Faces of BLKDOG: Women in Creative and Tech

When you think about strong leadership, what comes to mind? For us, we think of all of the amazing, professional women that make up the BLKDOG team!

BLKDOG was founded in 2007 with the belief that diversity and culture are key drivers of innovation. Fresh perspectives and diverse experiences help us to solve problems in new and interesting ways.

The female powerhouses of BLKDOG approach every project with strong leadership, a clear vision, and the highest level of creativity. The result? Awesome brands and content for all of our clients! Today we want to take this space to place a spotlight on these truly amazing ladies that keep us at the forefront of innovation, progress, and equity in all projects!

Lyssa Howard


Lyssa has been leading website development projects at BLK DOG since she joined in 2013. Developing professionally branded sites combined with top-line functionality involves the writing of custom code (using multiple methods such as PHP, CSS, and HTML) to tailor sites toward individual client needs. Lyssa lives locally with her spouse and dog Moose. Her awards include:

  • 6th in the Nation for Graphic Design Competition – Skills USA.
  • 3rd in the State for Photography Competition – Skills USA.
  • Career & Technical Education Staff Award – WSWHE BOCES.

Lauren Occhiogrosso


Lauren O builds brand identities. Her insane ability to read conceptual project briefs and create authentic, visually clean, and thoughtful brands are the backbone of her skill set. She’s a versatile and adaptive designer who leads the art direction of client campaigns, working in both print and digital mediums. She strives to develop unique and impactful brand aesthetics, always content-centered and concept-driven. Lauren is responsible for the packaging design of many of the tasty elixirs you enjoy on Friday night. She has won multiple ADDY awards and is an encyclopedia of music knowledge.

Julia Howard


Julia is a visual designer who is passionate about expanding the human experience through art and design. Although a traditionally trained graphic designer, she finds her stride in maximalist compositions and brutalist design experimentations. Enthusiastically, she believes the combination of research, writing, and design can change the world into a friendlier place (even if it’s only one pixel at a time).

“From tattoos to gum wrappers, to wallpaper — everything inspires my design.  Designers have not only a challenge but a responsibility to ethically design for the greater good of our collective future.”

When not designing, you can find her listening to music, making art with found objects, and gardening!

Alexis Shippee


Alexis’s perspectives were formed by her years working in newsrooms and studying journalism at Hofstra University. She’s worked on award-winning brand and marketing strategies at BLKDOG, and also placed 1st in the Washington County Fair’s Open Baking competition for her breads, much to the dismay of many long-time winners.

“Rather than selling, hustling, and fighting for customers, I think the most successful brands are the ones doing it for the “goodness” of it: whether that’s a dedication to quality, the desire for things to be better than they are, or another deeply rooted reason. I love how strong brand development and copywriting boil down to connection through storytelling.”

Michelle Khafif Levy


Born and raised in Panamá City in Central America, Michelle moved to the U.S. in 2008, spending her early 20’s amidst the creative, innovative, and ‘keep it local’ vibe of Austin, TX, where she obtained a BS degree in Advertising from The University Of Texas. She is a keynote speaker on subjects such as consumer trends, business innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship, as well as a board member of the Panamanian Fashion Association.

“Ever since I can remember, I have always taken my pleasures very seriously – and this is how I have approached every project that has come my way for the last decade. I believe that the best kind of advertising comes from a human truth, something that really resonates and connects with people. Finding this truth, putting it in practice, and seeing the result is what I enjoy the most of what I do.”