

Jenny Williams is currently lead writer on Ethics & Society, working at the intersection of AI and ethics at Microsoft. Previously, she spent three years at Google as a senior UX writer and accessibility lead, and has worked in higher ed, international development, and publishing. She’s also a speculative fiction writer and novelist: her debut novel, The Atlas of Forgotten Places, was published by St Martin’s Press and praised as “nothing short of astonishing” by Ghanaian author Kwei Quartey. Find her on LinkedIn or at

Movie lunch talk

Jennifer Johnson

12 PM PT

Embracing AI in your content

James West

1-2 PM PT

Intuit’s goal is to leverage data and AI to provide unique value to customers. This equates to making the products we deliver “smart”—ensuring they provide automation, insights, and engagement. As a result, AI is a thread beginning to run through all of our products and experiences. We’ll take a look at some of the work Content Design is involved with around AI, and talk about what the near future might look like.

About the speaker

James is an official content nerd with a strong sense of empathy for how people use technology to improve their lives. He’s been a Silicon Valley content pro for over a decade, LavaCon speaker, published poet, and cautious AI enthusiast.

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Wednesday 9/22

Message in a bottle: Making ecosystem content work across platforms

Elizabeth Beasley, Aladrian Goods, Kyle Stewart, Patricia Swesey

9-10 AM PT

Our panel will discuss what it takes to design and craft content for experiences that span a sea of products and use cases with style and grace.

About the speakers

We’re a mighty crew of content designers navigating the murky waters of designing product experiences that are often created for the ecosystem.

Designing for bias

Zip Lehnus

10-10:30 AM PT

Get an introduction to cognitive bias and learn some methods to avoid introducing bias into your work.

About the speaker

Zip is a senior content designer who works with the QuickBooks Capital team. He takes notes in longhand.

Be a co-designer, not a content designer

Sarah Mohs, Vivek Saigal

11-12 PM PT

Vivek and Sarah completely revamped in 5 months, creating a design system for the design system. But moving fast wouldn’t have been possible without leaning into a new type of design partnership: co-designing. In this talk, you’ll hear from a visual designer and a content designer about how trust transformed the way they see themselves, their roles, and each other as design partners. Be more than the “words person” or “pixel pusher”—Vivek and Sarah will show you how.

About the speakers

Sarah works on the Intuit content systems team. Her superpower is untangling messes of all kinds, from content and UX to the mishmash of necklaces on her dresser.

Vivek is a Principal Visual Designer, illustrator, superhero, and Friend of Content™. He brings his partners with him on an egoless approach to problem solving.


Rob and team

12 PM PT

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Thursday 9/23

People management: Is it for you?

Scott Shumaker

10-11 AM PT

So you want to become a people manager. Cool! We’ve all been inspired by good managers throughout our careers.

You may have worked with managers whose coaching techniques, design philosophies, or just plain “be a good human” tips and tricks really struck a chord with you. And they may have inspired you enough to think about becoming a people manager yourself.

But before you get too far down the road, it’s a good time to pause and think about the things that are drawing you toward that role. This talk will explore the path that content designers can take to get on that management path— and how they’ll need to change their focus to do so.

About the speaker

Scott has been at Intuit for 3 years. Starting as a senior content designer on SBSEG, he’s taken that path to people management, which led him to my current role as Group Manager for the product content designers across the QuickBooks Money team. Before his time at Intuit, he worked at Apple (managing some internal comms for the Global Security and Legal teams) and as the sole product copywriter for both Pandora and the (much-missed) music app Rdio.

Content density

Rob Jacques

11-12 PM PT

“Content density” is the hot new design phrase in the Consumer Group. I’m going to share the team’s journey, how it relates to our Intuit content guidelines and principles, and how it can help you in your writing.

About the speaker

Going on 9 years at Intuit, Rob’s journey began as a contractor and he currently leads the Consumer Group content team. It wouldn’t be a bio without dropping some brand names he used to work with like Sony, HP, The Home Depot, HBO, and Cox Cable. He built a barn and has 3 goats, 6 chickens, and a turkey. No, he doesn’t own overalls…yet.

Outside Voice

Mark Elder, Zip Lehnus, Nicole Baptista

1-3 PM PT

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Friday 9/24

Taming content monsters

Lesley Kew

9-10 AM PT

When you’re transforming a content space, monsters lurk everywhere. We’ll talk about our favorite content monsters, and how we befriend and ultimately tame them.

About the speaker

Lesley leads a team of fearless content strategists who tame the chaos of our wildest, greenest content spaces. She lives on a ranch with her family and an elderly chihuahua. She loves costume dramas and musicals, meditation, surfing, and water slides.

What Ted Lasso taught me about leadership

James Ong

10-11 AM PT
Join James for a spirited analysis of the show Ted Lasso and leadership lessons he’s pulled from it. He looks at how Ted’s individual relationships with specific characters are lessons about being a dynamic leader.

About the speaker

James Ong writes API documentation and generally enjoys systems approaches to design. In his free time, he hangs out with his senior doggo and plays a ton of soccer.

Wrap up

Tina O’Shea and Rob Jacques

11:30-12 PM PT

DJ Shai

12-1 PM PT

Artwork by Nicole Baptista, Stacey Chase, and Kim Peay

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