Designer and advocate for social change, Sarah Brooks helps organizations understand and better serve their customers through design research, design practice and design-led strategy.
Sarah recently completed two and a half years of public service in the U.S. Federal Government at the Department of Veterans Affairs first serving as a 2014-2015 White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the V.A. Center for Innovation, and most recently as Chief Design Officer, Veterans Experience Office where she helped stand-up the office and led the Insight & Design Team working to support VA’s transformation efforts to better serve America’s Veterans.
Over the past 15 years Sarah has led multidisciplinary creative teams through initiatives across online and in-person environments. She has worked across multiple sectors including the U.S. Federal Government, healthcare, food systems, media, education, finance and civic innovation with such clients as AAA, Alter-Eco, Charles Schwab & Co., Code For America, CNET, FORA.tv, Future of Fish, Nokia, Opower, PopTech, Skoll Foundation, SOCAP Conference, Tipping Point’s T Lab and Zinio.
In addition to her practice, Sarah recently contributed an essay on co-design for the book Leap Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation published by ArtCenter College of Design in 2016 and a chapter to the book Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond, published by Wiley in 2015. Sarah is a frequent speaker on the themes of design toward social innovation, customer experience, and how systems thinking can expand a human-centered design practice to better address complex adaptive challenges. She is a dedicated mentor to numerous individuals and organizations in the next generation of creative leadership.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in Literature & Film from Boston University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts at California College of the Arts, an Associate’s degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and pursued graduate clinical social work at Columbia University before dropping out to live in community at the Esalen Institute for two years, inspired by humanistic psychology pioneers Abraham Maslow and Fritz Perls and depth psychologist Carl Jung. She maintains a yoga and mindfulness practice.
Sarah currently lives in Washington, D.C.
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