an ancient map
Amy Santee as a 5 year old child. has a funny look on her face as though she is bored or annoyed

Hi, I'm  Amy.   

Birthed from the beaches of Florida in  1986,
I navigate the waters of bullshit well.
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I get it. I've worked for over a decade in the ever-evolving, problem-solving maze of user experience, technology & business. 
My life experiences, career journey, and background in anthropology provide me with deep expertise in the human experiment. I know how to listen with awareness, empathy, & kindness, and see things with a critical eye.
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✨✨✨ Radically inspired by people. ✨✨✨

 

I've always been a professional people person, but I never set out to be a coach. After transitioning from academia to the private sector, I built a career as a user experience researcher, working on end-to-end product development and strategy with all flavors of organizations, including eBay, General Motors, Intel, Dexcom, Lowe's, the Civic Software Foundation, and the City of Portland. 

 

Throughout this time, I experienced the typical joys and challenges faced by UX professionals, like building my competency and expertise, doing quality work, solving actual problems, advocating for customers and colleagues, adhering to my values and ethics, navigating organizational culture, and dealing with workplace trauma. As many others do, I became disillusioned with so-called human-centered design and the soul-crushing constraints of the business world. I wondered if it was actually possible to really enjoy my work and have a positive impact on society.

 

Exploring these growing pains with a coach and therapist helped me process my experiences, clarify my values, build confidence and resilience, and devise strategies for effective adaptation, taking risks, and setting boundaries. I continue to rely on these tools and frameworks to this day.

✨✨✨ It's all come full circle. ✨✨✨

In late 2019, I had a lightbulb moment. What if I could use the insights and strategies from traversing these waters to help others gain clarity, direction, and fulfillment?

 

In April 2020, I closed up my consulting shop and officially transitioned into coaching. This move has enabled me to combine everything I care about into a fun, challenging, and fulfilling practice working with my favorite kind of people. It's a dream that gradually revealed itself over time through self reflection, personal growth, and really understanding how I can best serve the world.

My personal and professional life has been a perpetual voyage of lifelong learning and figuring out my shit. I have a BA in anthropology from Eckerd College, a MA in applied anthropology from the University of Memphis, and a Professional Certificate in Coaching from New York University. It's my goal to stay current in the field of design, which drives my obsessive consumption of podcasts, books, and conference talks. I am an avid community builder and connector. And I am grateful to regularly learn, grow, and be continuously amazed by my fabulous clients.

photo of Amy Santee smiling with black thick frame glasses, pink hair and black shirt
red tone photo of Amy Santee smiling with black thick frame glasses, pink hair and black shirt
pink tone photo of Amy Santee smiling with black thick frame glasses, pink hair and black shirt
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she/
her/

My values are everything to me.

Persistence

I've been through a lot in my personal life and career. Most likely, I've been where you are in one way or another.

 

Long-term, short-term, I'm here for ya. Whatever it takes. We will take your challenges head on, together.

 

Also I'm a Taurus.

Self Expression

You see this website? Of course you do.

So then you understand completely the dedication I place on self-expression and getting to the core of our authentic selves.

 

Especially for my fellow nerds, weirdos, pink sheep, troublemakers, and outcasts.

Autonomy

Agency over yourself, your energy, your life, your labor. We have more control than we think. We can have more impact than we realize.

 

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of reframing to see the possibilities and create a life that is completely yours. 

Courage

The daring is in the doing. The audacity in being yourself as you forge a path for your life is such an incredible gift. Unleash it onto the world. 

Integrity

Transparency, honesty, excellence,  authenticity and integrity to my values are tattooed on my heart.

Justice

Capitalism, racism, sexism, and all the other horrible, oppressive -isms. I’m here to burn it all down and build up a world that is inclusive of all of us. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I recognize my white, straight, cisgender female privilege, and acknowledge that it affords me undue social and economic benefits which disadvantage others. I welcome any and all people, including people from systemically marginalized and exploited racial and ethnic groups, and those who identify as non-binary, non-gender conforming, genderqueer or trans, people with disabilities. I am committed to continuous learning, and fighting systemic oppression and white supremacy. It is a personal and business goal to make use of my social and economic privilege through contributions of my time and money to disadvantaged individuals and communities, and the organizations that support them. My practice is explicitly feminist, anti-capitalist, anti-oppression, and based in critical social theory.

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PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

I am an active member of the user experience design community.
I enjoy sharing my experiences with others through writing, speaking, and other engagements. 

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WRITING

10 years of writing (2011-2021) on user experience research, applied anthropology, careers, and organizational culture.

Research Practice: Stories and Lessons from Product Research Leaders, ed. Gregg Bernstein (2021).

Design by Anthropologists Blog

National Association of the Practice of  Anthropology (2019).

Using Anthropology in the World: A Guide to

Becoming an Anthropologist Practitioner,

ed. Riall W. Nolan, Routledge Press (2017).

American Anthropological Association (2016).

Practicing Anthropology, Volume 36, 

Journal of the Society for Applied

Anthropology (2014).

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podcasts & interviews

Talking shop on the state of UX practice.

Entry-level UXR Q&A hosted by Debbie Levitt.

Applying anthropology in UX careers (2019).

My favorite podcast interview to date!

Users Know, Laura Klein (2016).

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Interview with Writers Out Loud on the 10-year anniversary of my blog, Anthropologizing (2021).

Academia to UX research (2019).

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Talks & panels

Ladies that UX Atlanta Lightning Talk (2021).

World Anthropology Day (2020).

Recap of a panel I facilitated with three UX research hiring managers, geared toward seasoned practitioners (2021).

Practicing ethics in tech and design with anthropologists Angela Ramer, "John Anon", and Adam Gamwell (2019).

Brandeis University Seminar Series: New Career Trajectories for the PhD, with Adam Gamwell and Jonathan Anjaria (2020).

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