UME unites curious, embodied, abundant visionaries from around the world to design the new economy.
We are a diverse group of creatives with wide-ranging talents. But these are the values that ground, guide and inspire us.
Leadership coach, creative director and professor, Jee Chang founded UME in 2016 to elevate principles of feminine leadership and to move hearts and minds to greater consciousness in business. As Leadership Director at UME, Jee integrates design thinking principles into her approach to leadership development, encouraging people to discover the synergy between their own personal values and purpose and the values and purpose of their organization. Whether it’s helping executives to get unstuck, helping teams to become more open and honest in the workplace, or empowering entrepreneurs to launch and go-to-market, Jee brings a leadership lens to every part of the creative process. With 20 years experience as a creative director, Jee has led integrated design teams for corporate clients like Amazon Fashion, Unilever, Food Network, and CNN as well as emerging brands such as Mina, Pamela Munson, Plymouth Cheese, and Local Roots. Jee is currently in the process of becoming ICF Certified through the Newfield Organization, one of the top executive coaching programs in the country. She also teaches young creatives about healthy team dynamics and personal branding at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. When she’s not workshopping her next big idea with Eve, you’ll find Jee exploring upstate New York, learning a new craft or finding ways to support young women in developing countries.
Eve Smith is an accomplished strategist, writer and professor working at the intersection of brand and sustainability. As Brand Director at UME, she brings purpose, clarity and creative cohesion to every challenge — from launching and scaling startups to complex enterprise-level projects. Balancing deep existential exploration with practical, on-the-ground impact, Eve has talent for beautifully capturing a brand’s essence, and for crafting breakthrough brands that are unique in the marketplace of ideas, compelling and relevant to audiences, and authentic to the core of the organization. Over the past 15 years, she has partnered with a range of clients from global leaders like LVMH, Nike, Herman Miller and Walmart to startups such as SoFi, Mina and Garni, from mission-driven companies like Eileen Fisher, Seventh Generation and Whole Foods to nonprofits like Ceres and Fair Trade USA. In addition to client work, Eve is passionate about creating empowering team structures and doing everything in her power to help colleagues to learn, grow and thrive. For years, she taught Branding & Marketing at Parsons the New School for Design and has spoken on conscious consumption at Wharton and Columbia Business Schools. When she’s not rolling up her sleeves with Jee, you can find her practicing dressage, hiking in the woods or perfecting her cherry pie.
Jen Lu uniquely blends a depth of expertise in marketing and finance to help brands launch and scale with confidence. As Business Director, she ensures that UME’s creative projects grow from a sound financial model and structural foundation. Her approach integrates consumer insights and data analytics to paint a clear path to success. From San Francisco to Singapore to London to New York, Jen has decades of experience developing companies and products from ideation to launch — all while ensuring that marketing efforts result in a profitable and sustainable business. Prior to joining the UME team, Jen spent six years with Google focused on end-to-end product management, business strategy, operations, and marketing. Jen began her career as an investment banker where she utilized complex data sets to reveal the drivers behind human behavior and inform strategic product development, marketing and business decisions. When she’s not taking businesses to the next level, Jen loves a good picnic, hammock and mahjong game.
Jessi Brattengeier pursues sublime design to serve more honest communication and human connection. As an award-winning Design and Art Director, she brings a wealth of expertise in branding, typography, and art history to her practice. Holistic in her approach, Jessi develops cohesive and considered brand systems, wherein each part is essential and adds up to a great whole. Her work often ventures beyond the visual realm to also explore how brands sound, smell and feel in the world. Over the course of her career, Jessi has partnered with clients ranging from Opening Ceremony, Paravel, J. Crew, Lola, New Balance, CNN and The Daily Show, as well as a variety of architectural practices, hospitality and lifestyle brands across both coasts. Her work has been featured in Fast Co, Print Mag, AIGA Eye on Design, Monocle, Ad Age and Cool Hunting. Originally from Toronto, Jessi lives and works in Brooklyn and loves dogs, surfing and architecture.
With deep experience in interactive, digital, mobile and product design and development, Christie Ha brings a rigorous curiosity to her practice. As Digital Director at UME, Christie is principled, organized and wildly creative about bringing brands to life in digital spaces. Christie has designed and developed websites for Mina, Local Roots NYC and FILA, led digital design for The Daily and product design for Food Network, HGTV and Food.com, and spearheaded projects for startups like Go Math! Go, Timeline Genius and TuneCore. When she’s not learning about the internet's latest fascination, you can find her cooking up a storm in the kitchen and posting her creations online.
Ashley Otero is a user experience strategist with 20 years in tech. She excels at designing and conducting discovery research and user interviews that reveal the underlying human needs and pragmatic priorities of key audiences. Armed with these insights, Ashley collaborates with UME’s digital designers to create intuitive user experiences that engage and delight. She is a passionate advocate for accessibility and ensuring that all people can navigate the digital world with dignity. Ashley has worked with startups such as Mina as well as large, complex governmental organizations like NASA. Prior to working in user experience, she developed software for the intelligence community including the National Reconnaissance Office and national laboratories including Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Ashley graduated from Iowa State University with an MS in Human-Computer Interaction. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her charmingly wild son and enjoys traveling to cooler climates.
Alexa Gantous is a creative strategist using design thinking and intentional play to spark ecological innovation and positive cultural change. As a Strategist & Producer at UME, she brings fresh ideas and make-it-happen hustle to client projects and community building. In addition to supporting the UME team, Alexa is the co-founder of LitterRally, a mobile trash pickup dance party, and founder of trashtalk*studio, a living lab that facilitates mindfulness-based workshops to help people reframe the environmental crisis and take positive action. Alexa earned her BBA in Strategic Design and Management with a minor in Environmental Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her work has taken her around the world, from Mexico City and New York to Tokyo and back again.
As Studio Director, Hilly oversees studio operations and client relationships, playing an instrumental role in helping UME perform and grow. Prior to joining the UME family, Hilly led business and creative operations for creative organizations like SYPartners and Huge, and co-founded a boutique leadership consulting firm helping purpose-driven leaders navigate moments of big change. She brings a wealth of experience working with clients like Zillow, American Express and Meetup through vision-setting, team building and organizational design. Hilly began her career as a classically-trained chef, and still loves food — and bringing structure to fast-paced, creative environments.
Jenni melds 16 years of experience in brand, content and design thinking with 12 years in mindfulness, meditation, and wellness practices to help individuals and businesses transform their mode of operating from the inside-out. Previously Head of Strategy & Creative at noformat, she’s adept at helping companies determine who they are, what they stand for, and how to best tell their story. She’s worked with clients such as TEDWomen, TEDxNewYork, New York Fashion Week, Grand Marnier, and Maybelline. She’s advised on AI chatbots, helped shape curriculums for some of the US’s most forward-thinking schools, and supported countless launches. Her work has taken her across the world, from supporting non-profits in Cambodia and India to advising eco hotels in Guatemala to co-creating sustainability conferences in France. Also the founder of mindfulness enterprise KINDRED, where she’s guided over 200 sessions for companies such as Spotify, Airbnb, Dentons, WeWork and Kickstarter, among others.
Amie is a creative front-end developer with a passion and talent for seamlessly integrating design and technology design and technology working harmoniously together. Her multi-faceted design background allows her to formulate unique and elegant solutions to complex technical challenges. She believes the best results emerge at the intersection of design and thoughtful technology. Amie has developed websites and email templates for companies such as LiveNation, Hard Candy Cosmetics, and the Webby Awards. In addition to writing code, Amie loves strong black coffee, thrift-store shopping, and rollerskating.
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