Cheryl Heller is the founding chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York, founder of the design lab CommonWise and winner of the prestigious AIGA Medal for her contribution to the field of design. She is a business strategist and communication designer who has founded two companies and taught creativity to leaders and organizations around the world, helped grow businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated moribund cultures, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. She is the former board chair and current adviser to PopTech, a senior fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab, on the Innovation Advisory Board for the Lumina Foundation and serves as an advisor to DataKind.
Heller created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999, which has since given almost $13 million to designers working for the public good. She advised Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum on the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.” Cheryl is a Matrix Award winner for excellence in communication and has been profiled through articles in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, BusinessWeek and many others, and her work has been published widely. She has written for many publications on the subject of social innovation design and creativity.