IBM Distinguished Designer, Strategic Foresight
Sarah leads a Strategic Foresight practice within IBM design. Her 20+ years of research and practice center on the personal and organizational capabilities individuals and teams need to confidently navigate uncertainty, imagine, and work toward regenerative and equitable futures. She is an intrapreneur who has operationalized design education and practice across enterprise, startup, non-profit, Federal Government, and community contexts. She lives by the ocean in Montauk, New York with her husband Freddie and their dog, Juno.
Assistant Professor, Communication Design, Texas State University
Omari Souza is an assistant professor in the Communication Design program at Texas State University. He is the organizer of the State of Black Design Conference (online, April 2021). He previously organized and hosted a multipanel event titled "The State of Black Design" (online, Sept. 2020), which drew a live audience of 2,071 — the second-largest Livestream audience for an educational event in Texas State's history.
Omari is a first-generation American of Jamaican descent, raised in the Bronx, New York. Before arriving at Texas State, he gained work experience with companies and institutions such asVIBEmagazine, the buffalo News, CBS Radio, and Case Western Reserve University. He earned a BFA in Digital Media from Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA in Design from Kent State University. Omari's research explores the idea of perceptions and how visual narratives influence culture — how we view ourselves and others around us.
Equity Innovation Studio Director, Think Rubix
Dr. Pierce Otlhogile-Gordon is an innovation catalyst, researcher, facilitator, and evaluator, impassioned by the space between transformation and liberation.
As the Director of the Equity Innovation studio at Think Rubix, a Black-led social innovation consultancy. Dr. Gordon serves as a shepherd for Equity Innovation to shape our collective future.
He’s taught courses in design, evaluation, international development, and equity across four continents, co-designed partnerships, products, and services with local and international changemakers to support social change, and researched the complexity, evaluation, and emergence of design and innovation across the world.
What can we build together?
Acting Director of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar is the Nerman Family President-select of the Kansas City Art Institute.
Originally from Chennai, India, Ruki draws from her international experiences as a designer to reimagine education and improve access to creative career pathways. Most recently, she has served as the Acting Director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design museum. At the height of the pandemic, Ruki was the Smithsonian’s Acting Under Secretary for education, responsible for leading a Smithsonian-wide team that responded to the distance-learning needs of families that were caught in the digital divide. Ruki has also served as the Smithsonian’s Associate Provost for education and was Director of education at the Cooper Hewitt.
Before joining the Smithsonian in 2017, she was the Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she had advanced from Professor to Director of graduate programs and Chair of the Department of Design.
Ruki has served in leadership roles at all levels of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), including the AIGA Design Educators Community and local and national boards. She has been recognized by AIGA's Oklahoma Chapter with the Fellow Award in 2015 and her alma mater, Iowa State University with the Design Achievement Award in 2021.
Associate Professor, Critical Ethnic Studies / Founder & Principal, Public Design for Equity
Shalini Agrawal is trained as an architect and brings over 25 years of experience in community-engaged practice. She is founder of Public Design for Equity, a practice that re-envisions and activates new systems towards equity-driven outcomes, and Director of Pathways to Equity, a leadership experience for ethical community-engaged design. She is an award-winning educator at California College of the Arts as Associate Professor in Critical Ethnic Studies, Individualized, Interdisciplinary Design Studios and the Decolonial School. Shalini’s research and practice focuses on revealing the historical legacies of colonization in architecture and design and dismantling its lasting impacts.
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