We first posted about the Girls Driving for a Difference initiative from founders and DFA Stanford leaders, Jenna Leonardo and Katie Kirsch back in December. Now, they are wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign (raising over $34,000!), gaining well-deserved national attention, inspiring others with their story, reflecting on their pilot over spring break and planning their summer in detail. We can’t wait to see what’s next in this exciting journey!
As the second installation of our Q&A with studio leads Sonja Ellicott (University of Oregon) and Zonghe Chua (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Sonja and Zonghe give advice on how to address challenges that arise. Check out there first post here!
- What did you learn most about effective leadership during your time as studio lead?
Zonghe: I think I learned how to design a studio experience that provides both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to all its members. Intrinsic motivations come from listening to the needs of the studio’s members and making sure that you try your best to meet their expectations for personal and professional development.
DFA has a new partnership!
General Assembly, a worldwide institution that seeks to educate and empower individuals who are pursuing work in technology, business and design, has joined the DFA community!
All registered students within DFA will receive a free 6 month membership to GA Front Row! This is almost a $300 value!!! As a subscriber for GA Front Row, there will be unlimited access to on-demand and live stream classes that teach all things ranging from data analysis to product and web design.
To kick off our series highlighting DFAers and their work, we’ll hear from two experienced studio leads. As DFA is excited to develop leaders of innovation, we set out to learn from our best. Studio leads Sonja Ellicott (University of Oregon) and Zonghe Chua (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) lend insight into what it means to be a leader, as they help newly minted studio leads transition into their roles.
Denzel Washington once quoted the Roman philosopher Seneca and said, “luck is where opportunity meets preparation.” As a DFA Fellow Julian Bongiorno seized opportunities when they arose. In his first year as a Fellow, Julian received the PAVE Fellowship to attend The Feast Conference along with a $10k investment in his future, attended The StartingBloc Institute for social innovators, has been a guest lecturer at a variety of universities including Duke and most recently began working as an innovation workshop facilitator for a large healthcare firm after being approached while at a pitch event with DFA team. For twelve weeks, Julian will apply the design, mentoring and user-focused skills he’s learned in DFA to three innovation teams in Chicago.
Sara Mesing, co-founder of DFA Case Western| CIA, is part of the Business Development team at XPLANE. She introduces new clients to XPLANE and acts as an advocate and liaison throughout the duration of client engagements. She got connected to XPLANE through a friend at DFA’s Leadership Studio back in 2012.
Thanks to Sara’s efforts, XPLANE will be partnering with Design for America to develop a 5-year strategic plan to accommodate all stakeholders in the organization’s high growth trajectory. As such, XPLANE will lead and facilitate dialogue to uncover the current state of the organization, envision the future state, and determine what steps are needed to get there.
As we approach a new year and start the search for our fifth year of DFA Fellows, we wanted to take a moment and have a look at where our past Fellows are now.
2011 Fellows Mert Iseri & Yuri Malina: SwipeSense
Recently recognized among Forbes’ Top 30 Under 30, check out what Mert and Yuri have been up to!
What are you Up to Now?
The DFA fellowship helped us by giving us space, time and money to grow, raised our profile as young entrepreneurs and mentoring distributed talent helped us learn the best practices in communication and accountability.
On October 24th, 2014, Jenna and Katie spent the day in San Francisco coaching design and maker workshops for elementary school students. While driving back to Stanford campus later that night, they could not have felt more physically exhausted but intellectually awake and inspired. It was on this drive home, ironically enough, where they began to craft a dream together for this summer that involved a much longer drive of its own.