Mentor Spotlight: Chava Canolli - UX Designer

Mentor Spotlight: Chava Canolli - UX Designer

Valentina Calandra

One of the unique features of the CareerFoundry experience is our mentor community - we work with a wide variety of mentors in iOS development, web development, UX design and UI design, from all over the globe.

In order to increase the visibility of our wonderful mentors and give you the chance to get to know them even better, we created Mentor Spotlights. In today’s spotlight, we meet Chava Canolli, a UX and UI design consultant who has traveled the globe.

She shares her exciting journey, from studying psychology and dancing professionally, to becoming passionate about UX design, and on top of that, working as a scuba diving instructor in exotic spots across the globe.

Dancer, psychologist, scuba diver and UX designer

Though Chava is originally from Pennsylvania, she has traveled around the entire world, working in UX and UI consultancy. She’s had students start the course with her in Cyprus, and finish with her in Palau!

Chava was even able to meet up with a student in Kuala Lumpur. Aside from consulting and mentoring with CareerFoundry, she works as a scuba diving instructor, which continues to fuel her worldly and adventurous spirit.


Chava completed her undergraduate degree in exercise psychology from Arizona State University.

“I was very interested in how people interacted with technology from a cognitive and physical perspective.”

She went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Cognitive Psychology, which was quickly channeled into an interest for the emerging tech industry, and UX design specifically. But before launching into a UX career, Chava was a professional dancer.

“I knew there would be a day when I would not be able to dance professionally anymore. So, I looked at my options, my passions, and moved forward!”

Working as a consultant has enabled Chava to witness many different professional settings. From bigger corporations to start-ups and agencies, she’s seen it all. She’s worked for large international banks, an Indian dating site, agencies such as StrawberryFrog, as well as freelancing for several smaller companies.

Mentoring with CareerFoundry

Chava has been mentoring with CareerFoundry since the very beginning of the company. Her first contact was Blake, a previous Mentor Advisor, who while working full-time for CareerFoundry, completed the Web Development Course, and now works on our Development Team.

“When I talked to Blake, I became very excited about the opportunity. The staff I have worked with are always excited and passionate about the company which definitely keeps me loyal!”

In many Mentor Spotlights, we find that mentors are most rewarded by witnessing the progress that their students make.

“I love it when my students go from being completely lost to producing work that is better than mine. I teach in order to find people I would hire. I love to inspire my students to do better than what is currently being done.”

Chava perceives the most common difficulty her students face as understanding software properly.

“I tell them that they should excel with one software and learn others when needed. For example, some students are very familiar with Adobe Creative Suite and some are not. Even if they have to start by using software applications like Paint, it is more important that they get their ideas down than perfecting their knowledge of an application.”

Chava’s approach is to first allow students to familiarize themselves with the actual concepts, before they feel overwhelmed by the technical endeavour of mastering a software.

Personal projects and the future of UX

Aside from mentoring for CareerFoundry, Chava is also a 3D photographer. She takes photographs and builds the frame with pieces that are either within the photo, or represent the photo. Such projects further enable Chava to have a holistic view on user experience:

“The way that I look at user experience is not just technology related. It is what the user is experiencing.”

At the forefront of the tech industry, Chava sees wearables and gamification. She believes there is a big fork in the road right now, strategy versus technical development.

“I jumped on the UX strategy wagon and I absolutely love seeing my career develop.”

Want to learn about the intersection between tech and human behaviour? Sign up for our free, 7-day UX Design Short Course and learn a new UX design skill each day.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our __Certified UX Designerprogram and get the career guidance you need to land your first job in UX.

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What You Should Do Now

  1. If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if UX design is right for you - sign up here for our free 7-day UX short course.
  2. If you are interested in becoming a UX Designer check out our UX design course (you'll learn the essential skills employers need).
  3. If you’d like to speak to an expert Career Advisor for free about how you can really get a new job in tech - connect with us here.

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Valentina Calandra

Valentina Calandra

Contributer to the CareerFoundry Blog