Donna Lichaw, MFA, CPC, ACC

“People don’t care about your product or brand. They care about themselves. That’s something that you can and should embrace when you build products.”

That’s one of the most quoted lines from my bestselling book, The User’s Journey. I wrote it about customers. At the time, I was helping companies build successful digital products and services by thinking about their users’ stories. More than pixels or features, building something successful involved empowering customers to become heroes of their own story. Together, my clients and I thought through customers’ personal dragons—and how products could become the swords to slay them.

Then something started happening. As we discussed narratives, my clients kept asking, “What about me? What about my story?”

It hit me: Companies are only successful when the people who run them are successful. Whether they are executives, managers, or entrepreneurial teams of one, leaders need to be the heroes of their own stories. They need swords to slay their own dragons.

Now, instead of products, I build successful people

My background

  • I’ve spent 20 years in tech, working with leaders and innovators at some of the most successful startups, tech companies out there including Google, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Logitech, Bloomberg, BMW, Trello, and trailblazing nonprofits like WNYC/NY Public Radio, and The Central Park Conservancy.

  • Before that, I refined my talent for storytelling and narrative development as an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

  • I’ve taught courses at some of the best design and technology programs in the world at The School of Visual Arts, Parsons School for Design, New York University, and Northwestern University.

My education

  • I have an MFA in Radio, TV, & Film from Northwestern University, a BA in Film and Video Studies from The University of Michigan, and a Certificate in Multimedia Production from NYU.

  • I’m a certified professional coach through the Gestalt Center in Cape Cod and the International Coaching Federation.

What's up with the socks and superheroes?

  • I like to wear bright, wacky, outrageous socks. They make me and everyone around me smile.

  • I like to doodle. I'm a visual person. So are my clients. I spent the last year learning how to draw so that I could have another way to communicate with and workshop with clients. The illustrations on this website come from that work.

  • My dog, my niece, and my son (all pictured below) inspire me to inspire my clients. They embody what my clients feel when working with me. They know no bounds, kick ass, and accomplish incredible things. They and my clients are my superheroes.