My Career Path: How I Became a Teambuilding Specialist

Lisa Bauer
Senior Teambuilding Specialist, IDEO


This is part of a series on the unique and wayward career journeys of the IDEO community. Read more articles on career development and mentorship on the IDEO U blog.


What’s your role at IDEO?

As a teambuilder at IDEO North America, I (in collaboration with 4 other amazing teambuilders) help put together teams of designers for our internal and client projects.

We use what IDEO is best known for—a human-centered approach. Not only do we compare the needs of our projects with designer availability, but we also take into account the designers’ interests and goals and align it with those of our clients!

Lisa Bauer, a senior teambuilding specialist at IDEO.Lisa Bauer, a senior teambuilding specialist at IDEO.

I’m a teambuilder because there isn’t anything more rewarding than building a team that sparks new connections, new ideas, and new dreams. 


How would you describe your career path?

I started violin when I was 5, attended Interlochen Arts Academy as a violin major, was a national finalist for a violin competition, and received a music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. You’d think my career would end up in violin performance.

But instead, my career path has ended up differently. I started as Production Manager at the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland, OR, where I loved getting to know every single student (all 500 of them!) and the conductors as I operated their rehearsals and concerts. As an animal lover, I then decided to work as a Customer Service Representative and Doctor's Assistant at the Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland. The craziest thing I helped with was warming up a hypothermic boa constrictor. 🐍

Lisa playing violin as a child.
Lisa playing violin as a child.

I later became the Assistant Director at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School (an à la carte music education program for students 0-18 years old), where I developed different music programs to bring students together, including its first international summer orchestra camp. And then to expand my skills, I challenged myself in a new role as the Advancement Communications Officer and discovered IDEO when I wanted to build my creative confidence. 🙌🏻

If there’s one GIF that describes me both professionally and personally…



What career advice would you give others?

Don’t disqualify yourself from opportunities without giving it a shot! Be open to trying new things, making new connections, and exploring new skills. You might be surprised by what ends up sticking.

“Be open to trying new things, making new connections, and exploring new skills.”
Lisa Bauer

Learn how to work collaboratively and creatively with a team in our online course Cultivating Creative Collaboration.

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Business Innovation - IDEO U Certificate
Human-Centered Strategy Certificate