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Senior Director, Design

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.


Responsible for leading the execution of design work across well-researched customer journeys that span platforms, channels and audiences while managing a team of design managers; proactively support and contribute to the shape, mission, and effectiveness of the design organization.  

Primary Duties and Responsibilities   

  • Define and drive strategic objectives across several applications and refining processes that support quality execution.  

  • Managing a team of design leaders who will be managing their own smaller teams of individual contributors.  

  • Facilitating initiatives based on research insights.  

  • Transforming business goals into opportunities for your team to deliver value.  

  • Working with design program management to create resourcing plans and schedules and ensure that you have the proper resources for your team.  

  • Collaborating with the design system team to develop contributions to the design system based on emergent needs discovered through application designs  

  • Facilitating design workshops for the design team and relevant stakeholders, SMEs, and other collaborators  

  • Ensuring design’s focus is on design quality and the ability to clearly articulate what good looks like via quantitative and qualitative analysis.  

  • Collaborating with our key partners (product managers, developers, other designers) to reach aligned and shared outcomes with a common understanding of success.  

  • Providing mentorship and coaching to managers, designers and non-designers on the team so they can uplift themselves and the team.  

  • Being an ambassador for user-centeredness and the strategic value of design across the enterprise, especially with your cross-functional peers and leadership.  

  • Managing the performance day to day of the team: assuring they are engaged, delivering the highest quality work, delivering work on time, considering tradeoffs and constraints, providing multiple options, accounting for accessibility in their designs, and aligned with the strategic direction and objectives of the business.   

  • Communicating and collaborating with peers on the Design Leadership team to ensure alignment across design teams.  

  • To meet the team's objectives and measure success, coordinate and support the efforts of design services including research, content strategy and program management. Their impact will increase the influence of design across the organization and drive a high-performance culture.  


  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in product design  

  • Experience working on a diverse set of complex, highly transactional, data intensive digital products & services  

  • Experience managing a team of managers, helping them define and reach business outcomes  

  • Experience creating goals that are outcome-driven with clear assessment criteria of what success looks like for the team and team’s cross-functional partners  

  • Demonstrated depth of design skills applied across a breadth of contexts and have implemented partnerships with content strategy, research design operations, product, engineering and business stakeholders  

  • Strong advocate for design process and methods, and have experience teaching non-designers how they can make use of them and gain value from their practice for themselves  

  • Team developer, helping team members grow as design and business contributors  

  • Strategic and outcome oriented, presenting work based on a critical eye to the business  

  • Can show both a grounded foundational portfolio of work in product design, and levels of  fluency in UX research, content strategy, copywriting, and Product Management  

  • Experience and ability to speak to the range of issues and opportunities involved in managing a team of teams, managing different design disciplines to drive strategic success  

  • Recognize the demands of leading at an executive level in a large organization, with the specific challenges related to a highly regulated and compliant industry such as finance/banking, insurance or healthcare  

  • Ability to use your communications and social skills to influence partners, peers, superiors, and stakeholders, as well as to clearly communicate requirements, requests, and responses  

  • Experience articulating the impact of design and evangelizing in order to support your team’s goals and help them develop as both individuals and a highly successful team  

  • Familiarity with implementing design operations at scale   

Skills-Proficiency Level:
Adobe Creative Suite – Practitioner  
Design Validations - Expert  
Development Implementation - Expert  
Iterative Design - Expert  
User Experience Design - Advanced  
User Interface Design - Expert  
User-Centered Design – Expert 


This job is not covered by the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Required Certifications:

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We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

If you work or would be working in Colorado or outside of a Corporate location, please click here for information pertaining to compensation and benefits.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.