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Having fun at Zao is one of our values. We’ve put limited animated flourishes throughout our site to communicate our love of levity. We also recognize that onscreen movement is not fun or possible for everyone. We've turned off all our animations for you per your browser's request to limit motion. That said, we don't want you to miss out on the party.

Here's a funny joke to enjoy!

Where does the General keep his armies?

In his sleevies!

Get to Know Our Contractors: Stacy Kvernmo

We recently did a series highlighting the core Zao team so you could get to know us better. We often partner with other experts in our industry, and since we’re all about building long-term relationships, we like to work with our contractors over and over again. For our end of the year, we want to highlight a few of the great contractors we’ve worked with over the past year and are continuing to work with now.

To start with, meet Stacy Kvernmo:

Who are you?

An eternal cheerleader and geek. I am a fan of all things tech-related and love to turn it all (ok, mostly all) off for a good yoga session. I think I am funnier than I really am, and will always try to find the humor in most (appropriate) situations. I love learning, teaching, and creating.

Find Stacy on Twitter, Codepen, and Instagram.

Where do you live?

Aurora, IL

What do you do?

I mostly stick to user experience design and UI development. I love the problem solving aspect of both and have been incredibly lucky to always work in environments that allow for that kind of flexibility.

Stacy is a delight to work with. With her fun spunky personality, phenomenal expertise, and know-how, she is an asset to any team. She asks great questions and really delves deep into the heart of the matter. I look forward to working with her again.

-Liz Karaffa, Zao Front-End Developer

What’s your connection to Zao?

I worked with JT and Lizz a few years ago at WebDevStudios and became a fan of Justin since his interview on Shop Talk Show Episode 140.

What do you like best about your job?

I like that it never really feels like work. I don’t sigh on Monday morning or complain about corporate red tape. I love puzzles, and the work I do in design and front-end development often feels like I am putting together the best kind of puzzle step by step. Each day brings something new, and I am always learning and trying to give back where possible.

How do you take your coffee?

When I don’t forget to pour myself a cup, I enjoy my coffee with sugar and a straw (I’ve recently switched to reusable straws).

What are your hobbies?

After a twenty-three year break from competitive gymnastics, I found a gym near me that offers adult gymnastics classes. After enrolling, I thought it would be fun to recruit a few adults to compete in a regional meet. Our team (the Naperville Cougars) competed last April and we are currently prepping for two upcoming meets in early 2018. Gymnastics, by far, is my favorite hobby.

I probably wouldn’t be able to do gymnastics without yoga. I don’t consider myself a “true yogi” but I rather enjoy the physical practice. Just recently, I built Restruxure, a website to help find answers to yoga-specific questions that I couldn’t find anywhere else. You can think of it as an, If this, then that for yoga. It is still in beta, but it is open for registration if anyone wants to join me. I have big plans for Restruxure in the future.

We recently had a client project that was desperately in need of some incredibly challenging UX thinking. We needed to come to our client with someone we considered to be at the top of their field, who could think through their UX challenges with the mindset of their customers – anticipating challenges that weren’t obvious to us, to our client, or even necessarily to their customers. Stacy came through for us, and executed the UX strategy with elegance and excellence that is unmatched. We can’t wait for another opportunity to work together.

-Justin Sainton, Zao Founder

What is your Myers-Briggs?

Apparently, I am a CAMPAIGNER (ENFP-A).

What is something “insignificant” or silly that you feel passionately about?

The bad:

I despise bad forms and they are EVERYWHERE, showcasing their ridiculous questions, labels, and bad organization.

Also, when people who are waiting for an elevator stand way to close to the door and starts to walk in when it opens before letting people exit first.

The good:

Zack Morris. Love him, forever.

Floor heaters.

What is one great article or book you’ve read recently?

I’m sorry, I can’t choose just one. So here’s nine:

I know I am super late to the game, but I finished reading the Harry Potter series and couldn’t love them more. Why didn’t I read this 20 years ago?

As far as non-fiction goes, I enjoyed reading Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz, and Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace.

Stacy is an extraordinary person. I worked with her at my previous job, and was so excited to work with her again at Zao. She has a brilliant way of delivering information to clients, advocating for their needs (even when they’re fighting against it!), and delivering beautiful work. She’s also a delightful human being, very funny, and a delight to work with overall.

-Lizz Ehrenpreis, Zao Project Manager

What is your favorite podcast or TV show and why?

Anyone who knows me well would say I start too many conversations with “I heard on X podcast…” My favorites tend to ebb and flow, but lately I have enjoyed listening to Reply All. I recently sold a phone on eBay and had to ship it to a place they reported on a few months ago.

Here are the podcasts I am currently subscribed to:

2 Dope Queens

99% Invisible

Accidental Tech Podcast


Back to Work

Base.cs Podcast

The Big Web Show

The Boagworld UX Show

The Businessology Show


CodePen Radio



CreativeMornings Podcast


The Daily

DesignBetter.Co: Design great products

Dirty John

Do By Friday

Every Little Thing

The Ezra Klein Show

FiveThirtyEight Politics

Freakonomics Radio


Hello Internet


HTTP 203

The Impact

The Indicator from Planet Money

Lovett or Leave It

Mac Power Users

Majority 54

The Mortified Podcast

The Moth

Noah Kagan Presents

NPR Politics Podcast

On the Media

Planet Money

Pod Save America


Radio Diaries


Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Reply All

Revisionist History





Side Hustle School


Slate’s Political Gabfest

Slate’s Trumpcast

Slow Burn: A Podcast About Watergate

StartUp Podcast

Syntax – Tasty Web Development Treats

TED Radio Hour

TED Talks Daily

This American Life


Truth & Justice

Under the Radar



Unfinished Business

The Unmade Podcast

Up First

Vox’s The Weeds

The Web Ahead

What is one piece of advice you’d have for someone who wants to do the same kind of work as you?

Stay passionate about what you do. I find those who enjoy their jobs will be more motivated to learn and continue to grow and share. Read, explore, find inspiration, and work with or at least socialize with other people in the industry. I found I grew leaps and bounds when I worked with a team of people who had similar skills, but different backgrounds.

If you had to describe working with Zao in three words or less, what would you say?

Thoughtful delightful experts

Join the Conversation


  1. I cannot express how awesome this is! I have been fortunate to have been a contractor with agencies that aren’t afraid to give credit, and also dismayed to have worked with agencies that work overtime to figure out how to bury their contractors like yesterday’s trash.

    This is such a breath of fresh air! So awesome that we get to know the wonderful people that YOU trust at Zao to deliver on client projects. #StrongerTogether

    1. Thanks John! Couldn’t agree more – we’re all stronger together, and the more we can shine a light on the excellent folks we’re fortunate enough to work with, the better!

    2. John, the fine folks at Zao always made me feel like part of the team. I enjoyed working with them and it is really nice that they don’t try to hide the fact that they partner with people. I’ve been given so many company email addresses throughout my freelance career in hopes to disguise the fact I was a contractor. It’s nice to not have to pretend.

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