Hi, I'm Amelia.

I'm a lead product designer based in Toronto. I have a multi-disciplinary design background with a specialty in creating thoughtful user experiences that meet web accessibility standards. See my work page for a sample of the digital products I've designed, with more case studies on the way!

Photo of Amelia standing within Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia with a clear mirrored reflection of her against the shallow water
Amelia in Bolivia (June 2018)

You may have already had a peek at my work and credentials, so let's get personal here. I've had quite an unpredictable journey to get to where I am today, and I'll tell you a bit about it.

I'm from Toronto, and I've lived most of my life in and around the city. The neighbourhood where I grew up wasn't terribly diverse. Knowing this, I made a point to get involved in community service that would introduce me to people with experiences different from my own. I started volunteering at the hospital, helping seniors awaiting places in long-term care homes. I really enjoyed meeting people and listening to the remarkable stories they had to tell about their lives. It was there I gained some familiarity with disability, and witnessed the types of assistance provided to people in spaces that were not fundamentally designed to meet their needs. I went on to volunteer as a canvasser for the Ontario March of Dimes, which supports people with disabilities. By the time I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I recognized the shortcomings and outright barriers associated with my chosen discipline of architecture. At that time, accessibility was not integrated into the curriculum whatsoever, though I took care to design buildings that could accommodate people in different ways.

During this time, I met someone special: a charming Aussie who was studying evolutionary biology, geography and GIS. He was brilliant, fearless and able to scale cliffs with impressive ease. My first big adventure began when I joined him in Canberra, Australia, where I continued to study, made myself at home and obtained residency. This was an exciting, eye-opening time in my life, and the last thing I expected was a tragic turn, when my partner became sick and was diagnosed with cancer. Over a year of intensive and gruelling treatments brought him into remission, but ultimately, the disease took over, took away his ability to walk and then to breathe, and then it took him away. Those final years were rife with foreboding and frustration, and the sense of being powerless against an illness, and within a system that regrettably did some irreparable harm. My time with him brought me incredible joy and gratitude, and with a new hunger for life, I was motivated to seek out as many experiences as possible.

I decided to travel. I packed up six suitcases, flew back to Canada, and exchanged my baggage for one 65L backpack. I took off for nearly five months, exploring the UK, Scandinavia and central, eastern and southern Europe. One morning in Naxos, Greece, I jumped on a ferry, booked a flight via Cairo, and wound up in Bangkok. For a couple months, I roamed around Southeast Asia with no real agenda. I was driven by a raw curiosity and an exhilarating sense of adventure as I navigated Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia on my own. It fascinated me to see where and how people lived. I absorbed the rich diversity of different cultural contexts, and everywhere I went, locals generously introduced me to new knowledge, customs and food. I could have kept going for months more, but family, friends, freelance and further studies were calling me back to Toronto.

At this point, I realized that my passion for design was not rooted in one field, but rather in a profound interest in people. I refocused my career and benefitted from phenomenal opportunities within a growing startup team. I got to establish a department, experiment, and exercise my broad range of expertise. It came to my attention that human factors was at the heart of my love of design. I took great joy in pursuing any project that would engage people in intuitive and delightful experiences. For over five years now, creating positive user experiences has been my mission.

I haven't left travelling behind. At this point, I've had the privilege of visiting over 50 countries across six continents, on a continuous quest to expand my awareness, empathize and consistently squash my assumptions. I've pushed myself to the limit in more ways than I might have imagined. In New Zealand, I went paragliding over Christchurch, still lurching with the aftershocks of their devastating earthquakes. In Laos, I made my way through white water, kayaking from a northern village south to the capital, capsizing repeatedly in deep monsoon waters. In Morocco, I travelled through the Sahara Desert on a camel and spent the night sleeping alongside scorpions under the stars. I hiked for 5 hours through Ethiopia's 'Hell on Earth' to stare directly into the crater of an active volcano and make camp at the noxiously smoky summit. And while I may have arrived in some of these places alone, I definitely couldn't have survived alone. The reason that I am where I am today is because of the strength, generosity and fun-loving spirit of people who have come to thrive and adapt in ways that I have not experienced first-hand. I have come to profoundly appreciate others' journeys and I'm grateful for every story someone's willing to share.

Today, I feel grateful to be living in the city where I was born and will always call home. I have a beautiful life with my current partner, my high school sweetheart, and our adventure continues every year with new travels and new milestones.

Now you know a bit about me, and I'd like to get to know you too. Drop me a line, perhaps tell me a story, and maybe there are some new experiences out there that we can tackle together.