Worth it? Design Dept.’s Resilient Leadership Workshop

Shara Rosenbalm
3 min readDec 3, 2020


A peek inside Mia Blume’s 4-hour workshop

If you haven’t guessed by now, I do a lot of professional development. Maybe too much…. look, that’s a future Medium article. For now, I’ll stick to the “script” and share a little about Design Dept.’s Resilient Leadership Workshop.

What/Who is Design Dept.?

I stumbled across this gem over the summer in my search for career coaching. I scoured the web, looking for a coach who specialized in design. Having to teach someone the ins and outs of product design is something I don’t feel like doing. Call me lazy. It’s fine.

Design Dept. offers leadership coaching and delivering learning experiences via workshops and team training. Individual coaching is on my wishlist for future investment. Founded in 2016 by Mia Blume, a former design leader at Pinterest, Square, and IDEO, Design Dept. is an attractive resource to anyone looking to develop as a design leader. Check out her Medium articles. She. Drops. Gems. I’m seriously addicted.

Naturally, I dove in. I searched the available workshops and a scholarship opportunity for Resilience Leadership landed in my inbox. I applied and voila! I’m in.

Pro tip: If you see a training or conference opportunity, find out if they offer scholarships, especially if you are part of any underrepresented group.

With no more room in my budget and the tightened purse strings at work, I am beyond grateful for the scholarship. Thank you Design Dept.!

Pro tip: If a learning opportunity is out of your budget, connect with the organizers! I have my eye on Design Leadership Fundamentals, but the cost is a blocker at the moment. Mia personally responded to my inquiry about payment options and I’m 100% doing it next round.

Workshop Details

I love a good workshop and this one has all the makings of a standout experience.

Here are a few deets:

  • 4-hour workshop facilitated on Zoom
  • Roughly 30 diverse 30 attendees
  • Received a lovely printed workbook in the mail
  • The structure was a combination of lecture, individual and group work, and group discussion
  • Design Dept. invited us to their Slack workspace

Learning Objectives

So, what can you expect to come away with after a workshop like this? They spell it out for us here:

  • Why resilience matters as a leader
  • How our resilience is impacted in crisis
  • Understand the difference between grit and resilience
  • Learn a four-part framework for building resilience for individuals and teams
  • Explore specific ways to build resilience practices for your team

My takeaways

With respect to the content, I’m not going to speak divulge specifics on the content. BUT here are my thoughts:

  • Resilience matters for leaders because it affects how you show up for yourself and your team — If you don’t design how you show up and work, it will be designed for you.
  • Resilience isn’t the same as grit — it’s the ability to ride the highs and lows, a lot like waves of change.
  • Leaders can’t give what they don’t have — resilience requires you to be self-aware. If your ‘tank’ is empty, how can you support your team’s resilience?
  • There’s a connection between self-awareness, resilience, and burnout. There are signs leading to burnout. If you aren’t aware enough to recognize them, you’re depleting your ability to have resilience when you and your team will need it the most.
  • The four-part framework is 💰. I now have actionable steps to take back to the team and work tools I can employ individually.

So, worth it or no? YES! Definitely worth the investment. I feel empowered, energized coming out of the workshop. It’s timely as well. Being the end of the year and reflecting how everything has transpired in all the areas of my professional and personal life. Mia provided leadership essentials I‘m bringing into my 2021 leadership journey.

Interested? Sign up for their February 4th workshop here. Be sure to check out the other workshops they offer. As Drake once said, “You can thank me now!” You’re welcome. 😝

Please note: I was not asked by Design Dept. or Mia Blume to write this article. These thoughts and opinions are my own. Promise!



Shara Rosenbalm

Digital product designer at Dialexa, advocate for BIPOC, speaker, and hustler.