Who WE Are

We are a community of leaders and innovators who believe that human-centered design can positively impact organizations, helping them adapt and remain competitive in a rapidly shifting global economy. We consult with companies, not-for-profits, and government organizations on some of their most-compelling problems.


What WE Believe

We believe creativity and innovation soars when people work together with an open and collaborative mindset, when we listen and co-create, and define actionable steps to effect change. We know human-centered design to be within everyone’s ability regardless of background, education, or work experience.





_3486514Karen Gordon

Founder, Chief Design Facilitator

Karen’s entire career has been focused on creating new value – as an intrapreneur or entrepreneur. She believes we are in the midst of a cultural shift in how we all create “value.” It will be dependent on our ability to harness our collective creativity that will lead to all future  innovations. She has been an advisor to startups and an entrepreneur who has moved billion-dollar businesses to digital platforms, as well as built companies from idea to revenue. She has seen that success comes faster to those who know how to truly listen to their customer needs. Karen volunteers at 1871, mentoring startups, and teaches classes, including Business Model Design, Design Thinking as a human capability.





Janice GuzonJanice Guzon

Head of Social Strategy and Marketing

Janice studied Public Policy and Sociology at the University of Chicago and received her M.A. in Urban Planning from USC. Her urban design and policy background fuels her strong interest in strategy and Design Thinking. She holds firm the belief that the iterative process of action design ultimately leads to highly innovative solutions for many of the world’s most important social issues.





Lizzie PineLizzie Pine

Design Facilitator II

Lizzie has been practicing Design Research for the past four years. She mainly conducts ethnography: studying individuals’ and consumers’ behaviors so clients can design to better meet their needs. What Lizzie loves most about Design Thinking is that it’s always a process and to create a successful product, you start by creating a ‘rough draft’ and go from there – the first version doesn’t have to be perfect.





Emily TeterEmily Teter

Design Innovator II

Emily is an Associate Creative Director with 11 years of design and art direction experience. She has worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies and studied at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. The invaluable experience she gained from working with a variety of companies has allowed Emily to perfect her design skills as well as branch out into Art Direction and User Experience Design. She collaborates with Design Thinking to drive real-world solutions.




Harrison profile picHarrison Sheh

Design Facilitator I

Harrison Shih is a  trained psychologist, artist and designer who is interested in understanding individuals’ behaviors and their unmet needs. What Harrison loves the most about Design Thinking is that it’s a creative and fun way of developing innovative solutions and making great impact on people and organizations.








Board of Advisors



Eric Foster head shot

Eric Foster

Global IT Senior Executive & CIO

Eric’s cross industry & global technology experience has the mindset and skillset of an  his entire career to design new products and services that drive value creation.  senior executive and CIOcross-industry experience, broad technology background, and a demonstrable record in transforming IT delivery and leading/managing global, multi-cultural teams. Excels at innovative and collaborative mindset; a pragmatic vision capable of translating strategic plans into executable programs, and driving multiple, large-scale projects to completion. Eric brings his exceptional communication & interpersonal skills to help guide programming, perspective & impact on all efforts



Antoinette Gawin

Global Executive / Change Catalyst

Walking in others’ shoes is a hallmark of Antoinette’s leadership philosophy, applied in diverse leadership roles across the globe.  Whether turning around a struggling joint venture or launching new concepts, Antoinette’s ability to Listen, Learn, then ACT has inspired transformational change in IT, healthcare and financial services.  Her ability to build authentic customer relationships is key to building resilient, relevant organizations.




Matt CropMatt Howard

Director of Communications, Education and Public Affairs

Argonne National Laboratory

As Argonne’s chief communications officer, Matt is responsible for communicating the distinctive scientific culture and the groundbreaking innovations and impacts of one of the nation’s largest science and engineering research laboratories. He leads Argonne’s communications strategy and visual identity, educational programming, media relations, internal communications, creative services, business and technical communications, and community and social media engagement. Matt has also been a higher education advisor, has had roles in multiple start-up companies, and has been the editor for an academic publisher. Matt brings a unique blend of science, communication, and innovation to creative problem solving.



San2013_sandee kastrul headshot-001dee Kastrul

President & Co-Founder


Sandee is an engaging and inspiring leader who draws the connections between creativity, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. As the co-founder of the renowned social enterprise i.c.stars, Sandee brings a perspective to problem solving that has impacted many. She has crafted a program that demonstrates the powerful result of optimism combined with the power of Capitalism and Civil Rights. Sandee has been working in education and transformation for over 2 decades, and is a sought-after speaker.



Kitty photo

Kitty Vorisek

Executive Director

Lucas GC Ltd, Beijing-Chicago

With her insights on the global skill sets needed for globalization, she has guided startups, corporations, Chinese provincial government bureaus and universities on education and business initiatives.  Kitty builds bridges to support business initiatives and growth of talent between China and the USA, and has done so for Chinese and American corporations as well as universities.  She has a 30-year track record of corporate new market expansion success in: China, Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands and America. Working with state-owned institutions and multinational corporations, she has led substantial increases in revenue, unique methods for international/local talent recruitment, training and retention.