Designing for Social Systems

DSS Global Facilitators

Thomas Both, DSS Director

Thomas Both, DSS Director

Thomas is Director of the Designing for Social Systems Program at the d.school. In this program, he leads a fellowship for accomplished professionals to learn and apply human-centered design to complex social challenges, and facilitates workshops for social impact leaders to develop a more human and strategic practice.

At the d.school since 2009, the core of his work has been to design immersive hands-on learning experiences that provoke students, fellows and professionals to try on new tools and behaviors, and develop their innovation practice. In a previous role, he created and facilitated the d.school workshops for executives, including the highly praised Design Thinking Bootcamp Executive workshop.

Thomas holds a Master degree in Design from Stanford, achieved after a prior career as a mechanical engineer.


Nadia Roumani, DSS Senior Designer

Nadia Roumani, DSS Senior Designer

Nadia is Senior Designer of the Designing for Social Systems Program at the d.school, and the Director of Stanford University’s Effective Philanthropy Lab. Nadia returned to Stanford in 2012 as an inaugural d.school fellow, applying design thinking to philanthropy. In 2014, she was named the Walter and Esther Hewlett Design Fellow with Stanford PACS.

Over the past two decades she has launched several organizations and initiatives including Stanford’s Effective Philanthropy Lab; the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) with Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University; the Women Leaders Intercultural Program with Ireland’s former President Mary Robinson; Global Policy Innovations Program at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs (CCEIA); the Building Bridges Program at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA); and the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) at the University of Southern California.

Nadia received her BA in economics and international relations from Stanford University and her MA in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is a board member of the El Hibri Foundation.


DSS Coaches

Tania Anaissie

Tania Anaissie

Tania Anaissie is the Founder and CEO of Beytna Design, an equity-design firm that supports social sector leaders to actualize their commitment to equity. She is a Founding Creator of Liberatory Design, a new practice of human-centered design that incorporates complexity theory and equity practice to drive innovation for equity by addressing root causes. Tania is a Founding Member of the Equity Design Collaborative, a group of leaders building the emerging Equity Design field. Tania is Faculty at The National Equity Project and a Lecturer at the Stanford University d.school. As the Course Production Lead at the d.school, Tania was on the team that built the Stanford 2025 project, managed 3 faculty and student programs, and served on the Teaching and Learning team, evolving the d.school's renowned pedagogy. Tania is an expert workshop designer and facilitator with over 9 years of experience leading workshops and classes in 12 countries for over 30 different clients and over 1000 learners. Tania is a graduate of Stanford University's Product Design program and a StartingBloc fellow.


Meenu Kaur Singh

Meenu Kaur Singh

Meenu is a Learning Experience Designer at the University of Maryland's Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, where she develops coursework and tools that bring design thinking and other creative problem-solving methods to learners across disciplines. In addition to her work at the University of Maryland, Meenu teaches at the Stanford d.school’s Teaching and Learning Studio, where she's worked with 200+ university educators, department heads, and deans from around the world who are experimenting with new ways of bringing design thinking into higher education. Outside of the education space, Meenu designs with government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations seeking to reinvigorate their modes of thinking and doing. Meenu is inspired by the creative potential that exists in you, you, and yes, even you!


Holly May Mahoney

Holly May Mahoney

Service Design Strategist and Design Thinking advocate, Holly May Mahoney is an empathic and creative individual with a diverse practice spanning across the private and public sectors. With formal Service Design training from the RCA in London and after being a Teaching Fellow at Stanford's d.school, she went on to be the Design Lead at David Kester & Associates as well as leading design coaching and training at the Design Thinkers Academy, London. Holly is now an independent design facilitator and coach, working with individuals, teams and organisations to foster user-centricity and collaborative co-creation.


Andrew Molina

Andrew Molina

Andrew Molina (affectionately called Mo) is a Curriculum Designer for Design for Extreme Affordability at the Stanford d.school, a class applying design thinking to international development. He also facilitates various workshops and is constantly experimenting with creative side projects. Outside of work, Mo likes to climb rocks, perform, read, and loves playing games (board games, card games, made-up games, you name it).


Louie Montoya

Louie Montoya

Louie Montoya is a learning experience designer at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design K12lab. Louie works with educators on learning and implementing design in the classroom. Today he leads the Deeper Learning Puzzle Bus, a K12 lab mobile experiment designed to look at how “escape rooms” can change the way educators think about measurement and assessment, as well as bring more delight into the classroom.

A first generation Mexican American, Louie developed an interest in other cultures that anchors his work on behalf of equitable practices in the design process. As an experience designer at the Business Innovation Factory in Rhode Island, Louie co-designed and ran the Teachers for Equity Fellowship that worked with educators across the United States to address issues of racial inequity in their schools and classrooms. As a member of the Deeper Learning network Louie focuses on building capacity around skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking with students.


Erik Olesund

Erik Olesund

Erik Olesund is a Senior Experience Researcher at Thumbtack, a marketplace for local services where customers can hire pros for all types of jobs: kitchen remodels, wedding photography, language lessons. You name it. His primary focus at Thumbtack is to understand the journey customers go through when they need to hire pros to help with a major life event like moving into a new home or getting married. As a former Lecturer and Global Program Manager at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (the d.school) he worked on the d.school’s efforts on digital learning experiences as well as their focus on the application of design thinking to public policy and the connections between improvisation and design. Originally from Sweden, Erik is obsessed with backcountry skiing and excellent coffee.


Breanne Przestrzelski

Breanne Przestrzelski

Bre Przestrzelski has a passion for crafting learning experiences outside of traditional academia and has designed with lived experience experts in human trafficking, innovation executives at American Honda, and biomedical students in Tanzania. She recently completed a two-year position as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of San Diego (USD), where she designed learning experiences that integrated social justice into the traditional engineering curriculum. Before coming to the West Coast (US), Bre spent nine years at Clemson University, where she was a three-time graduate of the bioengineering program (BS, MS, and PhD), founder of The Design & Entrepreneurship Network (DEN), and Division I rower. In her spare time, Bre coaches a global community of learners through IDEO U, chases sunsets, and fails miserably at cooking.


Adene Sacks

Adene Sacks

Adene Sacks spends her days thinking about how networks, design and strategy can amplify leaders’ efforts at changing social systems. Over the last three years, she has worked with leaders in California’s Central Valley and Napa County to re-imagine and re-design more equitable communal structures. Adene happily wears many hats. She is the Program Director of the New Leadership Network and a founding member of the With/In Collaborative. Previously, Adene has been embedded with teams at the Packard Foundation; Stanford’s d.school and DataKind. In a previous life, Adene served as the first senior program officer at Jim Joseph Foundation.

Adene’s writing focuses on what impacts our ability to repair our world. Last year, she and Heather McLeod Grant co-authored The New Normal, a study that explored how we can support social change leaders on the frontlines of this political moment. This fall, they will also be releasing the book, Leading Systems Change, which examines how local leaders can spearhead large-scale change in their communities.


Amie Thao

Amie Thao

Amie serves as Civic Designer for the City of Seattle. She works on the Innovation & Performance Team at the Mayor's Office to bring design-based innovation expertise and creativity to the team's work. During her time at the City, she has worked across multiple social issues including civil rights, racial equity, youth and young adult homelessness, and affordability. She has spent the last decade helping start-ups, public sector and non-profit clients use human-centered design to fulfill their missions and to create a more kind and equitable world. Amie holds a B.F.A. from ArtCenter College of Design. Prior to working in government, she spent 3.5 years cycling through 40 countries and listening to people's stories.


Susie Wise

Susie Wise

Dr. Susie Wise is the inaugural design entrepreneur in residence at Playworks and an adjunct professor at the d.school. At Playworks Susie is building on her experience in the education sector to develop OXdesign, or organizational experience design, to combine play + design + storytelling to change how work works. Prior to 2018 Susie founded and led the K12 Lab Network at the d.school to investigate the role that design thinking could play in the education sector. Leading the K12 Lab Susie co-designed School Retool, a fellowship for school leaders (now operating in more than 25 communities), the Shadow a Student Challenge, and the Liberatory Design toolkit (in collaboration with the National Equity Project). Susie is also a co-founder of Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland, California and has a PhD in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University.


DSS Home Team

Patrick Beaudouin, Resident d.school Photographer

Patrick Beaudouin, Resident d.school Photographer

If we’re lucky, like Patrick Beaudouin, we can say we’re still doing the things that made us smile as kids. Our official photographer at the d.school, Patrick grew up in the bay area with skateboarding infused in his veins. It exposed him to different places around California and later, around the world. It also led to his early involvement in Atlas Skateboard Store, a brand and retail shop that Patrick is a partner in and helped start with 2 friends in 2007. Today, Atlas serves as an inclusive homebase for bay area skateboarders as well as a personal creative outlet and something Patrick is deeply passionate about.


Susie Chang, DSS Program Manager

Susie Chang, DSS Program Manager

Susie Chang has over a decade of experience in nonprofit leadership and program management with organizations ranging from local grassroots community collaboratives to international development agencies. She has led global education initiatives as the Country Director in Tajikistan of Relief International, and worked on environmental justice and workforce development programs in the renewable energy sector as Executive Director at GRID Alternatives, the U.S.’s largest nonprofit solar installer.

Susie has led thousands of nonprofit and corporate leaders through experiential learning programs, and was the Director of The Culture Conference, an immersive event on organizational design and culture. She received her BA in International Development Studies from UCLA, practices intuition medicine, and performs her solo play and in immersive theater experiences throughout the bay area.

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