Two California College of the Arts faculty members, each dedicated to following participants throughout their experience, will command the Leading by Design Fellows Program.

Leading by Design Fellows Program Faculty

Susan Worthman

Susan Worthman is a sustainable-systems strategist, writer, researcher, and policy advocate. She consults with businesses and public agencies, helping to accelerate shifts to sustainable systems and practices within their core operations.

Much of her current work and research centers on the big, gnarly question of what success and growth look like in a post-consumerism society -- and by what and whose measure this is determined.

No stranger to issues of the environment, social justice, and “liveability,” Worthman began her career in Washington DC, developing neighborhood revitalization strategies, programs, and policies for urban centers across the United States.

A twist of fate brought her to San Francisco, where over the course of the next 20 years, she made substantial use of the region’s noted acceptance of (repeated) self-reinvention.

In fields as varied as design, high tech, and artisan foods, Worthman honed skills in business development, organizational management, marketing, and sales.

In the 1990s she managed an international, multicity collaboration among the American Institute of Wine & Food, VISA International, and top US and European chefs to showcase the benefits and variety of regional food sheds.

Worthman then served for five years as the CEO of a business trade association for the internet industry that gained international stature, along with a U.S. Department of Commerce award for export promotion.

In 1998 Worthman became the senior director of strategic business for a division of Ziff-Davis, spearheading developer acquisition projects for IBM and Intel, among others.

Over the next decade she worked in senior management positions with dot-com and high-tech software start-ups, directing market and business development.

Most recently she served as the senior director of U.S. operations for a Dutch artificial-intelligence software manufacturer, where she negotiated licensing deals, guided product development with US and Dutch engineering teams, and advised senior management on US market strategy.

Worthman is a published author of peer-reviewed articles, technical white papers, and industry analyses, most recently in the arena of renewable energy, business innovation, and technology.

She holds a graduate certificate from Presidio Graduate School with distinction in sustainable business management; an MBA with honors in strategic management and international business (San Francisco State University); and a BA in History (University of Pennsylvania).

Michele Ronsen

Michele Ronsen considers design to be a fundamental part of who she is and how she lives her life. Design thinking is in her DNA. 

Ronsen's a professionally trained graphic designer. She learned the ropes at Pentagram, where she worked for two-and-a-half years, and then at Michael Osborne Design for another two years, where Nordstrom was her primary client.

For the next two years, while in San Francisco and Seattle, she moved to the client side to develop product, packaging, merchandising, and several cosmetic brands under the Nordstrom name.

Having built two creative teams from the ground up, Ronsen then journeyed into finance when she returned to San Francisco. Real estate development, interior architecture, and furniture design all became passions soon after she learned the mortgage benefits that came along with employment in the financial services industry.

Ronsen completed her life-changing graduate work at CCA in the inaugural cohort of the Leading by Design Fellows Program. Today she consults and teaches. She also continues to apply the tools and frameworks she learned at CCA to further her passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and socially responsible design (plus a whole lot more). 

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