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Welcoming New Faculty: Fall 2020

We are excited to announce two new members to our faculty for the fall 2020 semester: our first designer in residence Sloan Leo, and Sahar Ghaheri of Designit.

Sloan Leo is the Director of Social Innovation, at The VAID Group,  a systems design and strategy firm that helps build the capacity of values driven leaders and their organizations to address racial, gender and economic equity internally and externally.

In their role they lead the consulting and coaching practice. They approach their work with organizations,  with the understanding that they are a type of community. Sloan builds community capacity to have hard conversations, and make equitable, durable and inclusive progress.  

In Spring 2020, they were the inaugural Designer in Residence at the School of Visual Arts, Design for Social Innovation Masters Program.  Sloan Leo’s work at the school considered how social innovation as a design practice can connect more deeply with social innovation as it is practiced by movements, institutions and people seeking justice.  They have taught Managing Public Service Organizations at NYU Wagner’s Graduate School of Public Service since 2016.

Prior to The VAID Group, Leo was the Chief of Staff at The Trust for Public Land (TPL). They played an integral role in leading the advancement of TPL’s strategic plan which repositioned the 47 year old conservation organization as a community building institution. Previously, Sloan Leo was the Director of Board Relations, managing the boards in the US, Europe and China for the Environmental Defense Fund, after being an early design strategist at Van Jones’ Dream Corps.

As a speaker and writer, Sloan has presented on their work at the School of Visual Arts, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, the Design For America Summit, New York University, Princeton University and The Audre Lorde Project. And they have been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the European  Business Review, CNN, the Huffington Post, and the Journal of Governmental Finance and Policy. 

Sloan lives in Brooklyn, NY and when not designing spends their time learning to make the perfect lamb roast and crafting the dream disco playlist.

Sahar Ghaheri is a multi-disciplinary and international Industrial / UX designer using critical thinking to create products, services, and experiences for positive social change.

Working globally and collaboratively, she strives to discover and develop innovative experiences, products, and services with impactful organizations. Sahar thrives in projects that aim to improve lives and create sustainable structures for change. Her greatest strengths lie in translating user needs into thoughtful and improved physical spaces, products, and interfaces. Her background and areas of focus frequently lead her to work within international collaborations, largely in the Middle East, as well as in the healthcare industry. 

Sahar holds a Master’s in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Her love and admiration for Danish and Scandinavian design drove her to spend some time studying abroad at Designskolen Kolding in Denmark as well.

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Both Sloan and Sahar will be joining the thesis advisory team, where they will help our second year students develop and prototype their end-of-year thesis projects over the next two semesters. In the fall, they will be focused on research assistance and helping students build presentation skills, and will follow up with refinement and implementation of the thesis projects in the Spring. Welcome to the team!

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