I'm the VP of Design for SimplePractice, the world's leading EHR for health and wellness practitioners. I also advise startups across FinTech and Food Ecosystems. Previously, design leadership at Spotify, Intuit, Facebook, and Yahoo.
Professional Experience
2023 - Present // VP Design - SimplePractice
The SimplePractice mission is to care for the practitioners who have found it their calling to care for others. The company was founded out of necessity — a need for a beautiful, practical, and intuitive business solution for private practitioners in the health and wellness industry.  
I've joined SimplePractice to set and champion a design vision that provides exceptional user experiences for our customers while delivering against our business objectives and product goals. I am accountable for a high-quality product and user experience while facilitating a culture of iteration, customer feedback, and design innovation.
2020 - present // Mentor, Amazing Design People (ADPList)
ADPList is a community platform connecting designers with mentors and jobs globally.  ADPList members offer pro-bono virtual portfolio reviews, career advice, and so much more to anyone willing to connect and ask for support.
2021 - 2023 // Sr. Director/Global Head of Design - Spotify Ads
Led the User Experience and Design discipline for Spotify's Ads offerings to ensure amazing tools, products, and features help expand Spotify's footprint in the digital audio marketplace while connecting listeners to the content they love through promotional touchpoints.

2022 // Guest Lecturer, Pratt Institute
"Decoding the Interview" - Standing out from the first impression of your portfolio to the onsight interview and design challenge to students from Pratt's School of Design.
2022 // Speaker and Presenter, Spotify "The Opening Act" Roadshow
Lessons in Creativity talk to students from Historically Black College & University (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) to attract talent to Spotify to help ensure our employee community aligns with and reflects our users and listeners.

2022 // Podcast interview, Now What Podcast by Wix
From the episode description: "The next phase in audio advertising is coming. Global Head of Design for Ads at Spotify, Leonardo De La Rocha, who previously led design teams at Intuit, Facebook, and Yahoo!, discusses how brands can connect with consumers using audio, what’s next in podcasting, and the impact of designing for Enterprise/B2B."​​​​​​

2022 // Podcast interview, Life at Spotify Podcast
From the description, "This episode, we’re speaking with Leonardo de La Rocha, Senior Director of Product Design and Head of Design for the Ads Business Unit. His team is focused on creating stellar ad experiences and tools for advertisers and publishers to reach their audiences through Spotify. Leonardo tells us why ads are exciting at Spotify and what he thinks the future of ads could look like."

2022 // Podcast interview, Design Meets Business
This is an insights-packed conversation about building better relationships at work, using data to your advantage, and designing ethically at scale.

2022 // Speaker & Panel Member, Johnson Change by Design conference
Providing insights for future-proofing scaled, multi-product design systems through durable component creation, smart contribution models, and governance.

2021 // Speaker, SF Design Week
Leonardo de la Rocha, Director of Intuit Design System, and Ted Drake, Intuit’s Global Accessibility and Inclusive Design Leader, invited leaders to explore how design system teams drive ethical design discussions within an organization. Inclusive design and accessibility teams have already laid the foundation for broader awareness of design ethics, but they are not synonymous. Ted will share the relationship between inclusive design and accessibility. He’ll also discuss the importance of intersectionality and how this drives awareness of design ethics. Leonardo shares design system leadership to drive conversations that can bridge business demands with customer needs. The panel also includes design and community leaders to discuss the intersection of inclusive and ethical design.

2021 // Design Ethics Panel, UC Davis x A Small Studio
Design as a function has the capacity to improve society - but has it been part of the problem?  Practices such as encouraging addictive behavior, exploiting user data, and employing dark patterns have become too commonplace in the products central to modern life. Luckily, growing movements in ethical design seek to reclaim any moral ground ceded, by empowering designers with a toolkit and common set of values to guide us and our product organizations.  This 2-hour panel session provided the audience with thought leadership, and practical guidance as we explore equal parts “how might we” and “how should we.”

2019 - 2021 // Design Director/Head of Intuit Design Systems
Working across Intuit to create and ensure a One Intuit Design System. I am currently driving a company-wide design system strategy, have defined the vision, and developed an action plan that delivers on a One Intuit Design System for all of our cornerstone brands including TurboTax, QuickBooks, ProConnect, and Mint.

2019 // Head of Design and UX, Next Insurance
Holistic oversight and hands-on guidance for all creative functions at Next Insurance, including Product Design, CX Research, physical environmental design, and corporate brand.

2017 - 2019 // Creative Director, Facebook
Lead for a family of Artists, Writers, Filmmakers, Strategists, Analysts, Producers, and Builders. The team exists to tell the Facebook story to marketers and advertisers, big and small. Here's the Team reel. I also oversaw Studio X, Facebook’s in-house Business Product organization’s creative agency.

2014 - 2017 // Product Design Manager, Facebook
I began my stint at Facebook leading multiple product design teams that helped power Facebook’s rapidly evolving advertising platform. Dubbed the “Outcomes” team, I led these amazing humans to bring clarity to Facebook’s more complex tools -- from ad targeting/audience building plus delivery mechanisms to campaign reporting and measurement.

I also inherited the oversight of Facebook’s Business Design standards, evolving what was at first a skunkworks effort to drive better, more consistent experiences to a full-blown XFN team with engineering support that helped scale design standards globally.

2014 - 2019 // Advisor, Art Institutes Alumni Board
Services included organizing projects and events that aimed to enrich the lives of AiC Alumni and promote The Art Institutes’ mission of being the leading educator in the creative arts through our recognition of alumni success and career-focused approach. Responsibilities also included advisement around strengthening the curriculum with cutting-edge design technologies and modern design practices. I continue to assist alumni by attending portfolio reviews and industry consulting sessions.

2010 - 2014 // Head of Design, Yahoo Advertising & Data 
Head of Design for Yahoo’s Ads and Data products globally. Leonardo was the original team member that designed and built Yahoo! Gemini (native/search ad platform). Previously Design Director for Yahoo Publishing.

2004 - 2010 // Co-Founder, Design and Development Lead, Associated Content

Oversee Associated Content's creative vision and all aspects of print and web design projects relating to the brand. This includes AC’s front-end website designs (associatedcotnent.com, partner.associatedcontent.com, etc.) UI/UX designs, B2B decks, conference signage, marketing/PR materials, etc.

As AC’s creative lead, I’ve helped develop relationships with many agencies representing tier 1 brands and have successfully managed my creative resources from concept to completion of the projects demonstrating strong leadership.
"Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others." 
— Marshall Goldsmith
Cultural Values
Clear hearts - Authentic human check-ins to begin every interaction. 
Cool heads - Overreacting is overrated. Listen more than you speak. Use logic and data to win arguments.
Optimism - Not just a mindset; it's a behavior.
Be present - Let past mistakes inform today's actions, but never dwell. Onward and upward, always.
Readiness for change - There is nothing so stable as change. Buckle up.
Design Frameworks
Intuit's Design for Delight (D4D) framework is a homegrown take on IDEO's Design Thinking methodology. It ensures that our way of solving customer challenges starts with deep customer empathy, rapid experimentation with customer-backed rationale, and a process that gives creatives the space to go "blue sky" in their thinking, and narrow with testing for desirability, viability, and/or feasibility.
A Customer-Driven Innovation (CDI) framework is also employed to find our sweet spot for product growth/impact opportunities. Based on studies around new product launches, it's clear that there is a significant difference between successes and failures.  In the successes, three criteria were all true:
1) There was a giant unsolved customer problem
2) That Intuit could solve well (enlisting others as needed), and
3) Where we believed we could build a durable competitive advantage
In the failures, one or more of these criteria were not true. Therefore these three criteria are codified into the CDI framework to be used in our search for growth opportunities.
Product Principles
To succeed in crafting stellar business products, we must ensure they dramatically reduce the significant waste of financial and human capital produced by bad software. And more importantly, at a human level, these products must help people be more successful, and, ultimately happier in their work lives. These are the principles that have guided my teams' work to reach this height.

Help people grow and succeed: We have to help people get better at their jobs. Inline training and help is critical for these products, and helping people adopt best practices that are often difficult to understand is a huge part of the job.

Balance efficiency & effectiveness: In the consumer space we optimize for extending time spent as much as possible; in the work context, this is an anti-goal. If we can shave time off a task that somehow has to perform repeatedly during their workday, that’s money in the bank for everyone. But we need to make sure we don’t myopically focus on efficiency, and lose sight of what people are trying to accomplish.

Bring clarity to complexity: Business products have inherent complexity that must be considered. If you don’t simplify tools enough, people are going to have a hard time. But if you oversimplify, you risk losing the very value the product tries to provide.

Be accurate and predictable: We must be accurate and predictable. This is table stakes in the building business products. Companies can spend a lot of time, money, and energy on the tools we provide and if they can’t count on reliable, predictable results, their money, understandably, goes elsewhere.
My current key areas of passion and focus: Service Design, Systems thinking and Systems for Scale, Design Craft, Scaling design ethics, and accessibility
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