Design Better
Design Better
Vanessa Gennarelli: Surviving Change at Work

Vanessa Gennarelli: Surviving Change at Work

Episode 90 of the Design Better Podcast

Change at work is tough, and it’s seemingly constant. New leadership, new boss, new role, new responsibilities, new strategies. Suddenly, everything you thought was certain has been upended and you’re left fretting about what’s next. 

Though change at work is a constant, the stress and confusion it often induces doesn’t have to be. Our guest today is Vanessa Gennarelli, author of Surviving Change at Work, has navigated difficult work situations herself and has practical guidance that can help you get your bearings. 

We speak with Vanessa about dealing with uncertainty, and how to decrease the odds that you’ll be laid off. We also discuss what happens when the mission of your organization has changed, and how to know when it’s time to go.

You can get 10% off Vanessa’s book Surviving Change at Work by entering the code BETTER10 at checkout


Vanessa Gennarelli is the principal of Fortuna, a change management firm, and the chief operating officer for She has led cross-functional teams at rapidly growing organizations, including GitHub Education through its acquisition by Microsoft. While at one of the largest tech companies on the planet, she learned how to navigate cultural differences, integrate new processes, and help direct reports thrive through change.

With a background in instructional design, Vanessa has a master’s degree in technology, innovation, and education (Harvard). She is a former research intern at MIT Media Lab and a graduate of the LEAD Program (Stanford Business School). At home in Philadelphia, she invests in small businesses through the Circle of Aunts and Uncles, a group dedicated to supporting local entrepreneurs. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Circadium School of Contemporary Circus.


Design Better “Office Hours” with Automattic: Lori McLeese

This episode is sponsored in part by Automattic, the people behind, Woo, Pocket Casts, Jetpack, and more. Stay tuned after the interview (or hear the segment in the embedded player below) where we chat with Lori McLeese, Global Head of Human Resources at Automattic.

Automattic is a fully distributed company with the goal of democratizing publishing and commerce so that anyone with a story can tell it. Lori talks about the always-be-learning ethos at Automattic, and why they call their team distributed rather than remote.


To learn more about working at Automattic, including current job opportunities, visit

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Design Better
Design Better
Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly for free subscribers, weekly for premium subscribers. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.”