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It was spring in Michigan and my Mom and I had just left a doctor's visit with a new physician. I could tell she was agitated. I didn't remember anything particularly bad about the visit, but I couldn't help but ask what was wrong. With tears now starting she hesitated, my new doctor had told her she is caring too much about my blood sugars, I would only live to 18, so she should let go and let me live more. 

I would only live to18

My Story

You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. - Jim Collins

What inspires you? For me, it's the relentless attempts of a group of talented people to try and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. 

Life is a balance, isn't it? Of living in the moment, and preparing for the future? With the future as a distant possibility, I never had the best understanding of this balance. Thanks to my Mother's influence, and her strong belief that the physician we saw that day was wrong. I always leaned towards preparing for a life I was not expected to live.

I was born at a time when pioneers in Cystic Fibrosis treatment were asking tough questions, identifying trends in clinical care and the impact on the severity of the illness, and innovating new treatments. In my lifetime care centers began separating Cystic Fibrosis patients to prevent cross-infection, at least 5 nebulized treatments came out to help fight infections, and machines were invented, and improved on, to help C.F. patients clear mucus from their lungs. 

After a recent hospital stay for an IV treatment, in spring or early summer in 2000, the local cheerleading squad in the small town I grew up in had raised enough money to purchase my first therapy vest. I didn't realize it then, though the bulky machine was awkward, and I felt a bit embarrassed to be such a spectacle. That machine kickstarted approximately 17 years of not needing IV treatments or a hospital stay. 


In recent years this innovation came in the form of a medication treating the underline cause of Cystic Fibrosis. There now is no accurate way to estimate life expectancy, we simply can't know. People with CF are now exploring having families, starting careers, and living a life none could before imagine. 

What is the return on investment of innovation? Of many people coming together to try through multiple failures? For me, it's the life I still enjoy living today, nearly 2 decades past 18. 

If you are willing, I believe God will use the experiences you have walked through to shape your character and to help you share something special with the world. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1:2-4

I am still here today for a reason. I believe it's my responsibility to use this path I have walked, my strengths, and what I have spent the last 15 years learning, to bring people together and overcome the challenges that life brings through design. 

Preparing for a life
Pioneers in Cystic Fibrosis treatment were asking tough questions
Kickstarted 17 years of no
hospital stays
What is the ROI of innovation?

Design has a cost, we talk about it frequently in business. The time it takes to get the experts throughout the company involved, the cost of time when we meet with the recipients of the experience we create, the time it takes us to do ethnography and fully understand the problem. I look at the group of inventions and process improvements that influenced my life, and I know it had to be a colossal effort of a lot of passionate people, and organizations, all working toward the same impossible goal. 

Produces Perseverance
I am here for a reason
Design has a cost
I would only live to18
I would only live to18
What inspires you?


People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough.
- Marcus Buckingham

Design comes together through collaboration

Kintsugi would not be unique, beautiful, or strong if the pottery was made entirely of one unbroken piece of clay. Every person has been through something, those experiences shape our character. I believe that diversity in character is essential to design. 

Life takes a team, in the same way, design does. I enjoy the deep friendships I form with others. I also enjoy learning about a broad range of topics, including the Bible, leadership, music, cooking, history, art, and gardening, to name a few. Spending time with family and friends is where I thrive. I'm so grateful for my husband, Jake, who has supported my career growth and also my many hobbies and interests that often turn into lifelong side quests.

Amber Swartz

1. Learner

1. Learner

People exceptionally talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. The process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them. - Gallup, Inc.

Strategic | Clifton Strength Finder 

How to use Clifton Strengths 

Above are my top 5 strengths, in order. I have found these strengths to be a really good way of understanding my motivation behind different tendencies, and things that come naturally to me. My managers in the past have used these strengths to pair me with projects that would benefit from these strengths. To find out more about how to use the Clifton Strength Finder in Leadership, I recommend the book First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham. 
Find out more about Clifton strength finder here. 

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