Hadassah Damien

is a strategist + designer + facilitator + technologist

What does that mean?

I center the work it takes so that people can make meaningful decisions around the processes, services, and products they (might) make.

I design and conduct research, analyze and evaluate – and, combined with human needs, co-create information, often in the forms of: service blueprints, experience journeys, user stories, product roadmaps, taxonomies, matrixes, and of course insights and informed recommendations.

For me, I love that technology can help organize and support our lives. BUT I know it is NOT neutral. So I use design techniques that center people impacted by decisions.

Read my Medium case studies // Check out my CV // Say hello on Twitter

Live action remote work shot!

With technology, I:

  • design services and digital interfaces to be efficient and inclusive.
  • support secure systems and autonomous use of the internet, in particular digital security for vulnerable communities.
  • develop interfaces, software, and workflows that are accessibly optimized for humans and driven by need.
  • architect data schemas and open-source software systems for efficient, transparent use.
  • build digital catalogs and archives for cultural creators and institutions.
  • Organize and document the ever-loving crap out of everything I touch!

I currently run a design strategy consulting firm, Staircase Strategy, and work with clients from global NPOs to enterprise firms who want facilitated leadership for cross-functional teams in the discovery, design, and testing of innovative strategies and solutions for complex problems. In the interest of taking a future-of work approach, this is a four-day workweek experiment I’m running, for 2022.


I recently worked as an Experience Strategy Lead on a Research and Service Design team at a regional bank, creating and measuring a CX maturity model, partnering with both customer-facing and internal teams to identify, prioritize, and test enhancements that matter, and generally wrangling data into usable insights.


I worked with ConsenSys as a Design Thinking Facilitator, which means combining product strategy, agile, and user-centered design to help teams create valuable blockchain systems and products.


I worked with the Participatory Budgeting Project as the Director of Data and Technology, testing and creating human-centered technology for civic use. I’m particularly proud of the open data project mypb.community.


I believe that defined horizontal structures work incredibly well, and was worker-owner at Openflows Community Technology Coop (2013-2016); recently became a Certified Scrum Master and train formally and informally to level up my people management and facilitation skills. 


I believe in both formal and self-directed education, so after receiving a Masters Degree and Certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy from the wonderful CUNY Graduate Center (2011-2013), I spent a year as the Resident Scholar at the Interference Archive


As a community organizer who also implements technology to help activists succeed, and a multimedia artist who also builds digital archives, my work intersects functionality with agility, practicality, and the democratic politics of open-source cultures. I have collaborated on digital collection sites for John Jay library, The Interference Archive, and more. I earned a Master’s Degree in American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center.

HDamien_MG_8629I’m curious and adventurous in life and design.

In 1987 my grandmother taught me how to sew, and my mother taught me pattern-making and fabric-based crafts; I went on to costume design school and professional production in new and vintage fabrics as well as leather.

In 1994 I began working in print by making zines and went on to edit a university newspaper and Art Direct a magazine along with making posters and flyers for events, book interiors, press kits, CD covers…

In 2000 I began staging photo shoots and digitally editing the images for creative collages; now I’ve styled product and portrait shoots for fine art, editorial print, and web uses.

In 2004 I formed a performance troupe and we realized that the a web presence was the best way to promote ourselves, so I taught myself HTML to make our site; now I’ve built or maintained over a dozen beautiful sites.

In 2005 I decided to begin recording audio, and in 2008 video – and now I teach a DIY audio course and have had my short videos play all over the US, Canada and the EU.

I’m passionate about supporting social justice, free speech, individuals’ self- representations, and the hard work put in by small business owners and working artists to realize their dreams.

My education has been broad, both formal and self-driven, and is lifelong. I care about the work I do and the projects I take on, because they must reflect my vision of a DIY/C [that last “c” is for collectively!] world.


I spent many years building the back end of websites; creating content and visual design for web and print; and consulting on digital strategy and marketing. I used to offer creative production services:

Cross-genre creative production is close to the fabric of my life, and I’m thrilled to work with others to share my skills. I used to offer communication design in web, print, styling and multimedia platforms, but now I focus on working teams to facilitate self-organizing and human-centered decisions. I take on consulting partnerships in these areas.

I’m pleased to offer special rates to working artists and female or minority-owned small businesses – please contact me for specifics. Welcome to my blog and portfolio, I look forward to hearing from you if there’s a project you have in mind or a tool or other progressive technologist you think I should know about.

Leave a Reply