Have an open conversation with me, while donating to a cause on my Superpeer.
Communicating honestly and transparently helps me to understand others and allows me to better be understood. Listening to someone speaking takes precedence over checking the latest notification received, so I keep my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' to ensure I am fully engaged in the present moment and giving the human or task at hand the attention it deserves.
Instead of being very active on social media, I value in-person interactions which provide a more welcoming space for emotion, clarity, and appropriate silence. This is difficult as an introvert, but I've found that staying connected with the world beyond the screen improves the wealth of my mind and the health of my heart.
Giving back of my resources and gifts is worth more to me than receiving clout or money. Monetization is never the first goal of any project I create. It is important to me to be present among marginalized communities and educate myself on the way others experience the world. The more empathy we gain for others, the more harmonious we can live among each other and help give of what we each have to benefit the greater good of humanity.
Creative inspiration and spiritual growth occur most when I listen to people who are different than myself share their stories. Recognition of privilege by way of race, class, and access to resources is necessary for me to acknowledge differing perspectives. I typically find this in music, podcasts, books, film, and most of all, through engagement with others.
I believe that practice makes progress. Striving for perfection limits my ability to connect to my purpose. Design and music are both forms of communication I use that can transcend barriers of culture, language, and emotion.
As a multi-instrumentalist, I enjoy trying to play anything I can. In 2019, I attended an online Music Theory course with Berklee College of Music, but much of my writing comes from what feels right and is not rooted in theory techniques.
I have played bass in a gogo band, guitar in a folk band, drums in a worship band, and now I produce my own music using any instruments I can get my hands on.
Currently, I am exploring how the influence of music from all over the world manifests through what I can create, with a project called Sequoia.
With the privilege of education and experience comes the wealth of knowledge. Without sharing this gift of knowledge, we selfishly hold back others from helping move the goodness of humanity forward.
As much as people reach out on Out of Office Hours, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email looking for any level of design mentorship, I make time. Whether having a short discussion, periodically meeting up, or helping a new designer break into the industry of design, I am grateful to learn as much from them as they might from me.
Society contains systems that often distort and devalue the identities of our neighbors. One of those systems is the need to carry identification documents in order to receive employment, housing, education, or services.
In Washington, DC, I serve on a leadership team that helps to bring restoration to neighbors in our community in need of these documents. Among this team, I lead our technology initiatives, helping create ways to interview clients and track what services are needed.
Sound Color Project, Sound Scene & Hirshhorn, 2020
Humor in Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, 2011
"Derek is an amazing mentor! He is so easy to talk to and you learn so much from just chatting with him. He explains design concepts clearly and understands the best practices of the industry. His perspectives, view of the world, and ideas will enlighten and inspire you. I'm so thankful to have met Derek and found someone who is so senior in design treat me with the utmost respect and be so reliable. Whether it's answering a tough situational question to preparing you for an interview, Derek is so responsive and knowledgeable about what to expect. Incredibly talented and communicative, Derek is a great person to work with and learn from."
Catherine R-K., Mentee
"Derek is one of the most passionate, hardworking people I've ever met. You can tell that he loves what he does because there is always something meaningful attached to his projects. Working with him is super beneficial—he will recognize your strengths even if you don't realize them yourself. His dedication to his craft is inspiring and I'm glad that I got the chance to work alongside him!"
Halimatu B., Coworker (Engineer)
"Derek and I work together as volunteers on a project to help people experiencing homelessness. We encountered challenges that required not only Derek’s compassion but also his professional expertise. His creative ideas and technical skill were critical to improving our service, but even more valuable was his capacity to work collaboratively with untutored volunteers as equal, respected partners. It is the same respect, attention, and concern he shows to people in need. He is, in short, a joy to have as a colleague."
Janet B., Covolunteer Leader
"I have been working with Derek for approximately a year now. I have found Derek to be great at taking an abstract UI requirement, asking the right questions, and coming up with a UI that meets the product requirements. When designing the UI, Derek not only considers the requirements that we have provided but also thinks about how to provide a better user experience. And finally, comes up with a UI that is better designed/placed than what I initially conceived of. I have also found that he is open to suggestions, carefully listens to feedback and incorporates the feedback. It has been a great pleasure to work with Derek, and he has become my go-to person for all UI requirements for my projects."
Mridhula S., Coworker (Product Manager)
"Derek's enthusiasm and skill really raised the bar for design at Oracle Data Cloud. He's a fantastic designer and great relationship builder across the organization. On top of that, he is just an absolute pleasure to work with."
Jonathon W., Coworker (Designer)
"As a musician and an artist, I truly enjoy working with Derek because there is a trust that he radiates which can never be broken, even if the project takes a hard turn full of tension. He will walk right through the tension with you and give you a silent smile. That is the profounding cycle of creative drive he generates to invite collaborators into. It's comforting and assuring. It's the chemical reaction of doubtful challenges turned into kindred spirit, always ending up yielding something beautiful you did not expect."