Meet the team.
CEO + Leadership Coach
A former design leader at Pinterest, Square, and IDEO, Mia started Design Dept. in 2015 to help transform the way creative leaders work.
Mia’s work is informed by a deep understanding of the position of creative leaders at high-growth technology companies. She developed a new tool, the Design Leadership Profile, to help clients understand their approach to vision, team, and execution and gain critical skills within each area. She believes that when a designer’s authentic leadership style is unlocked, it impacts not only individuals and teams, but the products, services, and organizations that shape our world.
Ashlea Powell Sommer
Leadership Coach + Educator
With over a decade of experience at IDEO, Ashlea has worked with individuals and teams at all points on the creative leadership spectrum. A writer and design researcher by training, Ashlea is innately curious and considers conversation her medium. She has developed multiple conversation formats that help bring new perspective to well-trodden topics, and create a safe space for approaching tough subjects. She believes stories are tools for unlocking change, especially the stories we are unaware we are telling ourselves.
Ashlea was inspired to become a leadership coach based on her experience working with one while on maternity leave (aka her sabbatical), enabling a profound shift from a time often associated with self-sacrifice to one of perspective, alignment and growth.
Prior to Design Dept., Natasha lead and managed Airbnb external events. There she orchestrated a variety of creative large and small scale events including Airbnb’s Tech Talks & Design Talks series, OpenAir and events at GHC, Brooklyn Beta, SXSW and more.
Her focus has always been about the end to end experience and creating an environment to cultivate connection. Her passion for sustainability is not only reflected in her work through events, but also through her own vintage business, The Consistency Project, where she promotes a sustainable lifestyle through secondhand.