Posts tagged “welcome”

Portigal welcomes Beth Toland

Awesome news here today as we welcome Beth Toland to the Portigal team!

Beth is a recent transplant from New York City, where she was leading user experience for the Economist Group’s B2B global offering. In addition to research in China, she developed products for the Middle East, the UK, and the US. Before that Beth worked in hospitality and healthcare, setting up research practices at Marriott and Revolution Health. She’s still surprised to find herself here in the Bay Area, saying “Holy Cow, I’m on the west coast!” As she normalizes to her new environment, she has this topline summary: “The east coast is about survival. The west coast is about enjoyment.” She’s stoked about returning to more active, hands-on participation in the design research community.

Welcome, Beth!

Portigal Consulting welcomes Tamara Christensen

Today we’re pleased to welcome Tamara Christensen, coming to us all the way from Kansas City!

Tamara most recently headed up design research and directed integrated innovation efforts at R&D/Leverage. In her last gig she learned to play nice with both designers and engineers, and provided their culture with a creative fuel-injection. In addition to her love of research, Tamara has a few serious crushes on facilitating and teaching. She has taught at the University of Kansas and Arizona State University and given workshops on research and creative problem solving. Tamara is currently passionate about helping her son design the (am)bush costume of his dreams for Halloween and speaking at the upcoming Oklahoma Creativity Forum on November 1.

We are giddy with excitement over Tamara’s arrival.

Welcome to the team, Tamara!

Postcards from Edge of Personalization

Not so long ago it was commonplace to receive junk mail that attempted to make a personal connection by including your name or other salient facts in the body of the pitch. But they were always outed as inauthentic by the multiple printing processes, as your name would show up in ALL CAPS, or in a different type face, or a different ink color. As printing (and other back-end) processes become more sophisticated, that has basically gone away and now the pitch looks perfect.

New York’s Eventi hotel (a Kimpton property, known for their extra attention to detail in customer service) is going the other direction, with hand-written welcome letters to their loyalty club members. However, they bungled the task; instead of the warmth of a personal note, they reveal the simulated fakery. Let’s pretend I didn’t watch the check-in staff shuffle through a pile of identical envelopes to pull out the one with my name on it…the note itself is written by two people, using two different pens! The handwriting is different, and the thickness of the ink is different. One staff member is asked to write a bunch of blah-blah-we’re-so-glad-you’re-here notes, maybe weeks in advance? When they are preparing for that day’s guests, someone else adds the name at the top.

It’s odd to see the signs of the mechanized system’s shortcomings rearing their head in what we’d expect to be a personalized, hand-crafted alternate.

Portigal Consulting welcomes Wyatt Starosta

We’re very excited to welcome Wyatt Starosta who has joined the Portigal Consulting team through the rest of 2010.

Wyatt is a Bay Area returnee, recently back here after several years in Columbus where he worked as a design researcher at Lextant. He finds himself taking pictures of manhole covers lately (a seemingly random noticing act that we can all relate to), negotiating social norms with the doggie parents at local dog parks, and exploring interpersonal dynamics in the Bay Area’s casual carpooling scene.

Welcome, Wyatt!

Dan Soltzberg joins Portigal Consulting


Today is Dan Soltzberg’s first day here and (at my request) he wrote a little reflective piece about his day, and his background.

Welcome, Dan!

So far, in all the ways I usually measure my days, this has been a great one. I’m at my new desk at Portigal Consulting eating my first lunch (a tasty roast beef sandwich from a little café down the street), Steve and I are preparing for a trip next week which will be our first time in the field together, and there are two Beagles and a Golden Retriever lounging around the office. (The dogs are wonderfully insightful when it comes to developing business strategies.) I’ve just joined Portigal Consulting as a Design Researcher, which is the perfect cap on a year which has been one of those wonderful periods of convergence where everything I’ve done so far in my life adds up to create something new.

I’m refocusing my Masters program at SJSU on a hybrid of Industrial Design, Applied Anthropology and Human Factors, which is to say that what I’m really interested in is the intersection of creative problem-solving, collaborative processes, things, and human beings. Four-and-a-half years living and working in Japan, as well as living in California married to a Midwesterner after growing up in Boston, have taught me to respect how deep culture runs, and how important understanding context is if one wants to understand people’s behavior and desires. I’m really looking forward to working with our clients and helping to decipher and communicate these contexts and the design opportunities they illuminate.


About Steve