Q&A with Sarah Robertson

Meet Sarah Robertson. Sarah joined Design Impact in August 2019 as a Senior Social Innovation Specialist, bringing with her curiosity, whimsy, and a deep commitment to creating a more equitable world in all that she does. Keep reading to learn more about what keeps her up at night, her tasty creative outlet, and why a messy space is not her jam.


Q: In your own words, what is your role at DI?
A: As a senior social innovation specialist, I channel my expertise in strategy and innovation through a social justice lens to drive meaningful progress against social challenges. I’m excited to dig in, tapping into a decade-plus of consulting experience to designing empathic, creative and inclusive approaches that champion community input and unlock progress in my region and beyond.

Q: What are you working on these days?
A: I’m working across a range of projects – from developing a community-building initiative designed to nurture collective momentum toward positive social change and cultivating an innovative and inclusive culture within a partner organization to supporting our ongoing efforts with Feeding America and exploring the intersection between creativity and mental health for a leading academic partner. Operationally, I’ll be working alongside my peers to continue to elevate the effectiveness of our process and workflow.

Q: What keeps you up at night?
The education gap. Economic, social and systemic inequity. Sustainability and the impact of the built environment on our natural world. Complacency and blindspots. And two littles at home!

Q: What are some of your creative outlets?
A: Can we schedule another hour to talk about food? ha. I love cooking (and eating) – it’s one of the ways I’m constantly exploring my curiosity and pushing my comfort zone. As for “failing forward” – I’m always learning things through trial and error in my vegetable garden. And in a constant study of humility – I do my best to keep up with my four year old’s requests to draw bears on bicycles and giraffes eating ice cream.

Q: What are some causes you’re passionate about?
A: It’s hard to isolate a single cause, but addressing systemic inequity and working for equal access to quality education–especially early childhood ed–are at the top of my list.

Q: What drew you to DI? And how do your superpowers lend themselves to what you do now at DI?
A: I’m a lifelong status-quo questioner and insatiably curious about the world around me, and I’ve long been committed to social justice. DI operates at the intersection of creativity, equity and leadership–count me in! Our organizational commitment to learning and innovating is at the center of how we work toward our mission of a more equitable world.

I’ve been blessed with the dot-connecting gene, and I strive to make complex things simple every day (no mom of toddlers has time for complexity!!). I’m passionate about keeping real people—and their quirky, resilient human-ness—front-and-center in the solutions I design. In my work, this means elevating the voices of the often less-heard, and it also means I’ve had to get a little creative in how to get there. I’ve crafted novel insight-generation approaches to crack some of the stickiest problems, from comedy-fueled insights to guided meditations and regressive journaling. Whether facilitating a client session, nurturing my colleagues or learning from the community, I bring curiosity, whimsy and a deep commitment to creating a more equitable world to all I do.

Q: When you’re not at DI, where can we find you?
A:  If I’m not snuggling my babies, you can find me cooking something elaborate (or at least daydreaming about it), working in the garden, taking a long walk, or finding time for pilates or yoga. I love reading and listening to podcasts (like Revisionist History, Hidden Brain, Code Switch), and — I may be in the minority here — I love a good tidying up.

Q: What are some highlights from the past year?
A: My youngest daughter was born early last year, and being a mom of two has been the most amazing journey. If I can keep my eyes open, I’ll tell you all about it! And – after 10 years in creative consulting, I’m thrilled to be launching a new chapter in my professional life. I’ve long sought out mission-based clients and work around equity and community-building, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to take on these important issues full-time.

Sarah’s Noteworthy Accomplishments and Career Highlights

  • BA in Sociology, English Literature and the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability from Washington and Lee University.
  • Graduate of C-Change Class 8

Find Sarah on LinkedIn