Alaina Furstenberg is an LA native who moved to the Bay Area to pursue a career in UI/UX design. She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2022 with a degree in Design and a minor in Technology Management.
She’s passionate about design because she believes “design is intelligence made visible”. As a designer, she prioritizes creativity, usability, and storytelling to create applications that are not only visually interesting but also effective and effortless in their functionality.
When not on her computer, she loves to cook, lift weights, spend time with her dogs, and grab drinks with friends 👩🍳🥂
Self Assessment + Personal Story
conversation turn taking
8. I value being a listener over being a talker. I also think it’s important to give others the opportunity to speak and to make them feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
disconfirm own beliefs
7. I try detach my beliefs from my ego, so that when my beliefs are disproven, it’s not taken personally. With this mindset, I become willing to disconfirm my beliefs.
self-aware & articulate
6. I always strive to be self-aware and to not let hubris/ego cloud that. I think my articulation skills have room for growth, but as a I gain confidence as a designer I will be able to improve upon that.
share a drink
8. My extroversion ebbs & flows but, at large, I’m always open to sharing a drink and striking up conversation with someone new. I love hearing peoples interesting life stories & opinions.
spend 10 hours daily together
7. I don’t find this difficult once I’ve established a level of comfort with someone. When I’m comfortable, I don’t feel the need to always speak or force conversation. My social battery doesn’t drain as quickly this way.
nurture & mentor
8. I love teaching, nurturing, and mentoring. A way I show appreciation for my peers is through ‘acts of service’. My goal as a designer is to become skilled enough to not only mentor young designers but also successful enough to provide opportunities.
make everyone shine
7. I always appreciate when someone gives me an opportunity to ‘shine’… so I try to pass that onto others as well.
people over process
8. One of my core values is valuing the relationships around me, I think it’s what makes living so special.
dare to disagree
5. I struggle whole-heartedly disagreeing because I consider that I might not understand the entire picture. Unless I’m extremely knowledgeable on the topic, I don’t normally feel comfortable disagreeing. I think sharing your opinion is valuable and can add the the conversation if even you don’t understand everything, so this is something I want to work on.
8- A jack of all trades is a master of none! I think focusing on your craft > learning everything
obsess over details
7- The details hold all the nuance/value in a project. It’s important to obsess over the details so you prevail with the best possible product.
hungry & foolish
9- Being early in my career, I’d say I’m hungry and eager to learn as much as I can.
share the mission
optimistic about flying off a cliff
10: What's life without risk? I enjoy working under pressure, I think sometimes my best work flows prevail under pressure
your 50-year dream
10: My 50-year dream is to have built a career which I’m proud of, to be surrounded by loved ones, to be financially independent, to have taken risks, and to have made a better impact on someone else’s life.
consistent with own actions
8: I think building habits that serve you are extremely important. Additionally, I believe that to gain the trust and respect of coworkers, you need to be consistent and follow through on your word.
make tough decisions
6 As a "recovering people pleaser", I still find it difficult to make tough decisions for fear of rejection/backlash from my peers. I’ve come to learn that this mentality isn’t productive… not being able to own your decisions will cause you to become a bystander of your own life. In this mindset, you lose the ability to look introspectively because you’re too swayed by the opinions of those around you. Last year, I experienced the power of being able to make tough decisions, and it’s inspired me moving forward to be confident and take ownership throughout my decision-making process. Last winter, my friends and I were driving into San Francisco across the Bay Bridge. Halfway across, traffic came to a slow roll… the leftmost lane suddenly merged into the middle. I looked out the window and noticed a minivan come to a complete stop. Before I knew it, the hood of the minivan burst into flames. I saw a woman stumble out of the drivers seat using her blouse to cover her nose. Quickly, flames and black smoke engulfed the inside of her car, leaving this woman stranded atop the Bay Bridge. Time stopped as we rolled past the flames. I felt helpless for her. As every car quickly whirred around the fire, one stranger did the opposite. A utility truck, with no business label, parked behind the minivan. I watched in awe as a man came sprinting towards the fire with an extinguisher he seemingly had in the back of his truck. He yelled at the woman to run away from her car as he sprayed her trunk with retardant. His courage took me aback… while everyone drove away, he made an instantaneous decision to help a stranger. His actions made me reflect- what would it have taken for me to make that decision? Will I ever possess that level of courage? Why was it so easy for me and my friends to succumb to by-standing when we could've called for help? That man’s ability to make tough decisions made him a hero that day. As I continue growing and maturing, I aspire to possess that level of confidence, fearlessness, and selflessness in my decision-making process.
9: I’m very open to admitting mistakes. They’re inevitable and also a learning opportunity.
top 1% superstar
6: To be a designer is to never stop learning. I always learn from other designers, of all different expertises, so being in the ‘top 1%’ seems like an arbitrary idea to me.
6: Design programs have so many keyboard shortcuts and strategies to design more effectively. Learning the capabilities of all my tools & the most effective ways to design is something I’m still mastering.
relevant to our needs
10: I believe your design is the first impression made by your consumer. The design reflects your brand, affects public perception, and reputation.
10: The sky’s the limit!
10: I love reading, learning, listening… It’s exciting to develop my knowledge on something new
6: I try to be aware of how I’m affected by the status quo. Considering all perspectives is important.
accomplish important work
7: I think the visuals I design have to convey the excellence we promote daily at Harmony.
activity < productivity
8: Work smarter not harder! It takes hard work to learn to work effectively, yet its important to strive toward working as effectively as possible
thrive in chaos
8: I think I work well under pressure. That said, I do admire some structure