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Head of Experience Design

Merit America

Merit America

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Organization: Merit America

The American economy is broken. Today 53 million working adults–nearly half of the U.S. workforce–do not earn a living wage. And these talented workers have few options to advance: college is too long and expensive, full-time bootcamp programs don’t offer enough flexibility, and online courses don’t have the structure or support to translate learning into a new career. The result? Talented workers, disproportionately people of color and women, get stuck in low-wage roles with no way to build a better life for themselves and their families.
Merit America is a national nonprofit that creates pathways to family-sustaining careers for Americans without college degrees, stuck in low-wage work. Our fast, flexible solutions are built for working adults: we start by analyzing tens of millions of job postings to identify in-demand, high-paying tech careers, and then work with industry-recognized partners to train for these roles with part-time programs that combine flexible online learning with best-in-class coaching. Finally, we work with a broad constellation of local and national employers like JPMorgan Chase and Infosys to place learners into higher-earning, family-sustaining jobs, driving an average wage gain of $19k. Merit America is on a mission to build a scalable pathway for workers to join the middle class through merit, not money. We’re on track to generate $1B in wage gains by 2024.

About the Role:

The Head of Experience Design will develop, evangelize, and enable a “north star” learner experience for the organization and its training and job placement programs.You will lead a team of product and program designers to utilize human-centered design practices and build exceptional human-centered experiences. You will work cross-functionally with product development teams and program operations managers to align learner experience priorities and ensure that your product and program designers lead experience design execution of those priorities by delivering high-quality design artifacts. Your work will transform the experience that will scale to hundreds of thousands of learners at Merit America in the coming decade.

The Head of Experience Design is an exempt position and will report directly to Jen Mazzon and lead experience design across product and program teams at Merit America.

What You’ll be Doing:

The responsibilities of the Head of Experience Design will include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Develop innovative, “north star” experiences to delight learners, address their pain points, and achieve positive job placement outcomes in a fast-growing, rapidly-changing environment
  • Challenge the status quo and find new solutions to develop and test in collaboration with product / program designers and cross-functional teams.
  • Drive and evolve the definition of what great coaching looks like for our learners, guided by learner needs and preferences as well as quantitative results of coaching experiments.
  • Contribute to high-level strategic decisions and drive impact by advocating effectively for experience design initiatives and promoting a common language and set of experience design principles across the organization.


  • Build, coach, and mentor a high-performing product and program design team that spans interaction, visual, curriculum, coaching / service design, and user research functions.
  • Align and coordinate with Program operations on the implementation of the experience design strategy and development plan for current and new career tracks, including product and program experiments and launches.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the problems that we need to solve through feedback, research and deep exploration of needs and pain points.
  • Champion the experience design process and empower your team to deliver high-quality designs, including concept presentations, user flows, service and interaction designs, information architecture, wireframes, prototypes and content creation.
  • Solve problems and manage input from multiple stakeholders, constantly proposing solutions when there is uncertainty and facilitating decision-making


  • Be the primary voice for experience design at Merit America by sharing work, evangelizing results, and articulating vision.
  • Use visual storytelling to promote empathy, understanding and advocacy for learners and coaches
  • Foster a team culture of giving and soliciting feedback to raise our bar for high-quality experience design continually

What Makes a Successful Candidate:

We know that women and people of color are often less likely to apply to a position if they don’t match 100% of the job qualifications. Don’t let that be the reason you miss out on this opportunity! We encourage you to apply if you can demonstrate many of these skills and competencies. Below are the skills that are relevant for thriving in this role:

Must haves:

  • Deep love of and expertise in human-centered experience design craft and quality.
  • Excellent communication, coaching, and storytelling skills.
  • Strong data skills; comfortable using data to inform product and program design decisions
  • Experience driving transformation, change and process improvement through people, process, digital product experience, and service delivery.
  • Track record of effectively building cross-functional relationships and establishing trust, respect, and competence for experience design.
  • Compelling demonstration of having produced and helped others produce innovative, engaging, and impactful product and program experiences.
  • Successfully combined a considered experience design process with agile development practices and experimentation.
  • Experienced as an individual contributor designer and as a people manager of designers, directly driving design strategies and delivery by a design team.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, and ability to form trust-based relationships with learners, coaches, and other stakeholders
  • Sense of deep personal responsibility for our collective success
  • Commitment to DEIJ
  • Be energized by our organizational mission and impact
  • Proven history of living within our values

Nice to haves:

  • Dedication to driving diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills
  • Expert people leader, mentor, and hiring manager
  • Exceptional track record of creating fully online learning experiences for underrepresented groups with measurable, meaningful learning outcomes
  • Deep knowledge of effective staff enablement strategies, coaching & career services,
  • training and development and organization systems building
  • Passion for our learners and empowering underrepresented adults through education

Other Logistics

  • This position is full time: 4-day work week (Fridays are an operating day if there is a holiday closure during the week)
  • Location: Remote
  • Salary : $177,200 - $177,200

Our goal is to have competitive and equitable compensation. We have a market-based compensation approach which means that we benchmark each role from reputable data sources. We compare our benchmarks against similarly sized non-profit organizations with comparable annual budgets and geographical areas. We pay the same rate for the same roles and adjust to comply with statutory mandates.

We take care of our employees by providing the following perks and benefits:

  • 4-day work week (Fridays are an operating day if there is a holiday closure during the week)
  • Medical, Dental and Vision insurance (100% Paid Employee Only Coverage)
  • Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account
  • Dependent care Flexible Spending Account
  • Health Reimbursement Account fully funded by Merit
  • Education reimbursement & personal development stipend
  • Short and long-term disability
  • Unlimited vacation (after a 90-day introductory period)
  • Paid Parental Leave and Adoption benefits (after 1 year of employment)
  • 10 federally recognized holidays
  • 1 week office closure in July (week of July 4th)
  • 2 week holiday office closure in December/January
  • 401(k) retirement plan with automatic Merit contribution
  • Employee Assistance Program | Talkspace | Sanvello
  • Discount perks at work program
  • Phone/technology stipend
  • Home office setup stipend

Remote Work & Sponsorship

Candidates must reside within the 50 states or District of Columbia and have full authorization to work in the 50 U.S. states & the District of Columbia (international work abroad, including the U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and other islands are excluded). In addition, Merit America doesn't offer employment visa sponsorship.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Building an inclusive, high-performing team that is diverse across lines of personal identity is integral to our success and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

This means we do not discriminate against any job applicant or employee because of their race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This applies to all terms and conditions of employment.

We actively strive and evolve to develop and maintain workspaces that are fully inclusive. We encourage candidates from underrepresented groups to apply.

Still excited about our work? You can learn more about our work in this video we made with our founding partner, Google.

E-Verify Statement

This employer participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S. If E-Verify cannot confirm that you are authorized to work, this employer is required to give you written instructions and an opportunity to contact Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) so you can begin to resolve the issue before the employer can take any action against you, including terminating your employment. Employers can only use E-Verify once you have accepted a job offer and completed the I-9 Form.