Every great design system is unique to the organization it serves, but they all have something in common: they’re all built with a thorough understanding of identity, purpose, people, and needs in order to help it run well, develop with agility, and grow.
Emily White brings two decades of organizational strategy to her role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “A design system is a dynamic scrum long before it becomes a product or solidified as a philosophy,” says Chris Strahl, CEO at Basalt. “The best foundation for a really complex initiative is a calm, compassionate, visionary person who knows how to guide organizations through every aspect of this process.”
Basalt’s core leadership knows that design system implementation is a tightrope strung between process and pragmatism, and the path is never perfectly smooth. It’s not supposed to be. The success of a project hinges on approaching an organizational landscape with fluency and positivity.
“We’ve developed rock-solid methodology for implementing design systems,” says Strahl, “and so much of it depends on excellent communication. Emily is an expert at making sure everyone is heard, that everything translates, and that the process goes smoothly.”
Mrs. White’s portfolio demonstrates the strategic importance of understanding initiatives from the perspective of every stakeholder. “Smart business development doesn’t simply mean growing,” says White. “It means growing in the right direction. And because design systems need to be steeped in that purpose, understanding the process and the human beings behind it is an absolutely essential piece.”
CTO Evan Lovely knows how complicated that initial phase can be. “You’re gathering information, getting to know the personalities involved, the strengths and potential blockages inherent in the landscape. In order to build the best product in the right way, it’s essential to take pre-existing practices, technologies, and technical debt into account.”
“Having someone on board who can square every moving piece with the client’s long-term organizational goals is huge for us,” says Lovely.
White’s confidence as a strategist and communicator comes tempered with a wide array of industry experience. “I approach every project knowing that inside of every real situation, there’s an ideal outcome waiting to happen. And getting to that ideal outcome depends on clarity of purpose.”
Her attitude meshes well with one of Basalt’s core beliefs: the strength, efficacy, and longevity of a design system depends on whether or not the purpose of the design system is baked into the product itself. And ascertaining the purpose of a design system means understanding the people behind it.
“That’s why Emily is so valuable, to us and to our clients,” says Nam Ho, EVP of Delivery at Basalt. “She makes sure the potential value of a project benefits every stakeholder—from developers, designers, and content editors to sales and marketing to upper management.”
Strahl believes that every product Basalt delivers contains the potential to push design systems forward. “We’re thrilled to have Emily with us,” he says. “She’s going to help us do that every day.”