Design Adjacent: Cheryl Heller on career changes, innovation, doing things the hard way, and being an entrepreneur

Cheryl Heller is a leader, designer, scholar, business strategist and an author. Her experience spans corporate, philanthropic, nonprofit, and academic worlds, and in each role and organization, she has created and grown groundbreaking programs. She founded two companies and created successful new programs at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Arizona State University. She has taught creativity to leaders around the world, helped grow clients’ businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated cultures, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs.

About Cheryl Heller

Cheryl Heller is a leader, designer, scholar, business strategist and an author. Her experience spans corporate, philanthropic, nonprofit, and academic worlds, and in each role and organization, she has created and grown groundbreaking programs. She founded two companies and created successful new programs at the School of Visual Arts in New York and Arizona State University.  She has taught creativity to leaders around the world, including the USA, UK, Kenya, Mexico, Ghana, Sierra  Leone, India, China and South Korea. She has helped grow clients’ businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated cultures, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs.

Cheryl’s most recent position was ASU’s Director of Design Integration and Professor of Practice in Innovation U, she launched the first transdisciplinary STEM MS program in innovation and venture development, relaunched and scaled a transdisciplinary undergrad program, and developed curriculum for an engineering design program.

Prior to joining ASU, Cheryl launched and chaired the first STEM master’s program in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has also led a multi-year project using design to support youth as they age out of foster care and she recently completed her doctoral research on the  performative role that language plays in our ability to design for social equity.

And, in 2014, Cheryl was awarded the AIGA Medal for her contribution to the field of design: “Recognized for deftly embodying the many dimensions of communication design and for inspiring and guiding people and organizations to use design for social innovation as a strategic tool to improve the human experience.”

About AIGA Design Adjacent

AIGA Design Adjacent is a monthly podcast series with AIGA’s Executive Director, Bennie F. Johnson, in conversation with industry leaders who are innovating and designing the future. These conversations expand beyond the design community, encompassing industries and areas that intersect with design and shift the ways in which we think about and interact with each other and the world around us.

About Bennie F. Johnson

Bennie F. Johnson is the Executive Director of AIGA, the professional association for design. Bennie thrives on the connections between marketing, technology, education, and innovation. With experience in strategic and consumer marketing, brand management, and innovation management, he is drawn to opportunities that allow him to lead and create new modes for business engagement. He has broad experience growing brands, businesses, and organizations with a special focus on venture launch and brand relaunch business environments.

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