Meet Rachel: From Business Development to VP of Creative Services at McVeigh Global

Rachel leads a team of Creative Directors, Art Directors, and Graphic Designers on designing in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.

Team Designlab
Team Designlab
May 5, 2021
Min Read

For Rachel Bandarenko, studying UX Design was less about switching careers and more about enhancing her skills in the industry to expand and elevate her career path.

Working as a Business Development Director in the live events industry, Rachel knew she was good at selling, but she was burnt out. 

“I wanted to make a change. I love the meetings and events industry, so I didn’t want to get out—I wanted to transition to another role, one that was more creative and strategic. The combination of Designlab’s Design 101 course and UX Academy program provided me with the skills I needed to make that change,” says Rachel.

UX Design for Live Events

Rachel is now the Vice President of Creative Services at McVeigh Global Meetings and Events (MGME), and her department operates as a full-service creative production agency. She leads a creative team consisting of Creative Directors, Art Directors, and Graphic Designers; and on the production side, a team of Live and Virtual Event Producers, Technical Directors, and support staff.

While Rachel is not in the UX design industry in the traditional sense, she is designing user experiences—or rather, attendee experiences. Rachel’s team does research, persona creation, empathy mapping, user testing, building, and iterating to create engaging events and experiences. In today’s world of virtual events these designs live online, but once in-person events return these designs will come to life in the analog world.

At MGME Rachel and her team are on the leading edge of virtual meetings, and are currently creating engaging hybrid meetings for their clients as companies begin to dip their toes back into meeting in-person. 

"Designing hybrid events is a lot of fun, but can be very challenging as well. A designer needs to create two experiences that seamlessly function as one event. That’s where having an innovative creative team is critical.”

Rachel’s UX Academy Journey

Rachel had previously worked with her current CEO at another company. He therefore already knew her strengths, skill set, work ethic, and character, and believed she was the right person to build a Creative Services team for his company—especially after graduating from UX Academy.

“I was intrigued with the idea of learning online. I’m from the generation that brought a typewriter to college. Nothing happened online. Online didn’t exist! So, the idea of learning online, outside of a classroom was convenient, novel, and affordable. But what ultimately sold me on Designlab was the mentor support. I found the combination of online learning with twice-weekly mentor sessions to be the perfect combination for me.”

Rachel Bandarenko Library
A redesign Rachel did for the Brielle Library in Brielle, NJ.

Learning UX through the fresh eyes of someone unfamiliar with the industry, and simultaneously as an experienced businesswoman and veteran of the live events world, Rachel had numerous “ah-ha” moments during the UX Academy program. 

“The perspective of seeing the overlap and synergies between UX design and designing for events was eye-opening and invaluable. The UX design process and design thinking methodology is directly relatable and transferrable to event design for virtual, hybrid and live events.” 

Advice for Those Interested in Working in UX Design

Now that Rachel has graduated and landed an amazing job, she has some advice for incoming, current, and graduating UX Academy students:

“Be open to all opportunities. Take every meeting and phone call that comes your way and never miss an opportunity to network and engage people inside and outside your industry. Conversations are like dominos—every conversation is a domino on the board of your life, and you never know which one is going to tip and lead you to an incredible opportunity.”

Currently, Rachel thinks the best perks of her new role are the people she gets to work with and the culture. She’s also looking forward to live events starting back up and, with it, the opportunity to travel. “That has always been one of the best parts of our industry. We all can’t wait to hit the road again” says Rachel.

Outside of work, Rachel is a self-described Martha Stewart—but without the arts and crafts. 

“Without the opportunity to travel, I’ve become a bit of a homebody in the best sense of the word. I love decorating my house; it’s an on-going project. I spend a great deal of time in my kitchen, and in my vegetable and cutting gardens. I love an old-school dinner party, it’s the place where all my obsessions come together! It’s experience design on a micro level.”

Rachel has big goals for 2021: she’s building a team and a new department all while putting her new UX design skills to use; it’s a very exciting time.

“I’m in my dream job! Loving every minute.”


Check out Rachel’s portfolio and connect with her on LinkedIn.

If you’re looking to follow in Rachel’s footsteps and find a program to help you expand and elevate your career path within your current industry (or switch industries entirely), we recommend exploring UX Academy.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.