WILD Portraits: Bev Maeda

WILD Programming Lead Bev Maeda brings deep experience to her current role as Head of Content Design at YouTube. For over two decades, she’s led UX content design across tech businesses, where her commitment to creating meaningful connections within teams and across audiences has shined. Similarly we’ve seen her lead with empathy and mentorship in the community events and relationships she’s built as WILD Programming Lead, Volunteer. In this discussion, Bev shares her passion for inclusivity, craft, and K-dramas!


How did you get where you are in your career?

Like many content designers, I fell into this profession by accident. I started my career as a journalist, where I honed my writing, communication, and leadership skills before moving into tech. Throughout my 25+-year career, I've worn many hats. I started as a product writer, then moved into management leading multidisciplinary teams – content design, marketing copywriting, UXD, and localization. I’ve been fortunate to have worked at some of the top tech companies such as Walmart, PayPal, LinkedIn, Spotify, and YouTube, where I am currently. Most of these opportunities came about through my professional connections and referrals. I moved into management early in my career and found my passion building strong and cohesive teams and uniting people around an exciting, aspirational vision.


What’s one thing you wish you had known as a young creative professional?

That my voice is important and I’ve earned a seat at the table to share my perspectives and ideas. For years, I had imposter syndrome so I didn't have the confidence to speak up and be heard. I admired women leaders who were bold and daring and wondered how they acquired these skills. Through observation, mentorships, and coaching, I learned that in order to be courageous, I needed to be comfortable in my own skin and be willing to experience some discomfort through vulnerability and failure. If I wanted to be innovative, creative, and a risk-taker, I couldn’t always play it safe.


What initially drew you to the WILD group?

I was recruited by my former manager at LinkedIn, who introduced me to the Women in Leadership & Design Board. WILD's mission and values are aligned with mine so I was excited to join!


What’s the definition of leadership to you?

Leadership to me is about inspiring and empowering others, building trust so that your team feels safe, creating an inclusive culture where everyone has a voice, and managing with empathy and selflessness.


What is your view on the state of design leadership today?

We've come a long way and proven our impact to the business, but many of the top leadership roles are still dominated by people who don’t look like us so there's much more work to do to create opportunities for a diverse leadership pool.


From your perspective, what is the power of design?

To simplify people's lives and be a catalyst for change.


Words you live by:

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou


Sh*t you love!

Music, art, fashion, and K-dramas!


Follow Bev on LinkedIn to stay connected through her professional journey.


As Women in Leadership & Design (WILD) redefines paradigms of design leadership, we elevate the perspectives of the creative leaders in our midst. “WILD Portraits” shares the distinct stories of Bay Area women and non-binary design leaders, highlighting each individual’s unique path and point of view. Together, these profiles provide a sketch of the state of design leadership and how it’s evolving.