[Speaker] Orlando Almonte is the Language Access Program Manager for the City of Philadelphia under the Office of Immigrant Affairs. The Language Access Program is a city-wide program that bridges the gap between people with limited English proficiency (LEP) and government services. Current projects include overseeing development and implementation of language access plans for all city departments, agencies, boards and commissions, managing language service contracts, and exploring innovative solutions for language barriers. Before working for the City, Orlando spent a couple of years working in language services in Philadelphia and a non-profit on language access in Washington DC.
[Speaker] As creative director for The Lab, Sean oversees design projects and has led the development of the design training offered at The Lab. Prior to joining The Lab, Sean founded several design initiatives ranging from developing data visualization kits for post-disaster response to designing a platform for crowd-driven urban development in low income communities. Sean has a master’s in transdisciplinary design from Parsons School of Design in New York.
[Speaker] Jessica Brooks is the Assistant Director of Financial Empowerment Centers at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). The Financial Empowerment Center initiative is the first publicly-funded financial counseling program in the country. Jessica oversees the network of over 20 Centers as well as OFE’s other financial counseling programs, including La Ventanilla de Asesoría Financiera at the Mexican Consulate. Jessica has been in the financial capability field since 2003. She has many years of direct service as a financial counselor both at her own branch office in Chicago, as well as on a national hotline. She has extensive expertise and certifications, including debt management programs, housing counseling, reverse mortgages, and bankruptcy counseling. Jessica holds a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Washington - Seattle and is currently pursuing an M.P.A. at Baruch College.
[Speaker] Sarah Brooks was most recently the politically appointed Chief Design Officer at Veterans Affairs, part of the team leading the Department’s transformation efforts. She has been leading the team responsible for a dynamic portfolio of Design projects aimed at ensuring VA delivers seamless customer experiences that serve 9 million Veterans and their families.
For the past 15 years, Sarah has led multi-disciplinary teams at startups, design studios and organizations of all scales. She is an active essayist, published author, and educator. From 2014-2015 she served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, and was named one of DC’s 50 Powerful Women in Design by FemTech in 2015.
[Panel Lead] Andrew Buss is the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Innovation Management within Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology. Aligned closely with the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, the Innovation Management group focuses on developing capacity for innovation within municipal government and finding ways to make technology available, accessible, and useful to the public. Most recently, Andrew and his team developed an Academy for Municipal Innovation in collaboration with a local university, designed and opened a municipally-operated Innovation Lab, and launched an Innovation Fund to resource pilot projects. The Innovation Management team is now focused on using the City’s increased capacity for innovation to explore an in-government innovation consulting model. Prior to managing the innovation portfolio, Andrew directed Philadelphia’s implementation of the KEYSPOT program, a citywide network of 77 technology-enabled community centers. Before joining city government, Andrew earned a Master’s Degree in Geography from Temple University in Philadelphia and continues to teach in that department as adjunct faculty.
[Organizer] As Director of Policy, Anjali works closely with the executive team to forward the Administration’s priorities under Mayor James F. Kenney. Anjali coordinates policy development to ensure the success of important long-term investments such as PHL Pre-K, community schools, and systemic improvements to parks, recreation centers and libraries. Anjali was instrumental in garnering support for Mayor Kenney’s first budget proposal, which introduced a new revenue source, the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
In an effort to improve local quality of life outcomes through evidence based tools and tactics, Anjali leads the City’s GovLabPHL entity, a multi-agency team focused on developing innovative and evidence-based practice in city government. The GovLabPHL team is spearheading a citywide behavioral science initiative in partnership with academic institutions, and exploring the use of human-centered design to optimize City program and service delivery. Anjali also works closely with City Council to sustain a shared agenda that will improve the education, health and prosperity of children and families across the city of Philadelphia for years to come. Anjali, a graduate of Temple University’s School of Public Health previously served as a City Council staffer for 10 years, and is currently a PhD candidate at the Mayes College for Healthcare Business and Policy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
[Speaker] Angela is a strategist at 18F, a civic consultancy for the government within the General Services Administration that works with agencies to rapidly deploy digital services that are easy to use, cost efficient, and reusable. Previously she worked Electronic Ink in Philadelphia. She has written for A List Apart, Contents Magazine and is co-author of the chapter on low literacy in Eye Tracking in User Experience Design.
[Organizer] Liana Dragoman is a service design strategist and design researcher with extensive years of diverse design experience in the academic, public, and private sectors. Twice, she was a Service Design Fellow with the Public Policy Lab—working with NYC Housing Preservation and Development to enhance the affordable housing application process and the Department of Veterans Affairs Innovation Team to increase access to mental health care services for Veterans. Liana holds an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor's degree in Media Studies from Chatham College for Women. Currently, she is a User Experience Strategist with the Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation where she leads design research efforts to transform City services. She is also on the working boards of Take a Sistah to Lunch and South Kensington Community Partners.
[Organizer] Matthew has brings 10 years of legal, policy, and executive experience as an attorney, Homeland Security Grant Program manager for the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management and southeastern Pennsylvania region, Special Assistant to the City of Philadelphia Revenue Commissioner, and Director of Policy for the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. Matthew seeks to implement innovative, effective, and efficient policies and programs that improve the lives of vulnerable Philadelphians.
[Speaker] Masha Gindler leads a movement within city government to make services more accessible to New Yorkers by leveraging digital and tech tools. Her work touches 8.5 million New Yorkers and 300K City employees. She is currently working on implementing NYC's Digital Playbook, a set of over 90 initiatives that will transform the digital experience New Yorkers. Prior to her role in the Mayor's Office of Digital Strategy, Masha led digital engagement campaigns that caught the attention of NBC, NYC Daily News and more. She started her career as a freelance media producer. Masha graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Psychology and Philosophy and was born in Ukraine.
[Organizer] Anthony Guido is a hybrid practicing industrial designer and design educator focused on transformative products, services, and systems. As associate professor and program director in the Industrial Design Program at The University of the Arts, Tony works in the development of creative, human-centered design tools and methods for learning how to learn in a rapidly changing world. As industrial designer he focuses on optimizing design for society, the environment, and business. Tony began his dual career in design education and industrial design practice working in Europe, the US, and Japan for several large companies, start-up ventures, and universities. Tony has created and led industrial design studios and academic departments on the east and west coasts of the US with his design work published in design journals worldwide as the recipient of national and international awards for design excellence. Reflecting on a career of helping others to learn and grow while also practicing industrial design, Tony has realized that whole systems strategic sustainable development is a core value of his career and life.
[Speaker] Sara Hall is a user experience designer at Jefferson’s Center for Digital Innovation and Consumer Experience (CDICE). Her philosophy is rooted in the importance of gaining a complete understanding of complex problems—enabling her to create sustainable solutions that improve the existing
As a vital member of CDICE, Sara works on a diverse range of initiatives, creating rich innovative experiences, designed to transform healthcare. These collaborations with both clinical & non-clinical stakeholders, improve the lives of patients & their families, while simultaneously advancing the efficiency of clinical practices.
Sara holds a bachelor of Architecture from Philadelphia University and master’s of Industrial Design from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, pairing a strong design foundation with human-centered design principles.
Sara engages with the Philadelphia community as a founder of "Ladies that UX PHL" and often attends other technology and design events in the area.
[Speaker] As Director of Innovation for Independence Blue Cross, Michelle uses Design Thinking to help creatively solve the most challenging issues in health care. She loves drawing the creativity out of people and teaching them that even the most technical or data-driven people can be creative! To do this, Michelle draws on her background in Learning and Development, where she spent most of her career, and retail. She has been with IBC for 15 years and previously worked with LA Weight Loss and Nordstrom, where she gained a wealth of customer experience insights.
When she’s not drawing flip charts and ideating, Michelle spends her time in South Philly with her husband and three amazing boys, who do their best to exhaust her tireless energy.
[Speaker] Lee-Sean Huang is a New York City-based designer and educator focused on community-centered and participatory design. He is a co-founder and creative director of Foossa. He is also an affiliate faculty member at the Parsons DESIS Lab, where he has been working on a Design for Financial Empowerment (DFE.NYC) project to deploy service design to increase financial counseling client retention and to improve the long-term effectiveness of the counseling services. Highlights from his other recent work include: advising the United Nations on the creation of an internal innovation team, helping an international labor union think through the future of organizing in the digital age, collaborating with the European Commission to research and design new interfaces for large-scale civic debate, and co-creating new experiences at the Kigali Genocide Memorial with Rwandan genocide survivors.
[Organizer] Yuan serves as the Assistant Director of Policy at the Mayor's Office of Policy and Legislation. She works to advance the current Administration's policy priorities. Yuan’s work focuses on addressing policy issues regarding sustainability, education, and transportation. During the passage of the sweetened beverage tax, she led communication between Berkeley, CA and national health researchers. Yuan is a graduate of Temple University in Geography and Urban Studies.
[Speaker] Jennifer Kobrin joined the Office of Adult Education in September of 2013, where she is Director of myPLACE and Digital Initiatives. As lead on the myPLACE program, she manages a city-wide system of adult education, which places over 2,500 learners annually into adult literacy and ESL programming and tracks their progress through a central, cloud-based database. In her current role, she also focuses on issues relating to the digital divide in Philadelphia. She manages the KEYSPOT program for OAE, which consists of a network of 50 public access computing centers. Jennifer also directs myPLACE Online, a series of online courses for adult learners.
Prior to joining OAE, Jennifer was Senior Director at Foundations, Inc., where she designed professional development for K-12 educators, focusing on afterschool and expanded learning. Jennifer has an M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and has lived and worked in Spain, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.
[Speaker] Chelsea Mauldin is a social scientist and designer with a focus on government innovation. She directs the Public Policy Lab, a New York City nonprofit that designs better public services for low-income and at-risk Americans.
The Public Policy Lab partners with government agencies to develop more satisfying and effective services through ethnographic research, human-centered design, rapid prototyping, and formative evaluation. Find out more on PPL's website or on Twitter.
Previously, Chelsea consulted to municipal and federal agencies, directed a community-development organization, and led government partnerships at a public-space advocacy nonprofit. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics.
[Speaker] Arianne is the managing director for The Lab. She builds capacity for innovation among Federal employees by teaching human-centered design through both workshops and mentoring in addition to managing a variety of design projects that address the high-priority needs of OPM and other Federal agencies. Arianne came into the Federal Government as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after earning her master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan. Prior to that, Arianne worked to build and improve access to high quality public schools through a variety of organizations, including Chicago Public Schools, the U.S. Department of Education, and DonorsChoose.org.
[Event Moderator and Organizer] Natalie W. Nixon, PhD is a design strategist and a hybrid thinker. She applies her diverse background in anthropology, fashion, service design and dance to change lives through ideas. In her consultancy, Figure 8 Thinking, LLC she helps organizations design smarter processes and systems, build strategy, and develop leaders by teaching and applying the strategic design process. Natalie is the Founding Director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University and is a published author: the editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond and a regular contributor to INC.com online magazine on creativity and design thinking.
Her public speaking invitations have included the Business Innovation Factory, 360 Possibles (Saint Malo, France), Creative Mornings, TEDx Philadelphia, The Copenhagen Institute for Interactive Design, The European Innovation Academy (Nice, France), SEB Bank (Tallinn,Estonia), FUSE and the Mayo Clinic's Transform conference.
She serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Art Commission, the Arts & Business Council of Philadelphia, CultureWorks of Greater Philadelphia, and the Alumni Association of Vassar College.
Natalie earned her BA (Honors: Cum Laude) from Vassar College with a double major in Anthropology and Africana Studies; an MS in Global Textile Marketing from Philadelphia University (USA), Shenkar College (Israel) & Reutlingen University (Germany); and a PhD in Design Management from the University of Westminster, London.
[Speaker] Brad is one of the supervisors for the design team with 18F. His passion is finding the reason why wicked problems exist and finding ways to remove barriers that prevent people from accomplishing their goals.
[Organizer] Nandi serves as the Policy Analyst in the Mayor's Office of Policy and Legislation. Prior to the administration, Nandi worked as a staffer on Mayor James F. Kenney's successful general election campaign. Prior to that, Nandi worked to organize and mobilize community members in North Philadelphia in the capacity of a Field Fellow for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign while studying at Temple University. Nandi currently supports the work of the Policy office by conducting qualitative and quantitative research to better inform policy priorities. In her role, Nandi has the opportunity to analyze policy trends from other cities and evaluate feasible options for Philadelphia.
[Organizer] Graham O'Neill is the Administrator of Taxpayer Assistance Programs for the City of Philadelphia, Department of Revenue. Graham works with municipal and community partners to increase participation in taxpayer assistance programs, including the Owner Occupied Payment Agreement, the Homestead Exemption, the Senior Citizen Tax Freeze, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and others. Graham has also worked to expand and streamline Philadelphia residents' access to public benefits such as SNAP and Medicaid in previous positions with the City of Philadelphia, Mayor's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, and at Benefits Data Trust. Graham is also on board of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, as well as several other civic groups.
[Speaker] Whitney is co-director for the Center for Civic Design, which believes democracy is a design problem and wants every interaction with government to be an easy, effective experience. Civic Design is the home of the Field Guides to Ensuring Voter Intent and the Anywhere Ballot. Other projects include ElectionTools.org, designs for more useful voter guides, improving election materials, and best practices for more usable and accessible elections with election departments across the country. They also teach the first course in Election Design for the University of Minnesota Certificate in Election Administration. Whitney served on two Federal Advisory Committees, setting standards for voting system design and updating accessibility guidelines. Before founding the Center, Whitney worked with the National Cancer Institute, IEEE, The Open University (UK), and helped design the online “playbook” for emergency response. She teaches user research at Rutgers, and is the author of three books: A Web for Everyone, Global UX, and Storytelling for User Experience.
[Speaker] Marshall Sitten is Vice President of Communications, Policy and Research for Citi Community Development, which works alongside municipal, nonprofit and community partners to develop and support programs that increase financial access, affordability and resiliency for vulnerable and underserved households. In addition to his role at Citi, Marshall teaches graduate courses on service design at New York University and the School of Visual Arts. He collaborates on service design research and writing with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, and is the co-founder and head of the NYC chapter of the Service Design Network. Marshall completed his MBA in international organizations at the University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland, and received his B.A. in psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park.
[Speaker] Kel Smith is a design and technology advocate who works to remove barriers separating people from the things they fundamentally need. His areas of concentration include health literacy, food justice, affordable housing and digital accessibility. He is the author of the book Digital Outcasts: Moving Technology Forward Without Leaving People Behind, which explores the historical influence that people with disabilities have on design innovation. Mr. Smith has delivered over 100 presentations in seven countries, including talks at Google and the Royal National Institute of the Blind, and he has been interviewed on CBC Radio's "The Current," The Globe & Mail Canada, The Austin Chronicle and the BBC Ouch! Network. Mr. Smith teaches at the Center for Innovation Education at Rutgers University, and he volunteers for Global Minimum mentoring young entrepreneurs in Kenya and Sierra Leone. Mr. Smith serves his home of Philadelphia by sitting on the Inglis Foundation Board of Directors.
[Speaker] Eduardo Staszowski, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design. Staszowski is also the co-founder and Director of the Parsons DESIS Lab, an action-research laboratory created at The New School to advance the practice and discourse of design-led social innovation to foster more equitable and sustainable cities and practices. Eduardo's research interests center on the intersection of design, social innovation, and public policy, which has as its core the development of experimental yetpractical approaches to enhancing participation in policy development and public service design. Specifically he studies how design as a method, language and agency can act as an intermediary among different stakeholders and environments to create, orient and govern processes of social innovation and sustainability.
[Speaker] David Dylan Thomas has developed digital strategies for major clients in entertainment, healthcare, publishing, finance, and retail. A senior experience designer at Think Company, he serves as the head of Content Strategy Philly, founder of Content Camp, and the creator, director, and co-producer of Developing Philly, a web series about the rise of the Philadelphia tech community. He is the creator and host of the Cognitive Bias Podcast and has given standing-room-only presentations at TEDNYC, SXSW Interactive, and the Wharton Web Conference on content strategy and emerging content trends.
[Speaker] Matt Van Der Tuyn is the manager of design and strategy at Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation. In this role, Matt uses design as a tool to reframe some of health care’s most intractable problems, new and old - think divergently about solutions, rapidly test ideas, and ultimately take new care services to scale.
By co-designing with those on the front-lines of care Matt strives to build a capacity for design thinking, accelerate change, and encourage a culture of innovation across Penn Medicine.
Prior to joining the center in 2012, Matt worked with a number of non-profit organizations in the Philadelphia area using design to address issues such as civic engagement in blighted communities and living independently with disabilities.
Matt holds a Masters of Design, focused on design for social impact, from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
[Panel Lead] Stephanie Waters serves as the City’s Digital Director. The Digital Director works to ensure the Mayor’s Office uses technology to help build an effective and efficient government that is accessible for every neighborhood. Most recently, Waters served as the Digital Director on Jim Kenney’s successful bid for mayor. Previously, Waters served as the Digital Director on Martha Coakley’s 2014 campaign for Governor of Massachusetts and Barbara Buono’s 2013 campaign for governor of New Jersey. Before hitting the campaign trail, Waters worked as a producer at AKPD Message & Media where she helped craft TV ads for candidates including President Obama (2012), Christie Vilsack for Congress (2012), Mayor Anthony Foxx (2011) and Governor Deval Patrick (2010). Waters graduated with a B.A. from Emerson College.
[Organizer] Marisa Waxman serves as First Deputy Revenue Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia, and her work is focused on tax and water revenue policy and administration. Ms. Waxman began her government career with Philadelphia City Controller’s Office. Additionally, she held positions with the City of Philadelphia in the Office of Property Assessment and the Office of the Director of Finance. Ms. Waxman has also been a Senior Project Manager for the New York City Department of Finance, focusing on revenue collection and administration, and on staff at the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, concentrating on government performance improvements, budget analysis, and civic engagement. Ms. Waxman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Political Science and Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of American Planning Association, maintains accreditation with the American Institute of City Planning (AICP) and is active in several civic and non-profit organizations.
[Panel Lead] Tim Wisniewski is the Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia, where he and his team work with City departments to enhance transparency and civic engagement by publishing government data online, building websites, and digital services.
Before joining the Administration in January 2012, Tim was the Executive Director of the Frankford Special Services District, where he led efforts to revitalize the Frankford Avenue Business Corridor through public safety and beautification projects. As President of the 24th Police District Advisory Council, he also helped to form Somerset Neighbors, a civic association in Kensington.
A Philadelphia native, Tim is a graduate of Richmond, the American International University in London. He enjoys attending weekly Code for Philly hackathons and taking his dog, Decaf, to the dog park near his northern liberties home.