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Ayse Birsel is Co-founder and Creative Director of Birsel + Seck, an empathy-driven product design studio in New York City that partners with Fortune 500 clients to bring innovation to market. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and has received numerous awards, including the IDEA Gold and I.D. Magazine Excellence Awards, the 2001 Young Designer Award from The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Rhode Island School of Design’s 2008 Athena Award in Furniture Design. Birsel grew up in Izmir, Turkey, and originally came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar.
Frederick Steiner is Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. In 1998, he was the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize Fellow in Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, an Academic Fellow of the Urban Land Institute, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Steiner received his Ph.D. and MA degrees in City and Regional Planning and a Master of Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a Master of Community Planning and a BS in Design from the University of Cincinnati.
Jenna Lyons is currently the Creative Director of J.Crew, where her creativity and vision have been an integral part of the company’s recent turnaround. Lyons oversees not only the Men’s, Women’s, and Crewcuts lines, but also the catalog, store design, and jcrew.com. She has been the driving force behind the launch and development of J.Crew Weddings and Parties, J.Crew Collection, and J.Crew’s most recent addition, Crewcuts. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Lyons began her career with an internship at Donna Karan, then joined J.Crew as one of the first members of the design team under founder Emily Woods.
Karin Fong directs and designs for film, television, and environments. A Founding Partner of the company Imaginary Forces, Fong has designed title sequences for numerous feature films, including Ray, The Truman Show, Charlotte’s Web, and Terminator: Salvation. An Emmy award winner for television title design, Fong also directs commercials for Target, Chevrolet, Honda, and other clients. Her other projects include designing environments in Las Vegas and in New York’s Times Square and Lincoln Center. She teaches design for film and video at the Yale School of Art, and her work has appeared in The Pasadena Museum of California Art, The Wexner Center, and numerous design and film publications.
Lauren Rottet is the Founding Principal of Rottet Studio, an international team of architects and designers that creates interior environments by combining psychology, theater, art, architecture, and media. Her precise, architecturally driven design approach reflects her twenty-five years of professional practice and her commitment to improve the human experience through the built environment. She is one of only two designers to hold the coveted titles of Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture, Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame, and Contract magazine’s Designer of the Year. In 2006, she was inducted as an inaugural member of the Women in Design Hall of Fame.
Linda Boff is Global Director, Marketing Communications, at GE. In this role she is responsible for cross-business collaboration for key GE initiatives as well as for functional leadership of Marketing Communications across the company. Boff and her team drive digital strategy across GE and run the Digital COE. She is a former board member of the Alliance for the Arts, a New York City-based organization that promotes arts education and advocates funding for the arts. She is an active member and frequent speaker at communications venues, including the International Association for Business Communicators, Women in Communications, the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association, and the Promotional Marketers Association.
Mark Breitenberg is Provost at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland and President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), the largest design body in the world. As Dean at Art Center College of Design (2003-9), he created a new curriculum designed to lead the transdisciplinary complement of liberal arts and sciences to studio practice. He also established college-wide design-research programs as well as new science and business curricula. Breitenberg publishes and lectures widely on issues such as design-based learning, the interdisciplinary studio, design thinking, human-centered research, and narrative and the creative process.
Peter Hudson is Vice President of Footwear Design for Nike Inc., responsible for inspiring, directing, and developing Global Footwear Design for the Nike brand. He has previously served as Creative Director for Sport Performance at Nike, leading the footwear-design process across all categories and the integration of digital design tools. Hudson holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Design from Manchester Metropolitan University (Manchester Polytechnic) in the United Kingdom.
Sergio Palleroni is a Professor and Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Processes and Practices at Portland State University. He is the Founding Director of BASIC Initiative, a multidisciplinary fieldwork program which challenges students to apply their education to solve problems facing marginalized communities throughout the world. He has worked on sustainable architecture and community design for agencies such as UNESCO and World Bank and for governments such as Mexico, China, and Kenya. The author of Studio At Large: Architecture in Service of Global Communities and Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism, he appeared on the “Green for All” segment of the PBS series Design e2.