Constant Evolution

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July 1, 2013

After almost 20 years of helping large companies deploy technology for business growth, Emily Eaton is leaving Crux Collaborative (formerly EatonGolden) to focus on helping individuals use technology for personal growth.

Her business partners, John Golden and Mahtab Rezai — along with the rest of the staff — will stay right where we are, and Crux Collaborative will continue to focus on providing best-in-class user experience research and consulting for transactional and business-critical websites and applications.

13 years of Constant Evolution

One of our 7 guiding principles is, “We believe in constant evolution.” From Crux Collaborative’s origin as EatonGolden to what we are today, constant evolution has been part of our DNA. When Emily founded Integrity Interactions in 2000, it was because she recognized that the field of website design was evolving — and we’ve been evolving with it ever since.

After operating independently for five years, Emily recruited the most talented UX professional she knew — her husband John Golden. Together they formed “EatonGolden” and hired a small staff of experts to help them meet the growing needs of their clients. (our first employee Mike McClure is still with us today!)

From 2005 to 2010, we continued to evolve along with the interactive industry. Our guiding principle of “constant evolution” has allowed us to anticipate trends, get up to speed on new technologies, and help our clients apply them in ways that have benefitted both their business and their users.

Near the end of 2010, John and Emily sensed that it was time to evolve the business leadership beyond a husband-and-wife team. It was time for a third partner, but not just anyone. They needed someone who shared their passion for UX, had deep experience in interactive work for large companies, and could bring business operations know-how to the organization. Only one person was qualified for that position: Mahtab Rezai.

Emily, John, and Mahtab were just beginning their partnership when early 2011 brought a tragic evolution of a personal nature. John and Emily experienced the worst thing that could happen to any parent — their youngest son Julian was diagnosed with leukemia, and then died two weeks later. Thanks to Mahtab and the rest of the amazing EatonGolden staff, the business experienced very little impact. John and Emily were able to take the time they needed to work through their grief and get back on their feet.

It is an understatement to say that the death of a child changes a parent’s perspective on life. Some bereaved parents find it a relief to get back to their daily routines, and may even have a renewed passion for their work. Other bereaved parents describe their loss as a “wake-up call” and find themselves making life changes that they previously never imagined.

Emily found herself somewhere in between: She was grateful to return to a job she loved at a business that she had poured her heart and soul into for more than 10 years. But she also found herself drawn to writing about her thoughts and experiences, so she started a blog. She discovered that the process of writing about her journey through grief was incredibly valuable and therapeutic for her.

John found inspiration and solace both in working to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund through initiatives such as Joggers for Julian, as well as by focusing on evolving the business.

In partnership with Mahtab, he spent a good portion of the last two years evolving the company’s process to be more collaborative, developing a sketching methodology approach we use in our concepting efforts, and focusing on improving culture and promoting staff development.

Not only have his efforts resulted in over $50,000 being raised to fund pediatric cancer research, but his active collaboration with Mahtab and the staff in creating a strong company culture resulted in Crux Collaborative being recognized as a Minnesota Business Top 100 Places to Work business — and even winning #2 Best-In-Class in the Small Business category.

Our Current Evolution

It has now been over two years since Julian died, and earlier this year Emily decided that it was time for another evolution — this time, an evolution of her own career. She is transitioning out of her role as Principal and is taking her career in a new direction. She will be researching and writing a book about how technology can be used by individuals to work through grief, reduce stress, and achieve personal growth.

John and Mahtab, along with the rest of the Crux Collaborative staff, will continue to set the standard for excellence in user experience consulting and fostering a dynamic, collaborative culture that continues to earn us Top 100 Places To Work status for years to come.

One thing we know for sure is that “we believe in constant evolution” — and on both a personal and professional level, evolution is how we grow and change… for the better. So we can expect that the future will continue to bring exciting changes for the business.

The entire staff of Crux Collaborative is profoundly grateful for the 13 years Emily spent as a founder, growth agent, and champion for evolution. The staff will always be thankful for her courage to leap into the unknown and create a company that has enabled us all to grow, to develop deep expertise in user experience consulting, to work with amazing clients, and to constantly evolve.

As for Emily, she wants to offer her most sincere appreciation for each of the people and companies she’s had the honor of working with in these past 13 years.

All of us are excited to see how things evolve from here.

To constant evolution!

By John Golden

John’s career in interactive media design began in 1995 and has spanned over two decades with a focus on developing simple, streamlined approaches for complex problems.

View John's Bio

By Mahtab Rezai
Principal & CEO

Mahtab has spent nearly two decades as a user experience designer, researcher, strategist, leader, and mentor. She has designed user experiences for companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 50.

View Mahtab's Bio

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