Cover Letter and Case Studies

Christi Leeson
5414 Pinehurst Dr, Wilmington, DE 19808 | 302-723-1471

Cover Letter 

Dear Kanopi, 

My passion for collaboration, diversity, innovation, data-lead strategy, and cutting-edge design and technology will be a strong asset for Kanopi as will my 20-plus years of expertise in website design and user experience strategy with a focus on B-Corps and organizations that serve people and planet.

I am a team player who loves people and working together for a win-win, sharing knowledge, encouraging creativity and personal growth, and assuring members feel lifted up as we pursue excellence and fulfill organizational goals.

One of my greatest joys is ongoing research and continued learning to fully understand and strategically implement the latest technologies and industry standards in User Experience Strategy, Visual Design, and Website UI and Architecture. I advocated for and lead the effort to migrate DelNature’s website from the outdated iMIS RiSE CMS, a system with limited branding and templating capabilities, to the more powerful, customizable, open source WordPress CMS. I am currently upping my UX game, pursuing an official Google UX Certification and having taught myself Figma this past summer for the To Trade project detailed in my Case Studies.

I have also worked with major financial and pharmaceutical institutions – I did this namely to learn their tricks to support the missions of socially- and environmentally-positive organizations.

Inclusion and support for minorities, environmental justice, and wildlife conservation are my greatest motivators. I have been an active member of Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) since it’s founding in 2020. As DelNature’s website designer and webmaster, I have worked to make their website increasingly more friendly to minorities and disabled persons. I have endeavored to go beyond visual representation alone, pursuing increasing readability scores, driving for full ADA compliance, and leading the creation of a new Mission page that better integrates service of diverse and underserved communities. I also served as website designer and manager for 10 years at the minority-, LGBTQIA-, and woman-owned, LEED Certified Yikes, Inc. a website design agency with a focus on nonprofit and minority clients.

I am comfortable working on many projects at once for many different departments and diverse people and personalities. To better manage the large load of projects at DelNature, this past year I researched for, advocated for, and then instated the use of Trello for DelNature’s Marketing department and the DEIJ Committee.

I look forward to putting my passions and skills at your service.

Thank you,
Christi Leeson

A Deeper Dive

Why I Get Up In The Morning

Inclusion & Diversity 

Justice for the LGBTQIA and Neurodiverse communities, Racial Minorities, and Displaced Peoples.

As a member of the LGBTQIA and Neurodiverse communities I understand and feel well-placed to work as a voice for them.

Due to a history of institutional racism toward Black and brown peoples in our country and beyond, it is our duty to work toward an equitable today.

All people deserve safety and to live with dignity and equitable rights.

Environmental Justice and Environmental Health to Support Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation

We are inseparable from our air, water, land, and the ecosystems that clean and fertilize these resources – their health is our health.

All living things deserve safety and to live with dignity.

Love of my family and friends

I adore my family – husband, teen and tween boys, parents, sister – and extended family, both natural and chosen.

Data-driven Decision Making

I have very little time in this world, using data-driven decision making is an affective way to achieve the above aims as quickly as possible.

The Joy and Power of Telling Stories

Telling stories though a variety of modes – video, novels, social media, etc – is a powerful way to build empathy and achieve audience buy-in and action.

Supporting Enthusiastic Consent

My work running my Middle-age-focused LGBTQ hiking club, including the conversations I’ve had with many women starting over after divorce, has made it clear how important this value is to assuring the safety and dignity of all people.

Project Interests I Ponder

2023 DelNature Website Design, Style System, and Style Guide 

Create a full website design proposal for DelNature’s website based on UX research including Interviews, Competitor Audits, Usability Studies, Card Sorting, A/B Testing, Equitable Design, Interactive Prototyping, and more.

Wildlife Social and Educational App

Create an app that pulls from iNaturalist and/or eBird to create a Pokemon- and Finch-inspired experience, making it fun to find and learn about wildlife, with the purpose of growing people’s passion for wildlife conservation.

Case Studies

These case studies tell the story of projects I’ve lead, including the challenges, process, retrospectives, and solutions. The first two items are detailed fully below, while the rest are detailed briefly. If you’d like more detail about the more brief case studies, please do reach out to me at 302-723-1471 (text/call) or

Project Management, Website Design, and UX for New Website 

To Trade, 2022

Managed project, working with ToTrade’s owner and website developer. Created a mood board, style system, website visual design, search engine optimization, and performed user experience research and design. Contributed content editing and content strategy. Created with Figma, Adobe Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop), and Trello. 

See full case study below ➤

Migration to WordPress CMS – Advocate and Lead

Delaware Nature Society, 2016-2018

Established the need to move Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) website from the iMIS RiSE CMS, a system with limited branding and templating capabilities, to the more customizable, open source WordPress CMS. Lead the planning and strategic implementation of the move. Advocated to move hosting from in-house to a trusted website host for redundancy, security, and other industry standards. 

See full case study below ➤

Migration of DelNature Blog to Main WordPress Website – Advocate and Lead

Delaware Nature Society, 2022

Advocated for and lead the migration of DelNature’s blog, which lived on a separate WordPress build and host, into the main WordPress CMS and hosting. 

Outcome: This successful move helped DelNature save money on hosting, increase audience stickiness, strengthen the SEO of the main website, simplify backend needs, better uphold branding, and create a more professional integrated user experience.

Rebrand of DelNature’s Abbreviated Name for SEO and Usability – Advocate and Lead

Delaware Nature Society, ~2018

Advocated for this 50-year-old organization, very proud of their past, to move to use the abbreviation DelNature instead of DNS.

Outcome: The abbreviated name DelNature contained search keywords. Also, the DelNature name was easier than the full name for their audience to type when emailing staff and when navigating to the organization website though shortcode URLs in print ads and brochures. 

Implementation of Trello addition at DelNature for Marketing Dept and DEIJ Committee

Delaware Nature Society, 2022

Advocated for and lead this effort to organize, categorize, and assist management of the DelNature Marketing Department’s design and website-related projects.

Also set up Trello for the DEIJ Committee to organize their projects and initiatives in an easy-to-use, easy-to-find, always up-to-date application.

Outcome: Projects are easier to manage as team can more quickly find, track progress, and reuse project templates so that needed project information is collected each time in a standardized way.

Calendar Design Project and Photo Contest 

Delaware Nature Society, ~2014

Advocated for and lead this effort with the aim of gathering more nature photos for our collection, engaging the community, and helping keep nature and Delaware Nature Society in the forefront of DelNature’s audience’s minds.

Assured photos gathered in Photo Contest fit the images DelNature most needed by making categories of “at DelNature Locations”, wildlife, people in nature, and seasons. Made clear to contest participants that images submitted would be used to promote DelNature’s mission with attribution.

Found and used a contest app that DelNature could use to manage the gathering of contest entries.

Advocated for and helped in planning a culminating photo contest winners’ Photography Show on-location at DelNature’s Ashland Nature Center with winners and their friends attending. 

Outcome: Gathered a huge assortment of new, beautiful, local photographic images of DelNature’s 4 main natural locations, people in nature, and native wildlife that we have been able to use to support our mission on our website, in print publications, ads, social media and more. The audience interaction was positive and local photographers and nature-lovers were represented. We had beautiful photography to show of during our 50th Anniversary.

Case Study: Project Management, Website Design, and UX 

Snapshot of Assets


Role: Project Management, Website Design, UX, and UI

To Trade – Elkins Park, PA
Jun 2022 – September 2022 (3 months)

Managed project, working with the owner and a website developer. Created a mood board, style system, website visual design, search engine optimization, and user experience. Contributed content editing and strategy. Created with Figma, Adobe Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop), and Trello. 

Career Goals

After 8 years focused on Delaware Nature Society’s design needs, I took this project as an opportunity to fully design a website, from beginning to the point of design fulfillment – mood board, recommended stock imagery, style system, and all pages and navigation views in mobile and desktop views. While my aim is to work in other mission-driven industries, the project proved a solid learning and growth opportunity. From designing websites full time 2000-2011, to a lower frequency 2011-2015, and then a single brand 2015-2022, my design focus and tooling knowledge narrowed. I found this a great chance to practice and expand my knowledge with tools and methods such as Figma, Style Systems, Mood Boards, and Trello. One limitation I experienced with this project was the use of Secondary Research only, to inform the design. Given a tight project budget, conducting interviews and employing other research methods was not possible. I am currently undergoing Google UX Training to build a more full and complete UX design toolset including expanded methods of research and a deeper understanding of strategy.


The owner was a stock trade professional who was starting a new business that would educate people on stock trade and investment to give him the ability to capture leads for sales. 


Client provided me with initial wireframes he created and content I copy edited. He also provided example websites and expected audience.

Create a brand, logo, and website to achieve the following goals:

  • Place the owner as a seasoned professional
  • Provide stock trade and investment information and education including live classes on zoom, office hours, blog, and newsletter
  • Ability to capture leads for sales
  • Reach an older audience who would have a 401K and IRA
  • Increase engagement of audience getting them to purchase classes, private consulting, and other paid services
  • Build community (In Stage 2, will add student to student communication)
  • Stage 2: Build individualized experiences such as “My classes” and “Archives”
  • Layout and edit copy to assure concise communication, readability, and SEO optimization

Expected Audience 

  • Audience would resonate with a brand that communicates: Conservative, Knowledgeable, Dependable, Professional
  • Audience would like a design that’s not very dark or light



Met with the client to firm out the needs based on conversation and wireframes that he provided. 

Collected comparison website examples to understand the client’s vision: 

Secondary Research Performed

Performed a Competitive Audit of small competitors, such as those he provided, and major banking websites with similar audiences. My experience with Delaware Nature Society’s program registration interface was helpful as I knew many of their audience prefer creating personal accounts to save their checkout info, and easily find current and even past purchases. Note: these are not capabilities of Delaware Nature Society’s current Altru program registration platform and is a pain point.

Retrospective: Primary Research

With my recently improved Primary and Secondary Research skills, were I to do this now, I believe I could more convincingly advocate for and more effective perform the following:

Foundational Research

  • Create personas based on real people that fit his proposed audience
  • Conduct in-person interviews in order to:
    • Assure the proposed colors and brand words actually did resonate with this audience 
    • Perform card sort interviews for effective navigation 

Design Research

  • Run a Usability Study to assure created prototypes gave interviewees a the expected feeling of confidence and were easy to navigate
  • A/B studies to compare and improve on any pain points found

Results of Secondary Research

In the following meetings, we discussed the expanded group of comparison websites. I presented a group which effectively and simply presented the look/feel to reach the older, “has 401K” target audience and communicated the brand and services professionality. We settled on the websites for Charles Schwab, Prudential, and CBInsights.

He liked the idea of adding a user account component for ease of checkout, to gather lead information, and, in a later phase, to build community and, thus, engagement.

Mood Board Creation

Following that meeting, I gathered elements that utilized keywords, layout, interactive elements, and considered trending and industry standard design practices. I gathered elements together and presented them in a mood board.

Clips From the Mood Board:

View full Mood Board ➤

Wire Frame to Prototype

Also, based on the client needs and approvals, I transformed the first few pages into visual designs. After he confirmed the direction, all pages were created, content added and copy-edited with usability and SEO considerations, and a limited interactive navigation prototype was created. Using my HTML and CSS experience, I built responsive prototypes to help inform developers how content reflows and transitions across different viewports and devices.

Example of a client-provided wireframe:

Final result of the example page:


Final Style System

View Final Style System

Final Page Designs

View Desktop Viewport

View Mobile Viewport  

Experiments With Interactive Prototypes

I experimented with creating interactive clickable prototypes – see the experiments below: (Note: they are not final products but do demonstrate skills learned).

In Tab Banner Flow, view interactivity of banner below the first read on the home page: See Banner Flow Experiment ➤

In Top Nav Flow, view interactivity within the top nav: See Top Nav Flow Experiment ➤ 

Case Study: Migration to WordPress CMS 


Role: Website and Graphic Design Coordinator

Project Role: Team Leader of Website Management Team
This team was created to oversee the website migration.

Delaware Nature Society – Hockessin, DE
Project Time Period: 2016 – 2018 (Employment: September 2013 to Present)

Established the need to move Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) website from the iMIS RiSE CMS, a system with limited branding and templating capabilities, to the more customizable, open source WordPress CMS. Lead the planning and strategic implementation of the move. Advocated to upgrade hosting from in-house to a trusted website host for redundancy, security, and other industry standards. 


Delaware Nature Society (DelNature) is a 59-year-old nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, conservation, and advocacy. They envision a healthy and sustainable environment for all. DelNature is a state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation. They provide the tools for communities to take action and promote the health of the environment through land preservation, wildlife protection, and watershed stewardship.


DelNature’s website existed on the iMIS RiSE CMS which was integrated with their iMIS Database Management System. Their online storefront for Program Registration was also handled by iMIS. Hosting was in-house with emergency backups of website brought home daily by a staff member so they wouldn’t be in the same building. iMIS RiSE was a non-custom solution that allowed few editing and interactive capabilities.


Increase usability for more staff to update website

  • Desire for an easy-to-use WYSIWYG option so that 16 staff members could update pages and online forms without knowing HTML

Improve user experience for audience

  • Needed to be responsive so available to major devices and viewports
  • Ability to create custom templates
  • Ability to add interactive elements such as carousels, social media and Google map integrations 

Allow for 2-stage migration from iMIS RiSE CMS to WordPress CMS

  • Stage 1: Move website to a new CMS and Host in order to separate the main website from iMIS RiSE
  • Stage 2: Move the website storefront from iMIS RiSE to website design company’s solution for integrating Blackbaud Altru’s program registration capabilities


Advocated for CMS Move

Spoke to directors, managers, and staff in support of the need to move to a more versatile, customizable CMS, namely WordPress, and professional hosting.

Proposed a two-phase plan for separating iMIS store and main website in the effort to eventually leave iMIS.

Provided, for both phases, projected financial costs, staff time commitment, and a proposed timeline to implement hosting change.

Oversaw Project as Website Management Team Lead

Took on the role of Website Managment Team Lead. This team was created to oversee the website migration and redesign.

Search For Website Design Agency

Lead team in task of finding, reviewing, and choosing a website design company.

Interviewed several trusted professional website software engineers, including my husband Ryan Leeson, and also researched several ethically-focused website design companies. The finalists came out to be WebDev, Yikes Inc., and Trolley Web.

Yikes was a high consideration for DelNature as they are LEED certified, minority- and LGBTQ-owned, focused on non-profit and minority clients, and made high-quality websites. Having previously been employed with Yikes for 10 years, I had, while there, advocated for and taken part in their move to WordPress website design – this gave me an deep insiders understanding of their skillset and quality.

Trolley Web caught our attention when they lead the successful Save the Valley effort to save a beloved local natural area  intended to be sold for development. Their use of website, social media, and events was powerful.

WebDev was attractive as they offered high-quality website design like the other and, additionally, included user story creation and other user experience offerings. 

Despite my love of Yikes and their commitment to supporting ethical practices and organizations, the user experience and robust offerings and skillset of WebDev were what I believed we needed most. However, the DelNature Director overseeing Marketing ultimately opted to go with Yikes for their ethical focus, alignment with our environmental values, and their much lower price point.

Redesign Management

Managed redesign process, working closely with Yikes’s project manager, programmers, and DelNature’s Website Management Team. Worked closely with Yikes staff in the development of wireframes, UI, and branding/look/feel decision-making.


DelNature and Yikes didn’t officially plan to do UX research and testing. However, I personally performed in-person Interviews and Usability Testing of the UI: the Information Architecture, Interactive Design, and Visual Design. As the website was being built, and then again at launch, I I watched volunteers navigate the website, giving the volunteers a variety of tasks and asking them to share their thoughts. When they got stuck I noted it and encouraged them to share their experience. I communicated results foud to the Website Management Team and Yikes. The approximately 20 people interviewed and user tested were a variety of ages and genders and included peoples of different races, sexualities, and neurodiversities. Some had previously interacted with DelNature and others not at all. Advocated to also perform card sorts, however was told directly not to pursue these.

Store Redesign

Redesigned store design in iMIS RiSE. It would continue to perform the functions of membership status management, program registration, and donations until Phase 2. Worked closely with a RiSE programmer to try to improve user experience as possible.

Content Migration

Lead content migration team, with focus on ADA compliance, SEO, UI, content layout, and copy-editing for a simple, smooth, and inclusive readability-supporting experience.

Website Launch

Oversaw successful launch of separate main and store websites.

Phase 2 – New Store and Database Management System

Served on team tasked with choosing new Database Management System to replace iMIS.

Advocated for an improved storefront UI/UX for the audience, however the team ultimately chose Blackbaud Altru for its fundraising-related database capabilities, being made aware that it was not an improvement on the storefront UI/UX.

Alongside DelNature’s Database Manager, lead integration of Altru’s storefront capabilities with WordPress including performing template design within Altru’s storefront. Came up with creative design and coding solutions to usability challenges presented by this new end solution. Created wireframes, UI, performed UX research and testing, 


The website design worked well in major viewports, however it displayed strangely at a breakpoint that Yikes didn’t service at that time. Were I to redo this project, I would assure all breakpoints displayed properly. 

I would also have made a stronger case for greater use of UX research, strategy, and testing to inform the design and final product. For the UX research and testing performed, I would integrate my now fuller UX skillset to assure that more of DelNature’s audiences were included: namely lower-income and disabled audiences. I would also use my fuller UX knowledge to assure unframed questioning and a larger variety of testing methods.

Were I to do a redesign today, I would encourage that the CMS be set up with more reusable template items such as cards, accordions, block item layouts, and other frequently used elements. Up until now I have used creative temporary solutions such as coding by hand and plugins. I would also perform in-person card sorts, interviews, and other UX tools to determine the UI and content, if the current directors are amenable.


The customizability of the WordPress website was a groundbreaking change, allowing for:

  • Increased Search Engine Performance and more organized, professional search engine display.
  • A more attractive, pleasurable, user-friendly, interactive, and responsive interface.
  • An independent CMS stays consistent regardless of Database Management System changes.
  • A fairly easy-to-use WYSIWYG that is used by a handful of non-technical staff members.
  • WordPress blogging capabilities allowed for the organization and easy posting/editing of DelNature’s publications, blog, job postings, and other needs that required consistent layout and elements.
  • Redundant, secure, professional hosting.
  • The WordPress ability to update templates and content in production environment. Ability to keep current content while reskinning, if desired. 
  • Access to plugins for pressing new needs, and backups should they be required.


Work Experience

Website Design & UX Lead

To Trade, Elkins Park, PA
Jun 2022 – September 2022

Created mood board, style system, website visual design and user experience. Contributing content editing and strategy. Created with Figma, Adobe Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop), and Trello.

Website & Graphic Design Coordinator

Delaware Nature Society, Hockessin, DE
September 2013 to Present 

Website & Social Media Design Coordination

Works with team to achieve optimal branded user experience within WordPress and Blackbaud Altru frameworks. Creates UX and architecture, visual design, and copy editing enhancements. Works with programmers as needed. Ensures success across major platforms and devices. Tracks website metrics, collecting and summarizing data and trends. Optimizes content for SEO and supplements with Google Ads for Nonprofits. Loves working with a team for a win-win, sharing knowledge – assuring excellence while fulfilling organizational goals. Creates content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Reviews submitted videos for QA and branding alignment.

Project Management

Saved the organization time and increased RO in proposing, and overseeing the movement of, Delaware Nature Society’s main website from iMIS to the more versatile WordPress platform.

Efficiency and ROI Contributions

Researches, introduces, and implements technical improvements such as WordPress, Trello, LastPass, Google Analytics and Webmaster tools, and more.

Print Design Coordination

Working with departments throughout the organization: designs, copy edits, and prepares print deliverables utilizing Adobe Suite. Create photographic images of people and nature. Advises departments from a design and marketing perspective. Maintains QA and brand alignment of materials.

Copy Editing and Copywriting

Helps ensure highly-aware framing, grammatical correctness, brand consistency, and engaging, concise content in website and printed materials. Ensures scientifically accurate sources.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Committee Member

Helps raise the voices and inclusion of people of color, LGBTQ, neurodiverse, differently-abled peoples, and those of varied economic realities. Optimizes content to reflect diversity.

Remote Working Experience

Worked fully remote March 2020 through late 2021 with positive reviews from management. Has worked hybrid remote since then.

Website Design & Development

Trellist, Wilmington, DE
April 2011 – September 2013

Creation of responsive frontend coding and CSS for websites and email campaigns and graphic design for websites, print, PowerPoint presentations, and email campaigns. Served small businesses, nonprofits, and large financial and pharmaceutical institutions.

Website Design, Development & Project Manager

Yikes, Inc, Philadelphia, PA
December 2000 – April 2011

Worked with clients directly to lead them through the process of kickoff, architecture, website development, and content implementation. Created innovative website designs with effective user experiences implemented with the help of the programming team when needed. Also created logos and other graphics. Skills used regularly were: project management, SEO, website design using Adobe Suite, hand-coding HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. Worked within databases and with PHP. Helped teach website design classes for at-risk communities. 


B.A in Illustration (Minor in Animation)

Rhode Island School of Design – Providence, RI
September 1995 to August 2000


Interactive ArchitectureUser Experience (UX)User Interface (UI)Adobe SuiteFigmaResponsive Website DesignWordpressVideo & PhotographyStyle Guide Design
Style System DesignBrandingInfographicsHTML5/CSS
Copywriting & Copy EditingIntentional FramingSocial Media Marketing
Organization Types
Non-profitsSmall BusinessesMinority-ownedFinancial InstitutionsPharmaceutical Companies