Creating Valuable Learning Experiences

Meet The Design Gym’s Lead Trainer Community

The times, they are a changin’. For over three years now we’ve operated under the premise that we can create great content and deliver it in a way that feels authentic to The Design Gym and our brand principles. Throughout the process, we’ve learned a great deal about ourselves, our content, and the dreams and frustrations of our community. And one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that diversity in perspectives, as well as background and story are critical to keeping things fresh and evolving.

So as we look to the future and the evolution of The Design Gym, we’re keeping that learning top of mind—and that means creating more varied learning experiences for you, our community. One of the ways we’re doing that is by having Jason and Andy step away from being in the front of the room and having our sessions led by an amazing group of talented individuals: The Design Gym’s Lead Trainer Community.

Who Are The Design Gym Lead Trainers

The Design Gym Lead Trainers are professionals actively practicing and teaching design thinking in their fields—on internal teams of Fortune 500 companies, inside of top innovation agencies, or as consultants on the front lines.

By having actual practitioners leading our sessions, you’re able to learn from experts in your field (or with similar backgrounds) who have the on-the-ground experience in leading and managing design thinking projects. They’re the ones who can guide you on how translate your learnings from The Design Gym courses back into your organization. And honestly, who better to teach you that than than the people who are doing it daily?

Real-World Examples From Everyday Practitioners

Design thinking isn’t just about learning a method, it’s about applying that method to real-world issues in a constructive way. That’s where our Lead Trainers come in. They use design thinking every day on real projects. They’re coming straight from the trenches with the war stories to share.

Hannah Dubin described her participation in The Design Gym’s Lead Trainer Community as a win. “I love sharing what I know! I’ve seen skilled facilitators make significant impacts in their organizations—and I want to help people do the same where they work. As a professional facilitator, I get a lot of energy from groups—and I consider myself lucky to teach people to be better at helping groups make progress.”

Mixing up the perspectives of our trainers makes for some serious alchemy in the classroom—they get to combine their experiences and backgrounds so you get a comprehensive picture of how design thinking, facilitation and visual communication work in the real world.

Expert Perspectives From Diverse Backgrounds

A key component to creating strong learning experiences is providing expert perspectives from individuals with diverse backgrounds. What this means for you is that soon community members will be able to choose from classes or sessions run by The Design Gym with a specific lead trainer in mind.

Perhaps you work for a social enterprise or nonprofit? You can choose a Bootcamp led by a trainer with a background in social enterprises. Or perhaps you work at a large corporation and you’re looking for a different perspective on how to secure buy-in—you can sign up for a Bootcamp led by a trainer from the agency world.

“Being able to exchange tips and techniques with a close group of people with diverse backgrounds is really inspiring,” says Lead Trainer Reilly Carpenter. “I spend a lot of time doing internal trainings with a set curriculum and a toolkit of methods, but working with the TDG trainers exposes me to many new toolkits of methods.” As our Lead Trainers learn from each other, they’re evolving and creating a better experience for our community.

Now that we’ve told you all about our trainers, it’s probably time to introduce you to them.

Meet the Trainers

John Bloch is a true creative. As a visual facilitator, graphic recorder and art director with over 20 years experience, John has used his skills to support conflict resolution, training workshops, hackathons, strategic visioning and product development for a wide variety of organizations including AT&T, NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech and Innovation and the Tribeca Film Institute. His curiosity lies at the intersection of  design thinking and visual communication. John is passionate about teaching non-artists how to express complex ideas and data through simple, powerful visuals. He can also draw anything! We dare you to put him on the spot at the next Sketching Bootcamp.

Reilly Carpenter has a background in marketing and branding and is now a Design Strategist for Capital One. In his current role, his focus has been championing internal education and adoption of design thinking into his organization’s culture as well as leading large scale design thinking projects. Reilly is your go-to guy for questions on securing buy-in and implementing design thinking projects. You can ask him all about it at an upcoming Design Thinking Bootcamp.

Hannah Dubin is the swiss army knife of facilitation—no matter what the situation, she’s got the perfect activity ready to help move a group forward. With over 15 years of experience working as a facilitator with nonprofits and social enterprises, Hannah’s people-centered approach to problem-solving has helped teams meet their goals to better serve their communities. She’s got a true skill for making learning experiences fun and engaging—see her in action at an upcoming Facilitation Bootcamp.

Gary Kopervas is a nationally syndicated cartoonist and award-winning brand strategist and storyteller for iconic brands as well as start-ups. He is currently VP Brand Strategy & Innovation at 20nine, a creative branding agency and author of the upcoming Winning the What If Wars: A visual guide to applying creative thinking in business. Gary guides brands on how to stand out in a cut-and-paste world through the application of design thinking, and teaches participants in his Sketching Bootcamp to think visually and communicate with greater originality and personality.

Kiely Sweatt began her career in creative writing and performing arts and takes a learn-by-doing approach to education—making her a perfect fit for The Design Gym! Kiely thrives on bringing creative people together to collaborate, design new products, and build communities—and is actively doing so in her current role as Program Manager and facilitator with Hyper Island. She has facilitated and mentored teams ranging from Fortune 500s to non-profits to startups and brings those experiences to the Bootcamps that she leads with us.

Thomas Wendt is an independent design strategist, educator and published author. With an academic background and continued interest in philosophy, he brings a unique perspective to design thinking. Thomas writes and speaks on design theory, ethical and sustainable design and design research. If you haven’t checked it out yet, he wrote a killer post for The Design Gym’s blog about Sustainable Design Thinking. Like to get philosophical? Be sure to engage Thomas during a Design Thinking Bootcamp lunch break.

Andy Hagerman
[email protected]
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