Speaker Cheryl Heller


Cheryl is President of the design lab CommonWise and Founding Chair of the MFA Program in Design for Social Innovation at SVA. She founded the first design department in a major advertising agency and, as its President, grew the division to $50m in billings when it was spun off as an independent entity.

Designers are trained fairly narrowly and encouraged to think about self-expression more than the influence they can have over others. That’s lovely, but if we want to inspire change, there’s quite a lot more to learn.

Interview on Shareable
See full interview here.

As a strategist, Cheryl has helped grow small regional businesses to become global market leaders, launched category-redefining products, reinvigorated moribund cultures and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. Her clients have included American Express, Reebok, Sheraton, Medtronic, Pfizer, Discovery Networks International, Herman Miller, Gap, Bayer, L’Oreal, Harper’s Bazaar, The World Wildlife Fund, Ford Foundation and the Girl Scouts of America. Cheryl was recently awarded a Rockefeller Bellagio Fellowship, and is a recipient of the AIGA Medal for her contribution to the field of design.

She is a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999 and partnered with Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum to create the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.” Her book, The Intergalactic Design Guide, was published in 2018.