Speakers

<a name='dana-arnett'></a>Dana Arnett

Dana Arnett

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. 

<a name='ashleigh-axios'></a>Ashleigh Axios

Ashleigh Axios

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.

<a name='vivianne-castillo'></a>Vivianne Castillo

Vivianne Castillo

Vivianne is a UX Researcher with 7+ years of psychology and research experience spanning multiple contexts, cultures, and industries. 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.

<a name='cindy-chastain'></a>Cindy Chastain

Cindy Chastain

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.

<a name='jarrett-fuller'></a>Jarrett Fuller

Jarrett Fuller

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.

<a name='george-gendron'></a>George Gendron

George Gendron

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. 

<a name='sara-hendren'></a>Sara Hendren

Sara Hendren

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.

<a name='sheila-kennedy'></a>Sheila Kennedy

Sheila Kennedy

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.

<a name='david-kong'></a>David Sun Kong

David Sun Kong

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.

<a name='roman-mars'></a>Roman Mars

Roman Mars

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.

<a name='ellen-mcgirt'></a>Ellen McGirt

Ellen McGirt

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.

<a name='paula-scher'></a>Paula Scher

Paula Scher

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.

<a name='lisa-strausfeld'></a>Lisa Strausfeld

Lisa Strausfeld

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.

<a name='skylar-tibbits'></a>Skylar Tibbits

Skylar Tibbits

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.

<a name='sarah-williams'></a>Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams

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.  

<a name='forest-young'></a>Forest Young

Forest Young

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.

Hosts

<a name='michael-bierut'></a>Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut is a founding editor of Design Observer, and the co-editor of the five-volume series Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design published by Allworth Press. A monograph on his work, How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry and (every once in a while) change the world was published in 2015 by Harper Collins. A collection of recent essays, Now You See It, was published in 2017. Currently a senior critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art, he taught design with Jessica Helfand at Yale School of Management from 2016 to 2019.

Bierut worked for ten years at Vignelli Associates before joining the New York office of Pentagram as a partner in 1990. He served as president of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) from 1988 to 1990 and serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and the Library of America. He is a president emeritus of AIGA National. 

Michael Bierut was elected to the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 1989, to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in 2006. He was winner in the Design Mind category of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards in 2008, and of the Henry Wolf Residency in Graphic Design at the American Academy in Rome in 2016. 

<a name='jessica-helfand'></a>Jessica Helfand

Jessica Helfand

Jessica Helfand is an award-winning designer, artist and theorist. She is a founding editor of Design Observer, a former contributing editor and columnist for Eye magazine, and the co-host of two podcasts: The Observatory, and The Design of Business | The Business of Design. She received both her BA and MFA from Yale University, where she has taught since 1996. 

Helfand is the author of numerous books on design and cultural criticism, including Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture, Reinventing the Wheel, and Design: The Invention of Desire. Her next book, Face—a visual and cultural history of the human likeness—will be published by MIT Press in November. 

Jessica Helfand  was elected to the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2010, to the Alliance Graphique Internationale in 2011, and was awarded the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal, in 2013. She is a Life Fellow of the American Antiquarian Society, a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and a 2013 recipient of the AIGA Medal. Named the first Henry Wolf Resident in design at the American Academy in Rome in 2010, Jessica Helfand has been a Director’s Guest at Civitella Ranieri, and will be a fellow at the Bogliasco Foundation in the fall of 2019.

<a name='lee-moreau'></a>Lee Moreau

Lee Moreau

Lee Moreau is VP, Design at EPAM Continuum, a design and innovation consultancy based in Boston. As an architect turned strategist, he combines a unique capacity for complex systems thinking with a deeply empathic perspective, which he uses to critically engage and re-imagine the contemporary world. Through creative consulting engagements, Lee helps his clients lead efforts to understand their customers’ needs and values, implement new ideas and offerings, transform customer experiences, and foster cultural change within their organizations.

Lee has led service and experience design projects for a diverse group of clients—such as Southwest Airlines, BBVA, Google, P&G, Chili’s and Kaiser Permanente—that blur the boundaries between content and experience. Through research, analysis, and imagination, Lee helps Continuum’s clients understand their entanglement within their own complex set of cultural, material, and economic circumstances. Prior to joining Continuum, Lee was the Director of Environments at 2x4, and worked as a designer at IDEO and at the Rockwell Group.