Purvi Shah, VP of UX at Target: Humanity at the core of design leadership

Membership

“To help organizations re-orient to challenges and meet human needs in new, meaningful ways, it is critical that we are simultaneously context aware, craft-led, and strategically thought-provoking as we shape a shared vision. This is an imperative as our discipline seeks to understand potential, innovate, and drive results at scale.” If there was a single quote that could sum up the approach of Purvi Shah, VP of UX at Target, and the latest DXC founding member, this might be it. And it is a sentiment that, we think, perfectly encompasses the work of the thoughtful, 360 degree design leader in today’s world.

Person-Centered Design

Purvi should know. She has held senior roles across global payment, commerce, and retail industries, leading large scale transformation initiatives at household name organizations such as Amazon and Visa. Her career has been defined by maturing design practices, being a practical yet vision-forward partner to enterprise strategies, and achieving business impact by integrating human-centered service design across companies and culture. You might call her a people advocate and a customer champion who cares about the business.

As VP, Head of UX Design, Research & Accessibility at Target, one of the largest retailers in the US, Purvi leads the discipline across guest and team member experiences as well as enterprise tools. She elevates the strategic value of UX across the multi-billion dollar business and delivers impact across the company’s digital, loyalty, advertising media, stores, supply chain, data science tools, and other business capabilities. In doing so, she leads her team to support millions of guests, hundreds of thousands of team members, and thousands of stores.

A Major Name

This considerable responsibility comes from a wealth of experience. Consider the two roles she held at Amazon. She led UX for Amazon Fashion, overseeing the category being scaled to a $40B+ business and America’s biggest apparel retailer [as per Forbes]. She also held an enterprise-wide role as Amazon’s Head Of Design Excellence where she engaged the total design community to increase the quality, scale, and strategic impact of the function across the entire company. Before this, at Visa, she held multiple leadership roles in Innovation and Design at a time when the company was the 9th largest company by market cap in the world, operating in over 200 countries and territories. As Head of Global Strategic Design & Operations, she implemented human-centered service design methodology to enact design transformation and helped to scale the team across various global locations. If that wasn’t enough, Purvi has experience at Estée Lauder and Coach - two more household names - as well as at a variety of startups and agencies. All of which points to an adaptive, global and business-minded design leader.

Change For The Better

How does this translate in terms of how Purvi thinks and feels her way through her design work? “I’m inspired by anyone that feels compelled to change for the better, and is able to tap into their purpose to bring about that change in a holistic and sustained way. This can be related to both our inner and outer worlds as leaders,” says Purvi. “The role of design and UX leadership today is increasingly significant as we define experiences for large organizations that meet the needs of millions of humans every day.” Humanity, again, is at the center of Purvi’s work. But how is this achieved? “We need to be able to see the future in order to effectively design the future of experience and therefore brands,” she tells us. “In order to do this, we have a collective opportunity to build upon our empathy and business acumen and increase our fluency in macroeconomics, regulatory influence, emerging technology, future of work, and cultural globalization. We need context if we want to create outcomes that are resonant and deliver value.”

Action Through Community

We want the Design Executive Council to act as a channel and holding vessel for how Purvi sees the world and how design can effect change. “I believe the DXC has an opportunity to shape the total narrative and destiny of our discipline, not just in theory or to quantify impact— but in essence, practice, and potential,” she says. “Through the group’s collective leadership experience, insight, and pragmatic intuition we in part shape the future of how people interact with organizations, and therefore the future of business in the most human of ways.”

About

Purvi Shah

Purvi is a seasoned design leader with extensive experience in global payment, commerce, and retail. With roles at Target, Amazon, and Visa, she's driven large-scale transformations, enhancing design maturity, digital innovation, and business impact.

Currently, as VP, Head of UX Design, Research & Accessibility at Target, she oversees all aspects of guest and team member experiences, aiming to boost UX's strategic value in the company's vast operations. Her background includes impactful positions at Amazon and Visa, focusing on design excellence and global strategic design, respectively. Purvi's diverse experience spans multiple industries, contributing to her adaptive and business-focused approach. She holds degrees from Parson School of Design and is a founding member of the Design Executive Council.