Jess Obayan

Director, Creativity + Co-Design


Jess is an equity design strategist and creative social worker energized by exploring how curiosity, empathy and creativity can illuminate pathways to a more just lived experience.

She approaches social work as a creative practice that relies on our capacity to imagine, design and manifest healing for ourselves and our communities. As a practiced human-centered designer, she believes that we have a right to the power to design the future that we want and deserve. She is well-versed in design thinking and the use of empathy generating design tools to analyze and address public health inequities. She began her career co-designing community-led projects throughout Eastern and Southern Africa where she learned a deep appreciation for the collective power of the village that still serves as the foundation for her community work.

Jess is a graduate of Boston College Graduate School of Social Work where her studies focused on leadership and social innovation. Motivated by the power of design as a tool for social justice, she completed post-graduate studies in Integrated Design at University of Baltimore.

Creative Outlets: Preserving family history through cooking generational recipes, thrifting for vintage clothing and furniture, buying more books that I promise I’ll definitely read before buying more books.

Causes: Truth telling, mental health and healing justice, culturally responsive healthcare, equal investment in women’s sports

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