March 17th

VMWare’s Jehad Affoneh: Be a business leader, not a design leader

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Jehad Affoneh

Jehad Affoneh

Senior Director, Head of Design at VMWare
About The Episode

“I’m not a design leader, I’m a business leader.” It’s quotes like this, from VMWare’s Head of Design Jehad Affoneh, that are one of many reasons why we love the insights and tactics that he has shared over the course of our conversations. 

In this discussion, we speak with Jehad about how he measures the impact of design, and aligns design goals with engineering goals. We learn why he thinks it’s important to lead with context, and how he goes about ensuring that the diverse voices on his team are heard.


  • What kinds of OKRs Jehad uses to align design goals with engineering goals.
  • What Jehad learned by running an internal conference that brought all designers together with executive leadership.
  • Tactics for ensuring that diverse voices of your team are heard in meetings and workshops.


Jehad Affoneh is the Senior Director, Head of Design at VMWare. He’s an experienced design and product leader, building and growing an amazing design and research team at VMware and transforming the culture of VMware’s user experience. Jehad drives innovation by focusing on the end user experience first and working within strong cross-functional teams.

Meet Your Hosts

Aarron Walter
VP of Design Education

Aarron Walter is Director of Product on the COVID Response team at Resolve to Save Lives. Previously, he was VP of Design Education at InVision, and founded the UX practice at Mailchimp where he helped grow the product from a few thousand users to more than 10 million. He’s the author of a number of books, the latest of which is a second edition of Designing for Emotion. Aarron’s design guidance has helped the White House, the US Department of State, and dozens of major corporations, startups, and venture capital firms.

You can find Aarron on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Eli Woolery
Director of Design Education

Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he has worked with companies ranging from startups (his own and others) to Fortune 500 companies.

In addition to his background in product and industrial design, he has been a professional photographer and filmmaker. He teaches the senior capstone class Implementation to undergraduate Product Designers at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Twitter and Medium.

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Uncover insights from the world’s top designers and creatives

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