Gretchen consults with clients to inform their product strategy and improve team collaboration skills, and her book, Mastering Collaboration is available from O'Reilly. She spent the first part of her career in design consulting for firms like frog design, Cooper, and LUNAR. Recently, she was Head of Design at PG&E, California’s largest energy company, she has led the design of the hardware and software of a next-generation surgical system, and served as VP of Product at GreatSchools.org.
Her past clients include Virgin Records, Samsung, Johnson & Johnson, and Intel. Gretchen is a Bay Area native who left only long enough to get a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in History & Literature.
Dana Arnett is a founding principal and CEO of the internationally recognised firm of VSA Partners, headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Minneapolis and New York City. Arnett, along with his six partners, lead a group of 150 associates in the creation of design programmes, digital and interactive initiatives, and brand marketing solutions for a diverse roster of clients, including Harley-Davidson, IBM, General Electric, Coca-Cola, Thomson Reuters and Nike.
Over the course of his 28 years in the field, Arnett and the firm have been globally recognised by over 60 competitions and designations including Communication Arts, AIGA, Graphis, the Type Directors Club, the American and British Art Directors Clubs, ID, the LA Film Festival, the AR100 and the American Marketing Association. Arnett was a 1999 inductee into the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and holds the honor of being named to the ID40 — who cited him as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally. Arnett is the President of the AIGA National Board of Directors and a board member of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Children’s Theater.
Ashleigh Axios is an international speaker, strategic creative, and an advocate for design's ability to break barriers and create positive social change. She is an executive board member for AIGA, the professional association of design. At Automattic, a company on a mission to democratize publishing and commerce, Axios formed and led the in-house creative agency for marketing, communications, and brand identity solutions. Prior to her role at Automattic, Axios served as the creative director and a digital strategist in the Obama White House. She is president emeritus of AIGA Washington D.C., where she formed DotGovDesign, an initiative connecting and empowering government designers.
Kevin Bethune is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a "think tank" that delivers design & innovation services using a human-centered approach. Kevin's background spans engineering, business and design in equal proportion over his 20+ year career, positioning him to help brands deliver meaningful innovations to enrich people's lives.
Kevin began his career as a mechanical engineer in the nuclear power industry. This chapter gave him deep product experience working with high performing teams across 14 nuclear reactor upgrade campaigns. After his MBA, Kevin joined Nike, Inc. in a business capacity, but quickly navigated to the Global Footwear product engine to drive advanced digital product creation capabilities, discovering the world of design in the process. After solidifying his creative foundation through further studies at ArtCenter College of Design, Kevin co-founded distinct design & innovation capabilities at two Tier 1 management consulting firms in Booz & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). As VP of Strategic Design at BCG Digital Ventures, he led a large cohort of designers that would influence and shape every corporate venture spun out from the incubator. Kevin left BCG Digital Ventures to carve his own path under the banner of dreams • design + life, focusing on unlocking human potential through integrated physical, digital and service-based experiences.
Jewellery designer and Royal College of Art graduate Mark Bloomfield is a digital craftsman and artist based at London's iconic Oxo Tower. He is Visiting Professor of Design, Innovation and Technology in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire.
Mark has designed for some of the most influential and prominent designers, including Asprey, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Matthew Williamson. Additionally, he has worked in film and TV making jewellery for Titanic, Judge Dredd, Braveheart, Poirot, Tolkien and Gentleman Jack.
As a leader in his field, using traditional craftsmanship techniques, digital tools and manufacturing technologies, Mark continues to dissolve boundaries and redefine the process of making through his exploration of the possibilities offered by current and emerging manufacturing technologies. In 2012 he won the Materialise World 3D Print Award. Mark was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2019 and his work is currently on exhibition at the Lowry Galleries as part of the Expect the Unexpected exhibition in Manchester.
Mark creatively combines traditional craft techniques with advanced digital processes resulting in product that is engaging, surprising, thought provoking and sparks conversation.
Shaun is Associate Dean; Business, Innovation and Projects and is Head of the Digital Hack Lab, In Pursuit of Luxury and Creative Ideas in the School of Creative Arts. He is interested in design-led innovation where design comes first—not as a service to fulfill a business strategy but as a visionary path where design is considered to be an intrinsic part of decision making. This invites a new kind of multi and trans-disciplinary collaboration from around the world. He also works as an independent consultant to luxury brands and associations around the globe. They have included Unity PR, Ford, Finpro, The Cape Town Fashion Council, Ford, Thomas Pink, Fortnum and Mason, Dolce Gabbana and Gucci. He is a regular Keynote speaker at events around the world as an authority on luxury branding and fashion, consumerism and brand strategies.
Shaun’s research evaluates notions of luxury that seem far removed from today's world of excessive consumption. He explores how technology is changing the perception of the hand made in the context of how luxury brands have grown as a result of being able to supply historically hand-crafted products en-masse through technological innovation. His practice, in collaboration with Professor Mark Bloomfield, includes the development of Modeclix, the world’s first fully customizable 3D printed textile. Modeclix has been nominated for a numerous international 3D print awards.
Vivianne is a UX Researcher with 7+ years of psychology and research experience spanning multiple contexts, cultures, and industries whose work and opinions have been written about in Slate and Fortune. Currently she is working at Salesforce where she leverages research to help C-suite executives across various industries and companies develop innovative, human-centered approaches to business problems and convey what is meaningful to their internal and external customers.
Prior to becoming a UX Researcher, she worked primarily in the arenas of counseling and human services, tackling issues like shame, empathy, vulnerability, and compassion. Vivianne credits her previous experience as a human services professional, her multi-cultural upbringing, and her love for psychology as major influences on her approach to research and innovation.
Cindy Chastain is currently Senior VP of Global Customer Experience & Design at MasterCard. Before joining MasterCard, she was a CX strategist and Executive Creative Director at R/GA, named Digital Agency of the Decade by Adweek. Her roster of clients included Nike, Volvo, HP, Verizon, Qantas Airlines, Walmart, BBC Worldwide, GlaxoSmith Klein, Showtime, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Pfizer and HSBC. Cindy received her MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University in New York and a BS in Radio, TV, Film from Northwestern University.
At IBM Watson Health, Astrid leads trans-disciplinary teams focused on user experience design related to AI and healthcare. She is passionate about consumer health products and services that facilitate behavior activation and change. Astrid serves as a board member for the User Experience Professionals’ Association (UXPA) Boston Chapter. Additionally, she is a frequent guest speaker and panelist at events such as the IA Summit, O’Reilly’s AI Conference, and UXSTRAT conference, where she has presented her series, "Ethics & AI: Designing for Healthcare". She holds an MBA in Strategy and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University.
Theresa Fitzgerald leads brand design at Sesame Workshop, the global nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, with the mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder. The work includes telling the mission story across the organization including the MacArthur 100&Change with IRC and Lego Foundation, Sesame Street in Communities, philanthropic giving, as well as digital platforms, theme parks and consumer products. She has deep expertise in the growing children's brands by elevating design excellence for Scholastic, Discovery Toys, National Geographic, Peanuts and Nickelodeon.Theresa is committed to design education, collaborations and speaking engagements. Adjunct professor at NYU Steinhardt since 2010. Partnered with RIT Metaproject 09 Industrial Design students to re-imagine play. On education council Brooklyn STEAM Center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Speaking engagements include Brand New Conference, AIGA NY, School of Visual Arts, Portfolio Center/Atlanta, Parsons, and HOW Design Conference.
Sara Frisk is a Senior Director and Research Lead for Salesforce’s Office of Innovation. From Pentagram to IDEO, her career spans human centered research and design, graphic design, communication design, brand strategy, and design thinking. Sara's work has been recognized by Print, Fast Company, IDSA, GOOD, AIGA and the Society of Typographic Arts. She is honored to currently serve on AIGA's National Board of Directors.
Jarrett Fuller is a designer, writer, educator, and podcaster. He runs twenty-six, a multidisciplinary design and editorial studio; hosts Scratching the Surface, a weekly podcast about design criticism; and teaches in both undergraduate and graduate programs at Pratt Institute, The New School Parsons School of Design, and the University of the Arts. He previously worked as a designer at Facebook, Warby Parker, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. He received his BFA in graphic design from Kutztown University and his MFA in graphic design and critical studies from Maryland Institute College of Art. He lives in Brooklyn.
Gendron has spent most of his professional life at the intersection of media, innovation, entrepreneurship, and higher education. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence at MIT’s Integrated Design and Management graduate program. IDM was created to foster the development of leaders who will bring new levels of creativity, vision, and integrity to business and society. The curriculum combines the inspired, intuitive methods taught in the world’s best design schools with the systematic, analytical methods of the world’s leading engineering and business schools.
Gendron is the Co-founder and Creative Director of The Solo Project, a new research and media venture designed to support the rapidly growing population of independent creatives and professionals working on projects in small teams.
Gendron served as the Editor-in-Chief of Inc. Magazine for two decades, guiding the publication from a start-up through its sale to Bertelsmann, the $20 billion German media company, in 2000. Under his direction, Inc. became the world’s premiere magazine for the founders and CEOs of small- to mid-sized growing businesses as well as the founders and leaders of ambitious new social ventures.
Sara Hendren is an artist, design researcher, writer, and professor at Olin College of Engineering. Her work includes social design projects and mixed media collaborations that engage technology and the adaptive human body. Combining disability studies and critical design, her practice is a restless mix of engineering and the arts in pursuit of sharper questions about human capacity, worth, and interdependence. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad and is held in the permanent collections at MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt Museum. Sara is an Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow at the New America think tank and is at work on her first book, on the unexpected places where disability is at the heart of design, forthcoming from Riverhead/Penguin Random House.
Titus Kaphar is an artist whose paintings, sculptures, and installations examine the history of representation by transforming its styles and mediums with formal innovations to emphasize the physicality and dimensionality of the canvas and materials themselves. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as the “past” in order to unearth its contemporary relevance. He cuts, crumples, shrouds, shreds, stitches, tars, twists, binds, erases, breaks, tears, and turns the paintings and sculptures he creates, reconfiguring them into works that reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history. Open areas become active absences; walls enter into the portraits; stretcher bars are exposed; and structures that are typically invisible underneath, behind, or inside the canvas are laid bare to reveal the interiors of the work. In so doing, Kaphar’s aim is to reveal something of what has been lost and to investigate the power of a rewritten history.
Titus Kaphar was born in 1976 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and lives and works in New Haven, CT. Kaphar received an MFA from the Yale School of Art and is a distinguished recipient of numerous prizes and awards including a 2014 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Fellowship, a 2015 Creative Capital grant, a 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant, a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grant and the 2018 Rappaport Prize. In late 2014, Kaphar created a painting in response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown that was featured in TIME magazine. He gave a TED talk at the annual conference in Vancouver 2017, where he completed a whitewash painting, Shifting the Gaze, onstage. Kaphar’s work has been included in solo exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1 and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, among others. His work is included in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, AK; the 21C Museum Collection; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; and the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami, FL, amongst others.
Sheila Kennedy received her Bachelor's Degree in history, philosophy and literature from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. Kennedy studied architecture at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and received the Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University where she won the SOM National Traveling Fellowship and was graduated with Distinction, the School's highest academic honor. As Associate Professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Kennedy was Director of the M Arch II Program from 1991-1995 and is currently Professor of the Practice of Architecture at MIT.
As a Principal of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd. (KVA), over 15 years Sheila Kennedy has established an internationally recognized design practice that explores architecture, digital technology and emerging public needs. Designated as one of Fast Company’s Masters of Design, Kennedy is described as an “insightful and original thinker who is designing new ways of working, learning, leading and innovating”. Kennedy's creative problem definition and concept creation strategy for clients helps her direct MATx, the materials research unit at KVA. MATx works collaboratively with business leaders, manufacturers, cultural institutions and public agencies to apply creative production across the fields of design, electronics, architecture and material science. MATx has developed designs and technology applications for Dupont, Siemens, Osram, Herman Miller, Saint-Gobain, The North Face, the City of Porto in Portugal, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States Department of Energy. The MATx Portable Light Project, a non-profit global initiative that enables people in the developing world to create and own portable energy harvesting solar textile kits has been recognized with a 2012 Energy Globe Award, 2009 US Congressional Award, a 2009 Energy Globe Award and a 2008 Tech Museum Laureate Award for technology that benefits humanity.
Kennedy's work has been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the International Rotterdam Biennale, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA), and the Museum of Modern Art's (MoMA) “Design & the Elastic Mind” exhibition on breakthrough designs for new technologies. Kennedy has served as an advisor to the United States Department of Energy, the National Academy of Sciences' Government-Industry Partnerships, and the Vision 2020 National Technology Roadmap. She is the author of multiple patents for the integration of digital technologies into architecture, building materials and textiles. Kennedy's research and work in architecture have been recognized by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Academy of Sciences.
David Sun Kong is a Synthetic Biologist, community organizer, musician, and photographer based in Lexington, MA. He is the Director of the MIT Media Lab's new Community Biotechnology Initiative. Our mission: empowering communities through biotechnology. David is a pioneer in developing "lab-on-a-chip" technologies for synthetic biology and a leader in the global community biology movement. He conducted his graduate studies at MIT’s Media Lab, receiving a Master's degree for developing technology for printing nanostructures with energetic beams and a Ph.D. for demonstrating the first gene synthesis in a microfluidic (“lab-on-a-chip”) system. He was recognized as an emerging leader in synthetic biology as a "LEAP" fellow, served as a guest faculty member at the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole, MA, and is co-founder and managing faculty of "How To Grow (Almost) Anything, an international course on synthetic biology. He founded and chaired new Microfluidic and Hardware Tracks for the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) and is the official iGEM DJ. He was Technical Staff in the Bioengineering Systems & Technologies group at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and a founding member of the synthetic biology team. He is also the founder of Metafluidics, an open repository for fluidic systems. He has also worked as a community organizer for more than a decade and is the founder and director of EMW, an art, technology, and community space in Cambridge, MA. EMW's mission is to empower communities through the transformative power of artistic expression. We emphasize serving marginalized communities and develop all of our programming with values rooted in social justice. Our community programs explore expressive forms ranging from poetry to electronic music, beatboxing to bio-hacking and more.
Gene Lee is the SVP of CX & Design at Mailchimp. Partnering closely with marketing, product, engineering, and customer support, Gene and his team are responsible for connecting the dots across Mailchimp’s brand to drive customer loyalty and continued brand affinity. Previously, Gene served as head of UX Design at Sony PlayStation leading a global, multidisciplinary team responsible for PlayStation’s products and services across console, web, mobile, and VR. He’s also worked for Razorfish, Young & Rubicam, Landor Associates, Scholastic, and Nickelodeon.
As the Assistant Director of Design and Construction at the Department of the Neighborhood Development (DND), Jay is responsible for managing the design and construction of new and rehabilitated residential, commercial and open space development for the department. Jay works within the Neighborhood Housing Division which provides loans and grants to non-profit and for-profit partners to develop & preserve affordable housing and create neighborhood open spaces, community gardens and urban farms for the City of Boston and its residents. Jay’s staff assist within planning initiatives, community process presentations and reviews projects in the design phase & monitors the construction. Jay attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
Melina Isabel López is the CPO of Praxis Labs, a social impact focused venture that advances diversity and inclusion outcomes through Virtual Reality (VR) based learning experiences. Her experience as a queer Mexican-American motivate her to tell the untold stories of marginalized and historically underrepresented people. As a Visual Artist and Engineer, she leads Praxis Labs' VR team and designs and builds out both the cinematic narrative storytelling and technological elements of Praxis Labs' learning experiences. Melina is pursuing a B.S. in Product Design and Minor in Computer Science at Stanford University. She got her start in VR at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, where she is now a mentor; she also founded Stanford’s SIGGRAPH Chapter for Computer Graphics. Melina is driven to create awareness of societal issues so that people can address them and work together to create a more equitable society.
Roman Mars is the host and creator of 99% Invisible, a short radio show about design and architecture. With over 350 million downloads, the 99% Invisible podcast is one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Fast Company named him one of the 100 Most Creative People in 2013. He was a TED main stage speaker in 2015. It is currently the most popular TED Talk about design with over 5 million views. His crowd funding campaigns have raised over $4 million and he's the highest-funded journalist in Kickstarter history. He is also a co-founder of Radiotopia, a collective of ground-breaking independent podcasts.
Ellen is an award-winning feature writer who also covers race, culture, and leadership in a daily column for Fortune called RaceAhead. Her reporting has taken her inside the C-Suites of Facebook, Nike, Twitter, Intel, Xerox and Cisco; on the campaign trail with Barack Obama and across Africa with Bono to study breakthrough philanthropy. In the past, she’s written for Time, Money and Fast Company, where she wrote or contributed to more than twenty cover stories, and created the digital series the 30 Second MBA. Back when the web was young, she was the founder of a financial website for women called "Cassandra’s Revenge," and established similar sites for AOL and Oxygen Media. Ellen was the lead editor for Your First Leadership Job, a book published by Wiley in 2015. She attended Brown University and is on the board of L’Ecole de Choix, an elementary school in Mirebalais, Haiti.
Georgia Messinger is the co-founder and COO of Trill Project (Target Incubator '19). Originally from Los Angeles, California, Georgia is now a sophomore at Harvard University studying psychology and computer science. Trill Project is a gen-z powered, free to download mobile application that offers anonymous and safe peer support to people struggling with mental health, those identifying LGBTQ+, or anyone else looking to feel a sense of belonging and security. Trill Project has been designed to prioritize moderation, emergency crisis resource intervention, and eliminate trolls from the platform. And because of this, Trill's user base has organically grown to tens of thousands people across the world in a little over a year. Outside of Trill, Georgia embraces roles on her college campus as a member of Harvard Women in Computer Science, Harvard Ventures, and Harvard Women in Business. Georgia deeply believes that technology, design, and innovation can be used together in business to make the world a more equitable place for all people.
As Founder and Creative Director of LLM, Leila is an expert at communicating identity and information to shape experiences that connect people to place. With more than 20 years of design experience in a variety of disciplines, her process begins with engaging the collective voice and ends with capturing the audience in a compelling story. Whether it is environmental graphics design, wayfinding and signage programs, marketing campaigns, or branded interiors, Leila turns the design focus onto the end users who will be sharing the built environment. Leila earned a B.S. in Architecture from The University of Virginia and an M.F.A from The Dynamic Media Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Leila is also currently an adjunct professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, College of Architecture and Design, and is a Board Member of the Design Museum Foundation. Most recently, she was selected to join the Massachusetts College of Art’s Alumni Leadership Council.
Deanna Murshed is a researcher, digital strategist, and budding cultural theorist/theologian. She joined Salesforce’s Office of Innovation in 2017, after 20+ years of academic work and consulting for some of the world’s most recognizable brands across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. She is most passionate when the why, what and how of project work are aligned to solve meaningful human problems – having helped propel two books on faith-based activism to the New York Times best sellers list as well as founding Do Good Strategies, a social innovation practice. She holds degrees in English and Fine Arts from The George Washington University and a masters degree in Faith and Culture from Trinity International University.
Mr. Rhee is an impact-focused entrepreneur, investor, operator and educator. As both CEO and investment firm founder, Mr. Rhee has generated market-leading returns by designing and executing upon bespoke capital (financial and human) and operational solutions that involve the seamless application of contemporaneous algorithmic, technological, branding and cultural change. He has forged a uniquely diverse and global network, knowledge base and track record that span the private equity, retail/consumer, venture and media/technology communities.
At Ashley Stewart, as Chairman and CEO and investor, Mr. Rhee has authored and led an innovative and progressive complement of marketing, philosophical and mathematical changes that have transformed a twice bankrupt, unprofitable brick-and-mortar retailer with decades of operating losses into an industry leader founded upon a values-based, social commerce paradigm. FirePine Group, the investment firm he founded in 2009, invests the capital of some of the world’s most sophisticated investors and their family offices to successfully fuel and realize transformative and impactful change in multiple enterprises, including Ashley Stewart.
Prior to this, Mr. Rhee was a senior investment professional at two leading, Boston-based investment firms. Mr. Rhee has been a visiting lecturer at Duke Law School since 2016, where he teaches his proprietary valuation, financial literacy and joy/goodwill class. Mr. Rhee received his AB with honors from Harvard College and his JD with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is a former high school teacher.
Paula Scher is one of the most acclaimed graphic designers in the world. She has been a principal in the New York office of the distinguished international design consultancy Pentagram since 1991, where she has designed identity and branding systems, environmental graphics, packaging and publications for a wide range of clients that includes, among others, Citibank, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Shake Shack, the Museum of Modern Art, Tiffany & Co, the High Line, the Public Theater, the Metropolitan Opera, the Sundance Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
During the course of her career Scher has been the recipient of hundreds of industry honors and awards; she is a recipient of the National Design Award for Communication Design, the AIGA medal and the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, among others. Scher has served on the Public Design Commission of the City of New York from 2006- 2015. She is an established artist exhibiting worldwide, and her designs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Library of Congress, the Victoria and Albert Museum and other institutions.
She is the author of “Make It Bigger” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002) “MAPS” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011) and “Works” (Unit Editions, 2017). Scher holds a BFA from the Tyler School of Art and a Doctor of Fine Arts Honoris Causa from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the Maryland Institute College of Art and Moore College of Art and Design. A documentary on her and her work can be seen in the 2017 Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design.
Lisa Strausfeld is an information architect, data visualization entrepreneur and principal of Informationart. She currently holds a senior research position at The New School, where her focus is on envisioning a better future for our day-to-day information experiences.
From 2015 to 2017 Lisa served as Acting Global Creative Director of the Gallup Organization. Previously, she spent 3 years at Bloomberg LP, first as Global Head of Data Visualization and then as Creative Director of Bloomberg View. She built and led Bloomberg’s first data visualization team dedicated to creating a new genre of editorially driven interactive data products for Bloomberg’s consumer audience.mPrior to Bloomberg, Lisa was a partner at Pentagram from 2002 to 2011. Lisa left Pentagram to launch Major League Politics, a startup that measures and visualizes government activity with the goal of civic entertainment.
Lisa received the 2010 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Interaction Design. She holds four patents related to user interfaces, has been a Senior Scientist at the Gallup Organization since 2006 and has taught interactive design at the Yale School of Art and at NYU’s ITP program. Lisa has a BA from Brown in art history and computer science, an M Arch in architecture from Harvard and an MS from the MIT Media Lab.
Skylar Tibbits is the founder of the Self-Assembly Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Assistant Professor of Design Research in the Department of Architecture.
Tibbits has a professional degree in architecture and a minor in experimental computation from Philadelphia University, and a masters in design computation and masters computer science from MIT. He has worked at a number of renowned design offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture and Point b Design, and is the founder of multidisciplinary design practice SJET LLC.
He has designed and built large-scale installations and exhibited in galleries around the world, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York. His work has been published extensively, for example in the New York Times, Wired and Fast Company, as well as in various peer-reviewed journals and books. He is the author of the book Self-Assembly Lab: Experiments in Programming Matter (Routledge, 2016), and Active Matter (MIT Press, 2017) also Editor-In-Chief of the journal 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.
Awards include LinkedIn's Next Wave Award for Top Professionals under 35 (2016), R&D Innovator of the Year (2015), National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2015), an Inaugural WIRED Fellowship (2014), the Architectural League Prize (2013), Ars Electronica Next Idea Award (2013), TED Senior Fellowship (2012) and 2008 he was named a Revolutionary Mind by SEED magazine.
Dr. Camille Verovic is a physician - currently a 3rd year dermatology resident - and the Founder of GIRL+HAIR, an innovative multicultural hair care brand. Because of her busy schedule, protective styling has always been a great solution. For years, she’s worn protective styles, but she struggled to properly maintain her natural hair while wearing hair extensions or braids resulting in extensive hair breakage. Based on her personal frustration and armed with her medical knowledge and desire to find the best ingredients for optimal hair health, she created UNDER HAIR CARE™, a novel hair care line now found in Target, Sally Beauty, Harmon Face Values, and Ricky’s NYC. The success of UNDER HAIR CARE™, hinges on Camille’s innate ability to listen to the natural hair community and her clinical experience as a dermatology resident. She has used her background and expertise to brand and produce smart, result driven products. Camille graduated in 2001 from University of Central Florida with a marketing degree and in 2014 from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine with her degree in medicine. She resides in New York City with her husband and business partner and her young daughter. She is a visionary leader and driven entrepreneur with deep interest in marketing and social media. She is also a caring physician who is passionate about health and wellness in underserved communities.
Josef Verovic is a German-trained lawyer with more than 15 years’ experience working in international law and managing advocacy projects globally. In 2014, Josef turned entrepreneur when he, together with his wife and business partner, co-founded GIRL+HAIR, an innovative multicultural hair care brand. Within the last couple of years, he has led GIRL+HAIR to grow from an online business to expanding its distribution in now over 500 retail locations across the United States, including Target.
Caroline A. Wanga is Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Vice President of Human Resources at the Target Corporation. She leads Target's strategic intent to champion an inclusive society with accountability for inclusive guest experiences, a diverse and inclusive work environment, and societal impact. As a cultural catalyst, she fuels Target’s business objectives through the company’s first-ever performance based D&I goals. Launched in 2015, Supplier Diversity, Marketing, Philanthropy, Retention, Hiring, Representation and Engagement have significantly improved.
Caroline began her Target career in supply chain in 2005, serving in a variety of transformational leadership roles, including modernizing Supply Chain, Business Intelligence, Digital and Strategy capabilities prior to joining the Diversity & Inclusion team, in 2014.
Caroline earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas College, and is an inspirational thought leader and public speaker. Her innovative shared-accountability approach to driving business results is featured in The Innovation Mentality by Glenn Llopis, Our Search For Belonging by Howard Ross, and The Multiplier Effect of Inclusion by Dr. Tony Byers. She is a Kenyan Citizen, Top Executive in Diversity by Black Enterprise, a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the Talladega College Board of Trustees, the Intersectionality, Culture, and Diversity Advisory Board for Twitter, and a co-chair of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. Her greatest life accomplishment is her daughter, Cadence.
Todd Waterbury is Target’s Chief Creative Officer. In his role, Todd establishes the creative vision and direction of Target’s marketing efforts, leading an internal team of art directors, designers, developers, writers and producers, as well as its external agency and design partners. Together, they craft the creative content and experience for the Target brand from its Owned Brands to innovative partnerships with Vogue and The Grammys.
Todd has extensive experience in creating strategic, highly-integrated marketing and design work for a broad roster of international clients. He joined Target in January 2013. Before that, the consulting company he established worked with clients including Uniqlo and designing the Twitter logo. Prior to that, Todd served as co-executive creative director at Wieden+Kennedy New York, an agency where he oversawcampaigns for brands ranging from Nike, ESPN to Delta Airlines.
Todd’s work has received numerous design and advertising awards, and is included in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art. Todd is also proud to serve as Board Vice President of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
Denis Weil (MDes 2001) is the dean of the Institute of Design at Illinois Tech. He is a proven design leader with a passion for advancing the practice of design to create new solutions and approaches to entrenched problems, through both practice and teaching. For more than a dozen years, he has driven design and innovation in leadership positions at organizations such as McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, and IDEO. Most recently, Denis has applied his design leadership to driving innovation in the social and public sectors, serving as a design advisor to a range of social and civic organizations including Bloomberg Philanthropies, Year Up, Mercy Corps, and Sanergy.
Nico Wheadon is the executive director of NXTHVN, a multidisciplinary arts incubator in New Haven, Connecticut. She is also an adjunct assistant professor of Art History and Africana Studies at Barnard College, and Professional Practices at Hartford Art School within the interdisciplinary MFA program. Wheadon is an independent writer and regular contributor to The Brooklyn Rail, Artnet and C&, with her first manuscript slated for publication by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020. She is the former director of public programs and community engagement at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she was celebrated for the pioneering artist projects, community engagement initiatives, and strategic partnerships she delivered during her five-year tenure. She has lectured internationally at universities, conferences and symposia, and currently serves on the advisory boards for More Art, and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. Through her highly collaborative and experimental practice, Wheadon mines the rich intersections of contemporary art, dialogic pedagogy and social practice. She holds an MA in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmith's College, University of London, and a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University.
Sarah E. Williams is the Homer A. Burnell (1928) Career Development Chair of Technology and Urban Planning at MIT, where she directs the Civic Data Design Lab. Her research uses data analytics, sensors, and interactive design strategies to communicate and change urban policies. Williams has been recognized as a Top 25 Thinker at the Intersection of Planning and Technology by Planetizen and a Game Changer by Metropolis Magazine. Her design work has been widely exhibited, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, La Biennale di Venezia, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. Her current exhibition, “Moving in Nairobi: Stories of Urban Mobility” is on view at the Seoul Biennial Exhibition, through January 2021 2019. Williams earned a BA in Geography and History from Clark University, studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, and earned an Master's in City Planning degree from MIT.
Dr. Wisnieff joined IBM in 1986 after earning a Ph.D. in Applied Physics. He is the Chief Technology Officer for the IBM Quantum Computing program, a joint effort of IBM Systems and IBM Research. Dr. Wisnieff has been a member of the Defense Science Board for the US Department of Defense since 2010. Prior to this role, he managed a group focused on finding novel quantum computing simulation techniques and applications of quantum computing. He served as Senior Manager of the Microelectronics Research Laboratory, Interconnect Technology and the Advanced Display Technology Laboratory, prior to that he spent a year in a staff position for the Research Vice Present of Strategy and Planning. Prior to that position, he pursued applied research and held first level management positions in the flat panel display research program.
Forest Young is a global design leader, educator and speaker. He is a Principal at Wolff Olins — which was recently named Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company for Design. Here, he leads initiatives for the world’s most influential companies and cultural institutions, based in San Francisco. Select clients include Apple, Uber, Microsoft and Modern Fertility. Prior to joining Wolff Olins, Forest was the Executive Creative Director at West, leading design across a portfolio of early stage companies — such as the groundbreaking Impossible Foods, Sean Parker's Airtime, and the mCommerce platform Spring.
Forest is an MFA critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art, where he is also a distinguished alumnus and recipient of the Mark Whistler Prize. He recently served on the Board of Directors for AIGA NY, and his work has been exhibited at MoMA, the Royal College of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and at international biennials. He has received the industry's highest design accolades including the Gold Design Lion at Cannes and the Art Directors Club Black Cube.
His passion lies at the intersection of storytelling, universal design and futurism. He was invited by the California College of the Arts to envision and teach the inaugural MFA course in Future Design. Forest has delivered keynote lectures on behalf of the AIGA, Yale School of Art, SXSW, Adobe, RISD, Ico-D, Typographics, and DesignThinkers. Forest earned a BS in Human Development from Cornell University.
Daniella Zalcman is a Vietnamese-American documentary photographer based between Paris and New York. She is a multiple grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a fellow with the International Women's Media Foundation, a National Geographic Society Grantee, and the founder of Women Photograph, a non-profit working to elevate the voices of women and non-binary visual journalists worldwide.
While studying architecture at Columbia University, Daniella got her start as a newspaper photographer freelancing for the New York Daily News and The Wall Street Journal. She began her photojournalism career covering then Senator Barack Obama on the 2008 campaign trail, the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the independence of South Sudan in 2011. After a few years as a news photographer, she began to shift to longform documentary projects. Her work now tends to focus on the legacies of western colonization, from the rise of homophobia in East Africa to the forced assimilation education of Indigenous children in North America. Her ongoing project, Signs of Your Identity, is the recipient of the 2017 Arnold Newman Prize, a 2017 Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award, the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award, the 2016 Magnum Foundation's Inge Morath Award, and part of Open Society Foundation's Moving Walls 24.
Daniella is a member of the board of trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund and the board of directors of the ACOS Aliiance. She loves teaching and spends as much time in classrooms as she can.