About us

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Bill Burnett

Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford, Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford

After years of drawing cars and airplanes under his Grandmother’s sewing machine, Bill Burnett went off to the University and discovered, much to his surprise, that there were people in the world who did this kind of thing everyday (without the sewing machine) and they were called designers. 45 years, five companies, and a couple of thousand students later Bill is still drawing and building things, teaching others how to do the same, and quietly enjoying the fact that no one has discovered that he is having too much fun.

Bill Burnett is an Adjunct Professor and the Executive Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford. He received his Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Product Design at Stanford and has worked in start-ups and Fortune 100 companies, including seven years at Apple designing award-winning laptops and a number of years in the toy industry designing Star Wars action toys. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents and design awards, and, in addition to his duties at Stanford, he advises several of his students’ startup companies.

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Dave Evans

Lecturer, Product Design Program at Stanford, Management Consultant, and co-founder of Electronic Arts

From saving the seals to solving the energy crisis, from imagining the first computer mice to redefining software — Dave’s been on a mission, including helping others to find theirs. Starting at Stanford with dreams of following Jacques Cousteau as a marine biologist, Dave realized (a bit late) that he was lousy at it and shifted to mechanical engineering with an eye on the energy problem. After four years in alternative energy, it was clear that this idea’s time hadn’t come yet. So while en route to biomedical engineering, Dave accepted an invitation to work for Apple, where he led product marketing for the mouse team and introduced laser printing to the masses. When Dave’s boss at Apple left to start Electronic Arts, Dave joined as the company’s first VP of Talent, dedicated to making “software worthy of the minds that use it.”

Having participated in forming the corporate cultures at Apple and EA, Dave decided his best work was in helping organizations build creative environments where people could do great work and love doing it. So he went out on his own; working with start-up teams, corporate executives, non-profit leaders, and countless young adults. They were all asking the same question. “What should I do with my life?” Helping people get traction on that question finally took Dave to Cal and Stanford and continues to be his life’s work.

Dave holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a graduate diploma in Contemplative Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

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Susan Burnett

CO-Founder and CEO of Designing Your Life Consulting, Chair, Board of Directors, Rising International, Start-Up Advisor

Susan’s design life started in high school where she learned to design and make her own clothes when there wasn’t a big budget in the Burnett household for new stuff. After graduating from Simmons College, she went on to her dream job teaching middle and high school kids, and her pursuit of design surfaced again. Susan received a Master’s in Instructional Design from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Pursuing a new Odyssey, she made a career change into industry, becoming the first instructional designer ever hired by HP to design and deliver the next generation of Corporate Training programs.

Susan has dedicated the last 35 years of her corporate career to designing for individual and organizational transformation and growth. She held executive roles at Hewlett-Packard, Gap Inc. Deloitte and Yahoo!, where she designed and led large-scale business changes, cultural renewal, employee engagement, and leadership development. She also led the effort to build Deloitte University – a center for leadership and culture.

Susan co-founded DYL Consulting with the belief that empowering people with the life design process, tools and mindsets can lead to new and healthier ways to work and live in a chaotic, unpredictable, and ever-changing world. She is a regular speaker, consultant and author on these subjects.

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Kathy Davies

Designing Your Life Workshop Leader

Kathy Davies is the Managing Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford University, where she teaches Product Design and life design courses, and shares life design trainings with educators globally. She is also the co-founder of Designing Your Life Consulting and a commercial Master Trainer.

Kathy has 15 years of industry experience developing electromechanical and software products, and proudly holds five patents. She consults with Silicon Valley companies, teaches design thinking, conducts ethnographic research, and develops product strategies and concepts. Her prior experience as an engineer and product manager and leader of engineering teams gives her particular skill in understanding and connecting with technical audiences as they learn life design tools.

Kathy believes design thinking and life design can empower social change, especially around equity for women.

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Andrea Ciafardini

Mindfulness & Meditation Instructor, DYL For Women and Founder, Holistic Connections

Andrea Ciafardini is the Mindfulness and Meditation Instructor for the DYL for Women experience. As Founder of Holistic Connections, Inc., the company’s mission is to create transformative experiences for individuals and groups allowing for a deeper level of connection, awareness, and presence through unique integrative practices. These include the Enneagram of the Narrative Tradition, Kundalini yoga, meditation and breathwork and Emotional Polarity Technique as ways to unwind outdated narratives in order to connect with and reveal one’s authentic voice.

Andrea’s fulfilling 15-year career is a testament to her dedication and passion for emotional and spiritual health. Her journey has also led her to develop and facilitate workshops on forgiveness, emotional wellness and all aspects of meditation throughout the U.S and globally. Whether in a virtual or in-person workshop, Andrea creates a compassionate, loving and safe space for participants to unwind, let go, and relax into a deeper relationship with one’s Self.

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Catherine Dalipe

Business Relationship Manager, Designing Your Life Consulting & Fieldbrook Advising; Certified DYL Coach

Catherine has reinvented herself and pivoted on numerous occasions and in several countries starting in her early adult life and well into the current chapter of her odyssey. Her life design journey started when she decided to leave the nest (Guam) to attend university in the US ‘mainland’, changing majors in college as a biology major (pre-dentistry!) then switching when she took the leap to study abroad in Spain. Pivoting again, she landed her first job with the Environmental Protection Agency, and then decided to pursue her Master’s in International Policy Studies adding Japanese to her language tool kit. With a desire to re-design again, she was drawn to working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and landed in a rewarding 30-year career in international education management where she held senior leadership roles overseeing multi-site global operations leading divisional startups, organizational changes and leadership training and development initiatives.

As the Business Relationship Manager for Designing Your Life and Fieldbrook Advising (DYL Certified Facilitators) and Certified DYL Coach, she is a passionate advocate for design thinking as a methodology to empower people to design a life and career with joy, clarity, agency and engagement.

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