Since I started Next Step in 2004, we’ve helped over 400 clients crystalize their messaging and expand their customer base. As Next Step scales, I’ve gotten insight into a number of verticals. I credit this ability to “get” new cultures to a childhood spent straddling several very different worlds- I attended schools both in the US and in Iran, graduated with an engineering degree from UC Berkeley, then moved on to founding a successful behavioral design agency.
Whatever culture or industry, human behavior fascinates me. Though consumers may seem fickle and irrational, the emerging study of Behavioral Science- how people really make decisions- shows that there are actually patterns in play. We incorporate these insights into your marketing & growth initiatives. We use science to help you influence behavior in a measurable way.
With all this research at our disposal, people are sometimes surprised that I won’t recommend a strategy until we’ve thoroughly examined both your company’s passion and your target audience’s hesitations. It’s a step we won’t ever skip. Deeply understanding your market helps us determine which Behavioral Science interventions would best remove friction.
We put a lot of thought into making things feel intuitive for your audience; we want to make it feel that much easier for them to take the next step.
I love creating. It’s magical to bring a designer’s idea to life. There’s an idea and an empty screen. You add HTML, sprinkle in some jQuery and Poof! it’s alive and responsive. If I weren’t a developer, I’d be a physicist, exploring the mysteries of our expanding, wonderful universe.
Here at Next Step, I lead the development of large, complex projects. No matter how aggressive the time frame, I take pleasure in synching all the details that make my dev mirror the design.
I have a BS in computer science & multimedia engineering from La Salle School of Engineering in Spain, my native country. I’ve been doing development work for 10+ years and know how important it is to build things the right way, the first time. When you begin coding by first considering the ultimate usability of the site, it makes everything easier for the client.
I’m one of triplets. I speak Catalan with my family and English or Spanish with everyone else. In Barcelona I trained clients how to use their new site in Spanish, but in the States, unless you request otherwise, we’ll probably do it in English.
I love it when the lightbulb goes off for our clients- when they see how select Behavioral Science techniques helped them reach their goals. It’s not magic, but it sure feels like it. Because we measure our own success on the success of our clients, we tend to get just as excited by measurable impact as you do.
I’m here to make sure everything runs smoothly. I help the team and the clients stay on track: on paper a single missed deadline doesn’t look like a big deal, but minor delays can cause a chain reaction. Dominoes are only fun on the weekend. That’s why I track timelines, milestones and ensure that the workflow is constantly in beautiful motion. You can also expect check-ins from me to answer any questions about your account and to see how you’re enjoying the Next Step experience.
It’s exciting to help our team and ambitions grow, especially since I’m responsible for bringing on the best in class creative team and introducing operational initiatives (all based on Behavioral Science, naturally!) that help them do their best work.
Even as I constantly fine-tune our processes, I remember that it’s people who are at the heart of all success, not the latest software. Each year my heart grows a little larger, expanded by pride from our clients’ success, whether that’s helping an agency house more low income families or getting more people happy to use AI for their banking.
As a behavioral scientist on the team, I conduct research for our clients and then use the insights we uncover to inform the design of products, the delivery of marketing materials, and overall business strategy.
I’ve always been fascinated by humans and how they think and act. My work at Next Step allows me to chase that interest while also making meaningful contributions to the work of businesses and other organizations.
Understanding how people are influenced by the underlying psychological, environmental, and social contexts is essential for developing effective and useful products. This perspective is often overlooked in traditional user research and product development, but at Next Step, it’s our key focus.
I earned a masters degree in Behaviour Change at UCL and worked at several top behavioral science-focused organizations, including the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University and BeHive Consulting in Budapest, Hungary.
This background means I’m able to conduct academically rigorous research as well as to implement real-world applied research and design in the fast-paced environments in which our clients operate.
When not solving fascinating behavioral problems, you can find me playing ultimate frisbee or discussing behavioral science on my YouTube channel Behavioral Science Toolkit.
Since joining Next Step in 2007, I’ve asked hundreds of pointed questions. During our workshops you’ll discover that I’ve got the writer’s curse/blessing of inexhaustible curiosity. Fidget if you must, but this probing is essential. I won’t let you settle for making any unsubstantiated claims.
This obsession with “Why? How? Prove it!” runs back to my days as a journalist. I’ve written for numerous print and online publications, winning regional and national awards along the way, including recognition by Writer’s Digest, for a piece submitted among 19,000 entries.
My editorial experience also helps me when conducting your client interviews. I like to capture the exact way your users describe their concerns and your solution. Why? Studies in Social Proof show that people are much more influenced by people who share similar qualities. In crafting copy that resonates, each word matters more than ever.
Simply, this is a dream job for me. Working with verbs. Exploring Big Ideas. Getting to the core of what really matters and ensuring that the connection we spark with your audience is a genuine one.
As Project Manager, I get to oversee our brilliant research team and help our scientists translate their work into information our clients can use to improve their business practices. I love helping people translate their knowledge into actionable outcomes for people, and, as any Project Manager worth her salt, I adore creating consistent processes to get those things done.
Before Next Step, I held a unique portfolio of roles: I worked as a Project Manager at an IT company, was an Instructional Systems Designer for the U.S. Air Force, and spent a decade working in Higher Education Administration, both an academic advisor and Assistant Director.
In each of these roles, the common thread was bridging the communication gap between varying departments, organizing and implementing processes, and honing in on professional development and internal learning.
When not working with scientists, clients, or creatives, I’m a tourist in my new home town. I’ve traveled to 17 countries but now I’m slowly exploring Boston, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Random fact: Did you know that when a person receives a kidney, unless their current kidneys are actively hurting them, they just leave the two old ones in? I gave my brother one of my kidneys, which means that I have one and he has three, haha.
I love the fusion of beauty and functionality. My flavor has always been clean and to the point, but since I joined Next Step in 2011, I’ve also really started to enjoy the iterative process. It fuels better ideas. In the beginning stages, you have to be willing to explore. By creating and eliminating ideas that don’t work, you get closer to a more meaningful solution.
It seems obvious to say, but since it keeps cropping up in recent Behavioral Science research, I’ll repeat the finding anyway: “as humans we gravitate toward beauty.” Yep. Fine design isn’t just easy on the eyes, tons of studies show that it literally makes it easier for people to process information.
I love that nothing here is random. Everything you put into (or leave out of) a design influences the user experience, from the fonts that announce your deepest attitude to the emotions triggered by a certain color or the strategic use of white space coupled with splashes of (a carefully chosen) color.
When I’m not crafting design or being volunteered by Shirin to share with the team some newly learned psychology of design tip, I’m looking up or down at things with my camera. It’s an incredible feeling to discover beauty in unlikely places, especially when it’s the same place you’ve looked at day after day. I like making familiar things feel special.
As managing partner at Next Step, I ensure each project delivers results. This starts with a thorough discovery and continues with a seamless transition to the strategic, scientific and creative teams working on the account. My goal is continually creating success based on shared expectations and sublime execution.
Before joining Next Step, my career included agency work with a strong focus on digital marketing, paid media and design. My client roster included renowned brands like Nike, Smartwool, Vail Resorts, Finance of America, and many other household names.
When I look back at my proudest moments, I think of my time as Managing Director at Human Design. I transformed the agency from a design and video-centric entity into a full-service agency, developing strong disciplines in Strategy, Design, and Activation. I’m proud of the dynamic team I built and loved seeing the impact we made on our clients' lives and businesses.
Outside of work, you'll find me and my husband either wilderness hiking or knee deep in a home renovation project. Embracing nature's wonders as well as creative projects brings us joy, but our dogs usually just want us to stick to the outdoor types of adventures.
I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior. At Next Step you’ll find me managing ongoing marketing accounts and helping run our day to day operations. Marketers need to understand what drives people to make decisions and use that insight to connect better.
Before becoming a part of the Next Step team, I worked as a Project Coordinator at Southeastern Grocers. I managed multiple customer facing programs and projects. During my time there, I coordinated all the marketing support for the e-commerce delivery and pickup launch. With experience managing complex projects, I love now being in a client-facing role.
As a first generation immigrant, I’m proud to be the first in my family to receive a college education. I obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Central Florida.
People are surprised to discover how much I know about horses. I lived on a horse farm in Wellington, FL for 15 years. My dad is a professional horse trainer so my life heavily revolved around horses. When I go home for the holidays, one of our favorite dinner time talks is debating which animal is more interesting / predictable.
I love timeless images. I also love my two young kids, all fine foodie experiences -- even better if it’s from a truck -- and using design to make complex ideas more accessible. I especially love the days when all of these things happen at once.
They tell me I’ve been with Next Step since 2004. I’m better at creating visuals than keeping track of the years, so I’ll go with that. Over a decade.
In 2000 I graduated magna cum laude from SFSU with a degree in Cinema and an emphasis in Animation. I’ve helped develop interactive multi-screen software and taught students in Tokyo how to use it. I’ve worked at PayPal and have taught animation at schools throughout the Bay. I’ve also taught my daughter how to crack the sugary crust of a crème brûlée and I know how to hail a cab in Bangkok.
I use Photoshop and Illustrator to create my designs and the internet to get inspiration. My other favorite tools include hand-drawn and digital illustrations.
As a Senior Designer, my role is to help establish the look and feel of a company. We make sure the user gets a consistent brand experience across every page, product, and messaging. But a Senior Designer working with a team of Behavioral Scientists gets to take design and strategy one step further. I’m thrilled that I get to manifest different Behavioral Science theories in design and layout.
Prior to joining Next Step, I worked at a Fortune 500 company in a UI role where I helped lead the visual design updates of two of their legacy products. Before that, I led the creative teams at multiple agencies so I’m no stranger to juggling clients with various needs.
I specialize in digital design, but I also enjoy branding and advertising. Most companies need a little of everything. The more we control all of these assets, the better brand consistency will be.
I live near the mountains, so every weekend my husband and I find a way to get outside. An ideal day involves a lake, a kayak, and a hammock with a good book.
You can’t tell from our Zoom meetings, but if we ever meet in person you may be surprised that I’m 5’10” and with boots I’m usually clocking in at 6’.
Oh, and I’m a powerlifter. My goal this year is to try an actual powerlifting competition and see how I stack up.
I consult the agency about operations, lead strategy sessions and develop partnerships with other companies that recognize the value of having Behavioral Science embedded into design and marketing. I’m a huge believer in Behavioral Science. I’ve seen the positive impact its use has on companies and individuals.
I’m founder and CEO of Amplify Health, a company that uses a combination of analytics and Behavioral Science to help Fortune 500 customers such as The Boeing Company and Ford Motor Company keep their high risk, complex needs employees healthy and out of the hospital.
Another example of the power of Behavioral Science comes from REM Medical, a company I founded to help patients overcome sleep apnea. By using Behavioral Science techniques, our adherence rate was 79%, nearly double the industry average.
Over the years, I’ve led hundreds of operational meetings and formed companies that are far larger and louder than Next Step. But there’s something very exciting about working with a small, agile firm that’s determined to expand and apply its expertise in Behavioral Science in order to help clients achieve a bigger, more positive impact. This focus on innovation, continual learning and continual improvement sets us all up for an exciting future.
When I'm not busy with Next Step, you'll likely find me building an interactive treat dispenser for our Chief Happiness Officer or taking the RV out for another extreme adventure in the wilderness.
I graduated top of my litter, plucked from a cardboard box of 7 wriggling brothers. As a Labradoodle, I don’t shed, but, boy, do I frolic. Every day I wake up happy and curious and ready to sniff. I’m psyched that when Shirin walks me to our office in SOMA there are almost as many intriguing smells as back on the ranch.
As Chief Happiness Officer, I’m in charge of adoring people and getting them to realize how awesome each moment is. I love this role. I love these people. I love your shoes. Actually, I totally love everything: like how my toenails click as I trot across the floor, the cheering that erupts whenever I “sit” on command, the crumbs that Molly drops when she eats at her desk, and especially that cute border collie who comes in on Tuesdays.
Life is good. If I’m not under the desk chewing my organic, fair-trade buffalo chewy stick, I’m trying to get Pete to open the app that locates the nearest squirrel.
I’m here to make life easier. Whenever I’m updating reports or scheduling meetings with clients or candidates, I know that helping the team helps the business run.
What first attracted me to Next Step is that they combine science, creativity, and psychology. Now that I’m here, I also love that Next Step values processes, structure, and order. All these processes are connected and doing them efficiently helps the company grow and keeps everyone happy.
We’re all on so many time zones, but we make it work. I start work super early because even though the sun is just starting to rise here in Guatemala, for other’s it’s almost noon or later.
Before joining Next Step, I studied Clinical Psychology and worked with children. I love that I’m able to do one of the things that I’m most passionate about: helping people while improving my communication, accounting, and organization skills.
My native language is Spanish but I studied in a Bilingual School and learned English. I also speak Asana and every other productivity platform we use.
I am an enthusiastic and confident person who finds nothing more satisfying than checking things off my to-do list.
I’ve worked with both small and large companies and learned that the fast-paced environment that comes with smaller teams is where I thrive. With smaller teams, people are more likely to be nimble and make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and it's really exciting to be part of that energy.
Before coming to Next Step, I managed PR efforts for the startup Instamotor. After forming the right relationships, I secured media coverage in various publications such as Forbes, USA Today, The Washington Post, Consumer Reports, TIME, and more. It was gratifying to up their media presence and to help position the executive team as thought leaders in the automotive industry.
Here at Next Step, I run the agency’s day-to-day administrative operations so the team can focus on what’s most important - our clients. I also work closely with Shirin, maintaining order so she can do her magic as agency President.
I grew up in a small town - Dover, Ohio - and would get stars in my eyes when I’d hear about big city life. At an early age I made it my goal to move to a city and in June of 2012 I bought a one way ticket to San Francisco. Today I call this enchanting city my home and am still proud of myself for taking the leap.
I am a behavioral scientist with a passion for taking research out of the lab and letting it loose in the real world. I’ve spent the last 7 years trying to understand how people actually make decisions and then using that knowledge to help people live healthier, wealthier, and more environmentally friendly lives.
My roots are in academic research. Before working with Next Step, I was an applied researcher at the Common Cents Lab. There I used behavioral economics to help low and middle-income families make better financial decisions. I received my Master’s Degree from the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystems Science and Policy in 2016. My research at UM focused on how scarcity changes the way low-income individuals evaluate risk and uncertainty.
I also spent time conducting research on moral decision making at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions and the Higgins Lab at Columbia University.
When not working, I still like to do research! I have worked with the Reducetarian Foundation to help encourage people to eat less meat and The Think Tank to help accelerate diverse participation in STEM.
People are pretty surprised that I have a law degree. I run SEO and digital marketing campaigns with Patrick Holt, but at one time, I was on track to become a corporate lawyer.
After I got my JD/MBA at Ohio State University, I went into tech and focused on product management/growth for startups. I’ve helped launch over 15 tech startups now; most of which still exist today.
In addition to mountaineering and national parks, I’m passionate about data-driven product growth. I use my expertise to help companies scale products in new markets. At Next Step, I assess your digital marketing and then find measurable ways to make sure you meet your growth initiatives. With startups in particular it’s fun to start with high impact wins. That helps fuel the momentum for the longer-term initiatives.
My favorite tools are the SEO Content & Keyword Audit. I obviously didn’t create this audit, but I have my own way of doing it that seems to work really well. Another personal favorite tool is our Hot Spot. It gives us WiFi access anywhere so we can run campaigns even when the mountains call to us.
Formally trained as a behavioral scientist and consumer psychologist, I know that effective design starts and ends with understanding users and nudging them in the right direction. Here at Next Step, you’ll meet me as I bring my user-centered perspective and mixed-methods expertise to the research process.
I received my PhD in marketing from the University of Washington in 2019, where I investigated how social motivations influence how we perceive brand language and product design. I value research that can meaningfully empower people to make decisions that improve their well-being. I joined Next Step because it’s rare to find an agency that can seamlessly juggle business, science, and creative—it’s even rarer to find one that also prioritizes social good.
I think Willem de Kooning put it best: “I have to change to stay the same,” with the implication that you can’t rest on any laurels if you want to stay authentic and engaged. I currently straddle three worlds: agency, tech, and academia. In addition to my work at Next Step, I head research at an early-stage health and wellness start-up. I also occasionally teach digital marketing to undergraduates and publish in peer-reviewed journals.
When I’m not uncovering behavioral insights, you can find me cooking and reading good food writing. Let’s chat about Kansas City BBQ, hong shao rou, and hunting squirrels as a sustainable source of meat.
Whenever you design anything, you need to start with empathy. That sounds pretty simple, but it takes quite a bit of effort to put aside your own ideas and absorb the thoughts and needs of others. This is why I love design-thinking, you’re building a real connection. By putting real human needs at the start of all we do, we’re creating something that makes people’s lives better.
At Next Step I design websites, branding, and manage client support. I love being in a role that includes both design & development because I can be involved in creating the full experience for your users. This is the perfect job for me because I love technology just about as much as I love psychology. I’m currently geeking out over Sketch and using it to animate designs so you can see how everything will function before it goes live. Whether it’s the latest tech or implementing another Behavioral Science intervention, I’ve always loved learning. My education includes an AA in Web Design and Development and a BA from UC Santa Barbara, where I double majored in Sociology & Film and Media Studies.
People are often surprised to discover that I once spent about six months living in a tent and walking 15 miles a day on the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. I still remember crying and shouting for joy high on a mountain when I found an apple in my backpack that I didn’t realize was there. It’s the little things in life.
I have always been a geek for human behavior. Since my high school Psychology class, I have been obsessed with the “why” behind decisions, patterns, and reactions. This curiosity for how people tick drives a lot of my work and helps me effectively navigate a multitude of personalities.
If you’ve met me, you’ve probably seen (and admired!) my color-coded calendar and my original system for labeling documents. Like any good project manager, I am a planner, an organizer, and a perfectionist.
After graduating from William & Mary with a B.S. in Psychology and Organizational Leadership, I worked closely with various government agencies through a boutique management consulting firm. I helped manage a multi-year implementation project with the U.S. Marine Corps, conducted rigorous contracting and vendor research for the Environmental Protection Agency, and supported a communications initiative at the Economic Development Administration.
I’m thrilled to work with Next Step and put my passion for psychology, complex communication, and management skills to good use. I’ve always pursued mission-driven work and am excited to continue making a difference in the lives of clients and to thrive alongside a creative and intentional team.
When I’m not working, I love exploring new restaurants and parks around my home in Manhattan. On the weekends, I’m usually out trying new corner cafes, running along the Hudson, or enjoying a concert downtown. If you see me jogging by, stop me and say Hi. I’m a secret extrovert, so I won’t really mind the interruption.
Like everyone who finds a work home here at Next Step, I’ve always been fascinated by the human mind and why we do the things we do. I have a master’s degree in Psychology from Catholic University of America and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from George Mason University.
My research career started in the academic/scientific sector where I gained an appreciation for data driven and behavioral insights. So when I moved to the private sector, I found myself missing the emphasis on behavioral research. That’s why Next Step is such an amazing fit for me: we’ve developed a hybrid that uses both types of insights. Most importantly, our UX Research keeps the human front and center.
By now I’ve been doing mixed methods research for over a decade within different sectors. I love trying to solve problems; each project feels like completing a logic puzzle, and anyone who’s ever finished a NY Times crossword puzzle knows: the more difficult to start, the more satisfying to finish.
When I look at my career highlights, I’m obviously proud of all the solutions and tools my teams and I have optimized through research. But the accomplishment I’m probably most proud of was not even a performance-based achievement: it was being chosen for a Best Buddies award. It feels nice knowing that others find you friendly and welcoming.
So when you meet me working on your account, I’ll be giving guidance on how to best optimize the user experience, but I’ll also be genuinely curious how you’re doing today.
When I’m not working, somehow I’m still eagerly solving puzzles. My friends and I enjoy really intricate board games.
At Next Step, I brainstorm with the other Behavioral Scientists and advise clients on the newest trends and emerging research. I check for biases, challenge our assumptions, and trigger new ways of thinking so companies get the best results possible.
People think of scientists as smart and serious -which we are- but they may be surprised by how much we enjoy interactions with clever people. At Next Step I’m constantly presented with a flow of new, time-limited challenges. It’s almost like a Sudoku puzzle, except it generates behavioral change and real-world results.
I’m getting my PhD student in Cognitive Science at Lund University, Sweden and hold both an MA in Cognitive Science from Lund University as well as an MS in Applied Cognitive Psychology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
When not working with Next Step, I teach at Copenhagen Business School and hold workshops for private and public organizations on behavioral design. I recently worked in South Africa with a behavioral change agency working with both NGOs, Governmental units, and private organizations doing behavioral design for good. I have been involved in many projects, including projects aiming at reducing drunk driving, reducing domestic violence, increasing economic literacy, and increasing early childhood development.
My calendar is a colorful puzzle of planned time. This compartmentalisation allows me to do all the things I find fun and interesting, without juggling too many balls at once. When I work on one thing, I only care about that one thing. So I don’t have many balls in the air simultaneously. I only have one.
As the team’s UX researcher, I focus on both quantitative and qualitative research. Because we improve user experience for our clients’ products and services, the research process requires a combination of talking to people personally and doing experiments at scale. I love that we’re using human research to advocate for the user in the design process, integrating Behavioral Science directly into design rather than as an afterthought. Humans are the most essential part of doing user research, and we cannot keep them out of the equation.
I have a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology with a Specialization in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Before this, I worked as a human factors and UX researcher for the military on prototype rotorcraft (a fancy word for helicopter) systems.
During a previous phase of my life, I worked in a Montessori school, something that still contributes to my research work today. With kids, you have to learn how to break down concepts into really basic blocks of knowledge, and that translates really well into explaining big concepts to others with no real background. Also with kids you have to work really hard to understand what problems they’re having (aka a kid comes up to you upset and it takes about 5 minutes to get to what happened) so you have a lot of practice getting to the root of an issue. Different ages, similar approach.
When not working, I bake. A lot. Luckily for me and everyone else, I always share the goodies with my husband and friends over board games. But I’m really looking forward to having in-person events back on the table, so I can get back to my real passion: teaching Lindy Hop, the world’s greatest type of swing dance.
I handle client support. When you reach out to make changes to your site, I’m the one on the other end of that email. I love helping solve issues and it’s great being at this intersection of creative and technical work.
I was first attracted to Next Step because of the team atmosphere. Everyone seemed very close knit, genuine and caring.
I graduated with honors from SUNY Hudson Valley CC with a degree in Web Development / Programming and started my career in Tech as a CAD Designer / Drafter and Technical Illustrator. One of my favorite projects was working with Boeing on updating their Cockpit technical manuals for the F15-F16 fighter jets for different militaries around the world.
I’ve got some feisty rescue animals running around my home, a fantastic playlist of classic funk playing in the background, and a growing collection of pretty sweet dad shoes. If you ever want to make my day, send me a video of a baby monkey. I’ll happily return the favor.