author. musician. martial artist. product manager.
image of elaine's face

When pushed, I generally describe myself as a maker-of-things. I write books, essays, stories, and everything in between. I make music, live and recorded, on a number of different instruments. I make black belts. And I also make software. But at the root of all of these things, I try to make the world a better place.

I'm interested in opportunities to share both my work and my skills. I'm open to speaking at conferences and teaching workshops about product management, making music, and martial arts, and would love to hear from you! The best way to get a hold of me is on Twitter (@elainecchao).

screenshot of Adobe XD THE JOB
I work for Adobe on a passionate, talented team of product managers on the new Adobe XD. As a senior product manager, I'm charged with listening to customers, developing short and long range feature plans, and executing on them in conjunction with my product partners. My career includes years of working both as an engineer and as a formal instructor, and I leverage skills from my diverse background in my daily life as a product manager.
image of handwritten notes ENGAGEMENT
I write about XD, product management, career mentorship, and time management on my Medium blog. As a part of my own growth in the upcoming years, I am also looking for additional speaking engagements and am planning to pitch a nonfiction book on the intersection of martial arts and my career as a product manager.

I'd love to get in touch with you if you have a conference, blog, or are in the publishing business. I would also love to hear from you on Twitter, as I engage regularly with my community there.

  • No upcoming events at the moment! Stay tuned for more details
I'd love to hear more about your conference, especially if it's focused on product management, career development, or product design. I'm available for a range of dates in 2021 and 2022.
Beatboxer Meets Creative Cloud logo RECORDINGS
I released my first single in 2017, following the video's initial screening at the Adobe Tech Summit earlier in the year. This contemporary a cappella video features the amazing Jason Levine on vocal bass. "Beatboxer Meets Creative Cloud" won an award at the conference, and I've gone on to share about the process of making the video in a blog series on Medium. I've also spoken about the process of making this video using Adobe's audio and video software. It's available on Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes.
image of Elaine performing at the Apollo Theatre PERFORMANCE
I have no scheduled performances at this time, but I'm open to gigs at the moment. Past performances have included gigs at the Great American Music Hall (SF) and the Apollo Theatre (NYC), as well as a host of festivals, conferences, and showcases. While I've specialized in vocal percussion and beatboxing, I also continue to sing professionally in contemporary a cappella and choral settings, and play piano, guitar, bass, and drums at private events and for contemporary worship services in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I've taught around the world at music conferences, focusing on vocal percussion technique, most recently at the Women's A Cappella SheSings conference in 2015.

I've mentored dozens of young musicians (ages 15-30), primarily in a small group/band setting, helping them mature as musicians and as teams.

Over the past five years, I've focused on contemporary a cappella arrangements for collegiate and small mixed groups.

I have also played a number of pit orchestras and spent a decade writing for musical theatre. Though I do very little of this nowadays, I do consider this a part of my musical history and continue to seek opportunities to participate in the local musical theatre scene.

I'm open to teaching clinics, master classes, and may be open to doing more intense work, such as arranging.

Interspecies Book Cover My first collaboration with the Kōsa Press team culminated in the Interspecies anthology. These four novellas are set in the same dystopian universe and unfold the beginning of a saga that will continue in future books. Released May 2016, this anthology includes "Babylon's Song," a finalist for the 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novella.
Armistice Book Cover My second collaboration with the Kōsa Press team is a book of flash fiction by the same four authors that brought you Interspecies. Set in the dystopian future of the inlari universe, this prequel to the Interspecies saga presents 20 tales spanning the years of arrival, the golden era, and the Great War that eventually followed.
Medium logo I've been regularly crafting essays about life, product management, creativity, and Adobe XD. This blog includes how-tos and pro-tips for Adobe's creative software, productivity hacks, and thoughts on larger human issues like friendship, language, grief, and the impostor syndrome.
image of Elaine doing a soft roll LIFELONG STUDY
I teach and study self-defense yongmudo at the University of California Martial Arts Program at UC Berkeley (Cal). Even as a fifth-degree black belt, my own study is never complete, so I also spend a fair amount of time in my own training.

Self-defense yongmudo is a contemporary Korean combination martial art that includes blocks, strikes, falls, throws, joint locks, and self-defense weapons, focusing on self-defense and blend between techniques.

image of Elaine doing a sledgehammer STUNT COORDINATION
As a part of the regular school year, we do a number of demonstrations for prospective students and the general public. Over the past decade, I have coordinated and participated in stunts involving sledgehammers, short sticks, magazines, canes, scarves, and other opportunistic weapons. I've also choreographed melees and other types of skits for public performance.

I teach stunts to our students as a part of this work, but do not teach stunts to the general public due to safety concerns.

image of Elaine performing a flying armbar CLINICIAN
As one of the senior instructors at the Cal Yongmudo Club, I am open to clinic opportunities around the United States. As a generalist, I often teach strikes, rolls and falls, joint locks, and more specialized yongmudo techniques such as 16-step and counterthrow forms. I also lecture on personal safety and self-defense to the general public.

For advanced techniques, students must know how to fall safely.