How can we design in the face of change and uncertainty? On February 22nd, four talented innovators lent their perspectives on designing for change to 118 DFAlumni, students, and like-minded professionals, uniting the spirit of the DFA network.

The first-of-its-kind event focused on the topic of navigating ambiguity in one’s career and personal life. Guests were able to unite with old friends and build new connections, leaving inspired by ideas and plans for action on how design innovation and the DFA network can help navigate change and have positive impact.

Alex Lofton, Co-Founder of Landed, Inc. discusses how changemakers must get to know themselves first before making impact in the lives of others.

DFA Faculty Founder Liz Gerber moderated the panel, held at Northwestern San Francisco. Panelists included Alex Lofton of Landed, Inc., Evelyn Huang of Capital One, Tej Dhillon of, and Tristan Sokol, DFA Northwestern Alumni and Developer Evangelist at Square, who each shared a personal story on embracing and celebrating uncertainty. Tej spoke to his consulting experience and what it means to face ambiguity at the start of each client engagement, and how to understand cultures new to one’s own. Tristan described how applying the DFA process to his profession helped him maneuver challenges he faced in the early stages of his career.

Tristan Sokol, DFA Northwestern alum, shares how DFA shaped his college experience and applied to his career even after graduation.

Evelyn Huang, VP of Design Thinking and Strategy at Capital One, speaks to her unexpected path into the design world.

DFA is proud of a network of changemakers from across the country and a variety of backgrounds. Attendees represented 11 different DFA campus studios from the Bay Area and beyond – including students and alumni from UIUC, Rice, RISD/Brown, Johns Hopkins/MICA, and U Cincinnati who are now making impact at Apple, Google, Thoughtworks, and many other companies.

DFA UC Davis studio members excited to connect with new and old DFA friends,  joined by their studio mentor and DFA Johns Hopkins|MICA Alum Kyle Peppers.

DFA believes that design innovation is about walking into and making sense of the unknown. Thanks to all who joined the meaningful and thought-provoking conversation around designing for social change. We are excited to continue to build the DFA community in the Bay Area, and this experience was one we will not soon forget!