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Theodora Gibbs

Senior Design Strategist

Theo works at the intersection of system science and human-centered design. She joined ChangeLabs in 2013, after completing her M.S. in Earth Systems Science at Stanford University, where she studied the social and environmental impacts of new agricultural value chain approaches such as “direct trade.” She also holds a B.A. in environmental anthropology from Stanford. Prior to her masters program, she analyzed barriers and policy solutions to U.S. domestic poverty and chronic hunger eradication as an Emerson Fellow. She also co-founded Rootspace Design, which became a finalist in the Hult International Business Competition.

At ChangeLabs, Theo is a principal project manager, and works closely with director Banny Banerjee to guide ChangeLabs' strategic direction and business development. She co-leads the Science Partnerships Enabling Response (SPERR) project, with the goal of designing a new system of rapid collaboration between academic and U.S. government scientists during large environmental disasters such as earthquakes and oil spills. She is also a lead strategist for the USAID-funded ResilientAfrica Network, a group of 4 social enterprise labs that incubate locally-sourced solutions in the face of climate stress across the African continent. Her past projects include advising The Rockefeller Foundation’s strategy on catalyzing sustainable small-scale fisheries management, and designing a streamlined, user-centered farm management platform for the New Zealand Ministry of Production in order to reduce freshwater pollution in the country. She is also an experienced and regular facilitator of workshops on design thinking, systems mapping, rapid scaling strategies, and organizational innovation.

In addition to her work at ChangeLabs, Theo is a lecturer in the Stanford Design School where she co-teaches a course on Designing Large-Scale System Transformations, and in the School of Earth Sciences, where she teaches a masters-level course on analyzing and designing urban agricultural systems in developing world cities.