Brei Stevenson, 34

Senior UX Designer, CoStar, Executive Director, Wild Fern Montessori

As a high-school yearbook kid, Brei Stevenson learned to blend digital and graphic design worlds. Adding her sense of empathy led to a career in user experience design – merging form and function to best serve people. She’s shared her talent on several pro bono projects.

A Roanoke native, Stevenson had a bumpy start with college, but clicked with the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her big break came as art director for the New York Rangers. Then in 2011, she and her husband moved to Richmond.

While high school introduced Stevenson to her career, she says she felt lost in the public school system. When her daughter was 2 1/2, Stevenson bartered design and marketing services to send her to a local Montessori school.

“I realized how beautiful it was,” she says – and how “everybody should have access to this if they want it.”

So Stevenson led an effort to start her own. It became Wild Fern Montessori in Lakeside. It’s financially accessible, with a sliding tuition scale and room for 20 children ages 3 to 6. Stevenson says it’s about creating a love of learning and a support system for families to carry back into their communities, which “helps us as a whole.”

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