The Design Gurus Summit is a great place to learn from the people leading the charge and shaking up our industry. Expect to discover new ideas and gain different perspectives on design, both as a speaker and attendee.

- Frank Yoo, Director of Product Design at Lyft

Speakers from Brands Including

2017 Keynote Speakers


The World-Renowned Artist who Created the Twitter Fail Whale & The Dumpling Emoji

Yiying Lu, Design Lecturer at the NYU Shanghai Program on Creativity & Innovation

Born in Shanghai China, Educated in Sydney Australia & London UK, now based in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Yiying Lu currently is a Design Lecturer at NYU Shanghai Program on Creativity & Innovation. Yiying was named a "Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation" in the Microsoft Next 100 series.


President of the Legendary Design Strategy and Professional Education Firm Cooper

Nick Gould, President and COO at Cooper

Nick is the former President of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) and ha served on the IxDA Board of Directors since 2009. Prior to Cooper, Nick held a variety of leadership positions focusing on Internet product development, strategic partnerships and joint ventures at companies including Scholastic Inc., BOL.com, Bertelsmann’s international online bookselling venture, and Citigroup.

Meet The Most Creative People in Silicon Valley

Founder of One of San Francisco’s Most Sought After Creative Agencies

Trevor Hubbard

Partner + Executive Creative Director at Butchershop Creative

Author of O'Reilly's Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond

Jorge Arango

Information Architect and Partner at Futuredraft

MFA Faculty at the School of Industrial Design at the Academy of Art University

Shiz Kobara

Industrial Design and User Experience Advisor to Savioke

What to Expect

Come learn from top Silicon Valley designers, thinkers and thought leaders who will share their insights on topics including: product design, user experience design, design for emerging platforms, branding, marketing, creativity, entrepreneurship, design-driven startups,  creative inspiration, and more.

The Second Annual Design Gurus Summit will be a full-day event of both keynotes and panels from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. This year we have upgraded to the beautiful Kanbar Hall at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. This is a world-class facility with a renowned audio visual team and desk seating for up to 200 people

Some Pictures From Last Year

An engaged audience.

An engaged audience.

Shaun Modi and Frank Yoo.

Shaun Modi and Frank Yoo.

Sophisticated thought leadership.

Sophisticated thought leadership.

Tickets on Sale Now

No discounts at the door. All sales are final. No refunds.

DGS Sponsorships Rock

Sponsoring the Design Gurus Summit gives you access to an elusive and engaged audience of hard to reach influencers. Our entry-level startup sponsorship package starts at $1,000 and includes: a table for meeting people and to put your swag, signage at the event, and 3 admission tickets. This option is great for recruiting, product demos, business development and general awareness. Contact us for details.

Creative Sponsorship Ideas

Don't just set up a table and put up a sign. You're a creative industry professional, so get creative. Here are some of our ideas that are sure to help you stand out and get your message across in an engaging way. Yes, they include 3 admission tickets. Bargain.

Eat With the Elite ($650): Attend the VIP speaker's dinner the night before the summit. Limit to one paid slot.

Seat Drop it Like it's Hot ($1,200): Get your printed card or sheet DROPPED on every chair in the house.

Love and Electronics (1,250): Raffle a device and collect business cards from the entire audience. Great for lead generation.

Creativity in the Goodie Bag ($1,400): Have your special item and contact information included in the attendee goodie bag

Be the Cure for the Munchies ($2,000):  Sponsor lunch and get 3 minutes to make a quick announcement before lunch is served.


Location: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Kanbar Hall

Date and Time: September 19th, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Speaker's Bios

Yiying Lu, Design Lecturer, NYU Shanghai Program Creativity & Innovation

Yiying Lu award-winning artist and designer. Born in Shanghai China, Educated in Sydney Australia & London UK, now based in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Yiying Lu currently is a Design Lecturer at NYU Shanghai Program Creativity & Innovation. Yiying was named a "Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation" in the Microsoft Next 100 series. Her projects have been featured in many publications, including The New York Times, Forbes, The Atlantic, NBC News, TIME, Wired Magazine, and so on. Her client list includes Disney, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Twitter, Sony, Expedia, and so on. Her notable projects include Disney Shanghai Recruitment Campaign, the official Dumpling Emoji, the Twitter Fail Whale, Conan O'Brien's Pale Whale, and the SXSW Interactive Big Bag Art.

LinkedIn Profile


Nick Gould, President and COO, Cooper

Nick is the President and Chief Operating Officer for both the New York and San Francisco offices. Nick is a veteran digital business and product development leader with strong ties to the global UX and interaction design communities of practice. As an accomplished sense-maker and adept storyteller, Nick can masterfully find signals amidst the noise of customer input, stakeholder priorities, and competitor actions. Nick specializes in developing concise and inspiring narratives that illuminate a product’s performance, envisioning new scenarios, and aligning project teams around experience strategies. Nick is known for his consultative sales approach and abilities, and for building relationships of trust with clients by communicating a concern for their priorities and a genuine interest in solving their problems.

Nick is the former President of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) and has served on the IxDA Board of Directors since 2009. Prior to Cooper, Nick held a variety of leadership positions focusing on Internet product development and strategic partnerships and joint ventures. Nick was VP of Internet Strategy and Business Development for Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing, and media company. Prior to that, Nick led business development efforts for BOL.com, Bertelsmann’s international online bookselling venture, and Citigroup. Before that, he was a corporate lawyer. 

LinkedIn Profile


Trevor Hubbard, Partner + Executive Creative Director, Butchershop Creative

Trevor Hubbard is the founder and executive creative director of the fastest growing San Francisco creative agency Butchershop. A multidisciplinary designer, he has led hundreds of award-winning brand transformations, product launches, and marketing strategies. His work has shaped the trajectories of startups and global brands alike, including The San Francisco Giants, C3 Energy, Google, Microsoft, Lennar, Okta, Vodafone, and Zuora. Hubbard holds degrees in film studies and multidisciplinary design. He lives in Mill Valley, California with his girlfriend and their children. They love to ski and travel.

LinkedIn Profile

Shiz Kobara, Advisor to Savioke

Shiz Kobara serves as Industrial Design and User Experience advisor to Savioke. He advises the design team in matters of customer delight, user affordance, and design for manufacture. Shiz’s full-time career is divided between serving as Director of Business Development for the newly formed VENN Reactor innovation studio and as MFA faculty in the school of industrial design at the Academy of Art University, both in San Francisco. Six years ago, Shiz created a specialized design course focused on the future of robot design questioning how robots will live among us humans in our homes, office, and leisure. With over 30 years experience in industrial design/user experience management and strategy, and with design leadership positions at LUNAR, Intuit, and Hewlett Packard, Shiz has a design-led approach in looking at the potential for new trends in innovation. 

LinkedIn Profile

Jorge Arango, Information Architect and Partner, Futuredraft

Jorge Arango is an information architect with 20 years of experience designing digital products and services. He's a partner in Futuredraft, the experience design consultancy that solves complex problems using co-creation throughout the design process. He is a co-author of "Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond" the fourth edition of O'Reilly's celebrated "polar bear" book. Jorge has also served the global UX community as president and director of the Information Architecture Institute.

LinkedIn Profile

Jackie Lamping, VP Marketing, Sojern

Jackie is an executive thought leader in branding and marketing innovation with over 10 years of hands-on experience in growth marketing, programmatic, social media, and PR. She is currently VP Marketing at Sojern, the world’s leading performance marketing engine for travel. Previously, Jackie held leadership roles in growth and product marketing, branding, and digital media at AdRoll, Twitter, Apollo Group, and Wells Fargo. Jackie holds a BA in human biology from Stanford University and an MBA from the U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. She lives in San Francisco and enjoys hiking, pondering the psychology of font styles, and traveling the world.

LinkedIn Profile

Tom Hacohen, Head of Design, Houzz

Tom Hacohen is the head of design at Houzz, the leading platform for home renovation and design, where she is responsible for design strategy and execution across product and brand marketing. Tom led the complete redesign of the Houzz website and apps, creating the blueprint for the Houzz brand and visual design language. Prior to joining Houzz, she worked as a lead branding designer for Adler Brands (now Grey Israel) and as a layout and graphic designer for influential media publications in Israel. Tom studied design and visual communications at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv.

LinkedIn Profile

Jess Karle - Everlane - 200.png

Jessica Karle, Digital Design Lead, Everlane

Jessica Karle is a designer and writer living and working in San Francisco. As the Head of Digital Design at Everlane she is responsible for the management and growth of the digital design team, where they believe that all good design starts with understanding their users. Previously, as a Lead Product Designer at Paperless Post, Jessica led the redesign and successful launch of their invitation product and created a new mobile-first experience for an audience of 65 million receivers a year.

LinkedIn Profile

Alexandra Anderson, Creative Lead, Airbnb

LinkedIn Profile

Karl Carstensen, Principal Design Technologist, Frog Design

A classic example of the design technology practice at frog, Karl is both an award winning visual designer and developer. Drawing from his diverse multi-disciplinary background, Karl brings a thoughtful and comprehensive perspective to frog teams in the creation of top-notch human-centered solutions that are equal parts design, technology, and usability. From design research to prototyping, he is equally comfortable leading teams or developing solutions for clients, discussing the nuances of design, the usability of a product, or making recommendations on implementation and an architecture stack of choice.

 Having worked on projects ranging from rapid prototyping to enterprise-level software deployments, Karl is equipped with an extremely diverse skill set and extensive experience in modern development practices and team dynamics, and has worked with companies ranging in size from bootstrapping startups to fortune 500 companies.

LinkedIn Profile

Meredith Black, Head of Design Operations, Pinterest

Meredith Black is the Head of Design Operations at Pinterest where she's pioneered the Design Program Management organization, growing it from one to 11 design program managers in three years. Within Design and Research, she’s also responsible for operations, recruiting, resourcing and risk management. Prior to Pinterest, Meredith worked at design firms Hot Studio (acquired by Facebook) and IDEO. Her love for design runs deep. Real deep. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and their very spoiled dog, Bella

LinkedIn Profile

Carrie Whitehead, Vice President, Design at Westfield Retail Solutions

Carrie is the Vice President of Design at Westfield Retail Solutions. She and her team are focused on transforming commerce by enhancing digital and physical shopping experiences for retailers, brands and venues. Prior to joining Westfield Retail Solutions, Carrie was the Director of Design at Fanatics, the largest online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise in North America and led Product Strategy and User Experience at Zappos Labs. When she’s not working, you can find her tangled up in a yoga pose, hiking in the Sierras, or wandering in far-off countries.

LinkedIn Profile

Kevin Fremon, Co-Founder & Design Director, Twenty20

Kevin is the co-founder and creative director of Twenty20, an online marketplace for beautiful, authentic stock photographs with more than 45 million real-world photographs from 350,000 contributors. He has co-founded three companies, a web development agency, a social startup (vibe.me), and in 2011, Twenty20. Over the past decade, Zachary has successfully orchestrated the creation of social networks, learning management systems, and multiple web 2.0 apps. As a product design lead and UX-UI director, he has a deep understanding of rapid prototyping, information architecture, user flows, measured learning, and agile development practices.

Stephanie Engle, Product Designer, VR & Immersive Media, Facebook

LinkedIn Profile

Jessica Gaddis, Product Designer, Enterprise Platforms, Netflix

Jessica Gaddis is a product designer on the Netflix Studio Engineering team. As a part of the “Studio in the Cloud” initiative, Jessica designs apps that help manage production operations, including on-set activity. Jessica earned a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and previously worked in PR in San Francisco. 

LinkedIn Profile

Miha Feus, Interaction Designer, IDEO

Miha Feus is an interaction designer at IDEO San Francisco. In his 12 year multidisciplinary career he has worked in most areas of design from interaction, industrial and communication design to prototyping. He worked across industries, but spent most of his time working with startups and the automotive industry. He is experienced in taking on the design process as a whole, ranging from early research to bringing products to market. Miha earned his MFA in Interaction Design at the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden. His work as been recognized by Red Dot Design Awards, Interaction Awards and Core77 Design Awards.

LinkedIn Profile

Thor Ernstsson, CEO and Founder, Alpha (former Zynga)

Thor Ernstsson began his entrepreneurial career with a move from Northern Iceland (population of 500) to Huntsville, Alabama, home to the US Space & Rocket Center, Cummings Research Park, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Unable to qualify for a job without citizenship, he carved a place for himself within the start-up ecosystem. He was lead architect building Farmville during the Zynga glory days, and eventually left and co-founded/CTO of Audax Health, a patient engagement company that was later rebranded as Rally Health after a 10-figure acquisition by UnitedHealth. All this drove him to founding Alpha. The company is a software platform used by product teams like Prudential, Pfizer, Spotify, and Tumblr, to validate new concepts and generate user insights.

LinkedIn Profile

Puneet Lath, Product & Consumer Success Lead, Expensify

As Employee #8 at Expensify, Puneet Lath has been an instrumental asset in growing the sales, enterprise, product management, and success coach teams at Expensify. With his current focus on product and account management, Puneet is uniquely positioned in his role to roadmap new features that continue to surprise and delight both new and current users.

LinkedIn Profile

Jina Anne, Lead Design, Salesforce Lightning Design System, Salesforce

Jina is a designer, community builder, and advocate with a passion for design systems, minimalism, typography, and art. At Salesforce, she is lead designer on the Lightning Design System. She organizes Clarity, the first Design Systems conference. She also started the Design Systems Coaltion and its SF chapter, and she created and moderates the Design Systems Slack. She maintains the design and website for Sass. She organizes The Mixin (a Sass and front end meet up). She curates Sass News, Art in My Coffee, and Hipsters Have to Pee.

Sarah Federman, Experience Designer, Adobe

Sarah Federman is a UX designer and front end engineer who loves applying systems thinking to solve product problems. She graduated with her BFA in New Media Design from Rochester Institute of Technology. Previously a UI engineer at LinkedIn, she’s currently using her diverse skillset to help create the design system at Adobe, dubbed Spectrum.

LinkedIn Profile

Pazit Kagel, Lead Designer, SAP Silicon Valley Innovation Center, SAP

Pazit Kagel is a UX designer at SAP’s Innovation Center, where she helps explore and develop new enterprise solutions that are built on innovative technologies such as blockchain, IOT, machine learning, and conversational applications. At SAP, Pazit gets to work closely with fortune 500 customers on co-innovation projects. She utilizes design thinking methodologies to help customers identify existing user and business needs as well as future strategic business visions. An entrepreneur in her own right, Pazit brings years of experience of industrial design, furniture design and software development. She holds a BFA in Product Design from Parsons School of Design and an MS in Human Factors and Ergonomics from San Jose State University.

LinkedIn Profile

Wesley Yun, Design Director, KPCB Design Council and (Former GoPro)

LinkedIn Profile

Pamela Jue, Lead Experience Designer, Blue Owl

Pam is a lead experience designer at Blue Owl where she focuses on creating insurance products. Her passion lies in creating spaces for difficult and emotional conversations, specifically topics related to money, diversity, and inclusion. Outside of Blue Owl she works with Inneract Project, a non-profit organization that provides design education to underserved youth. She is a member of their education committee where she is currently developing and expanding their curriculum. On the weekends, she likes to explore new places with her dog Mei Mei.

LinkedIn Profile

Aruna Balakrishnan, Design Research Lead, Dropbox

Aruna Balakrishnan is a Design Research Lead at Dropbox, currently heading user research on Dropbox Paper. Previously she was the first user researcher at Change.org, where she investigated the needs of petition starters and users around the world to help improve the largest online platform dedicated to political change. She also worked at Google, on Google Apps and the Inbox by Gmail team. Prior to moving to Silicon Valley, Aruna worked in technology policy at the RAND Corporation in Washington, D.C. She holds a B.A. in engineering from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. She lives in San Francisco and enjoys eating ice cream while walking around the city with her husband and son.

Stefan Kojouharov,  Founder & Editor @ChatbotsLife

Stefan Kojouharov is the Founder and Editor of Chatbot's Life. He has a background in business and psychology with a focus on Entrepreneurship. He started his first company in 2010 with $300 and grew it to over $1M within 18mo. Most recently, Stefan founded Chatbot's Life; a Bot media and consulting firm. Within 4 months, Chatbot's Life has grown to over 100k views per month and has become the premium place to learn about Bots online. Chatbot's Life has also consulted many of the top Bot companies like Swelly, Instavest, OutBrain, NearGroup and a number of enterprises.

LinkedIn Profile