The Design Nerds Society is an international and award winning community of artists, designers, facilitators, educators and social innovators. The VDN board of directors and steering committee meet on a regular basis and are active in pursuing experimental and collaborative opportunities for design jams and public space projects.

Read on to meet the team.


Jesi Carson, Co-Director

Jesi Carson is a design researcher and interaction designer specializing in community engagement and creative facilitation. She has collaborated on various Design Nerd Jams and projects including the award winning Vancouver Bubble, an urban intervention and experiment in reclaiming the Right to the City. Jesi is also the Lead Designer and Communities Coordinator for, an open source, open edit platform for sharing knowledge and stories about public participation and democratic innovations. Jesi holds a Diploma of Display Design from Langara College (honours, 2005), as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Interaction Design (2013) and Master’s Degree in Design (2018) from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Find her on social @jesicarson. 

Interaction Design, 360 Video, Facilitation, Participatory Democracy

Sarah Hay, Co-Director

Sarah is a designer, educator and facilitator. She holds a a Masters of Applied Arts in Design from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2008) and a Bachelors of Industrial Design from Carleton University (2003). She splits her working time between projects with Slow and Steady Design (her nomadic design office); teaching at Emily Carr University of Art + Design; teaching design + civic engagement at Simon Fraser University; and as co-director of the Design Nerds.

Design Research, Co-design, Sustainability, Slowness, Facilitation, Education

Jared Korb, Co-Director

Jared is an interdisciplinary designer and facilitator, who’s passionate about engaging local communities in collaborative problem solving. Using Design Thinking and User-Centred Design methodology, Jared works to help clients in the process of creating more desirable futures. He has experience in design roles with Vancouver- based businesses and organizations in technology, product, architecture, and social impact sectors. Growing up in the United States, and educated in Canada, he attended Trinity Western University, studying Art & Business, before earning his undergrad degree in Industrial Design at Emily Carr University.

Product Design, Design Thinking, Facilitation, Architectural Photography

Eesmyal Santos-Brault, Co-Founder & Co-Director

Eesmyal is a serial social entrepreneur with a mission to invent solutions to wicked problems through technology and social innovation. He has cofounded and continues to serve as director on three successful non-profit social enterprises that focus on creativity, sustainability and collaboration: HiVE Vancouver Society, Open Green Building Society, and Vancouver Design Nerds Society, which started in his living room in 2004. He earns a living as a green building expert and Principal of Recollective, a multi-disciplinary green building consulting firm he cofounded in 2006.

Invention, Social Innovation, Sustainability, Technology

Steering Committee

Our steering committee has recently expanded both in bodies and geographically, marking a transformation in the ways we are practicing, experimenting and collectively imagining the new ways in which we can work together and serve our communities.

Lisa Boulton

Jesi Carson

Dora Durkesak

Sarah Hay

Celine Hong

Jared Korb

Cindy Nachereun

Damjian Raic

Julien Thomas

Kaitlin Wiebe

Liz Vossen

Design Nerd Alumni. We have been lucky to have had so many incredible people serve on our board and steering committee, who have shaped who we are as an organization, over the past 10+ years. And continue to be a part of the larger Design Nerd community.

Alex Grunenfelder, Founder

Ruben Anderson, Founder

Mark Ashby, Former BoD

Ocean Dionne, Former SC

Marten Sims, Former BoD

Kim Cooper, Former BoD

Robyn Fenton, Former BoD

Theunis Snyman

Former Directors & Nerd Elders:

Eesmyal Santos-Brault, Founder
Ruban Anderson, Founder
Carla Weinberg, Founder and Director of Toronto Design Nerds
Mark Ashby, BoD
Marten Sims, BoD
Robyn Fenton, BoD
Naiomi Divine, BoD
Sabrina Meherally, BoD
Duane Elverum

Former Steering Committee Members:

Ocean Dionne
Tom Wynn
Mauricio Gendreau
Alicia Medina
Joshua Welsh
Samantha Welsh
Mitra Mansour
Theunis Snyman

Social Innovators in Residence

Jared Korb (Fall 2014 – Winter 2015)
Maia Rowan (Summer 2013)
Nicholas Harvey-Cheetham (Summer 2013)