Hello, I’m Ashlea Powell Sommer

Senior Design Director, IDEO New York

I work with design teams and clients to craft services, brands, and organizations that empower and engage. Narrative is my way into everything I do—from experimenting with new event formats to growing our next generation of leaders. My background is in writing and design research. My foreground is in listening hard, and staying present.

What you won’t learn from my bio:
Most often found standing on my hands, wandering the aisles of an antique market, or reading my latest self-help book.

Joined IDEO:
2007

Full Bio

Ashlea Powell is a Senior Design Director in IDEO’s New York studio, helping build and guide a portfolio of work at the intersection of service design and organizational change. To that end, she works with design teams and clients to craft human-centered stories, enabling organizations to imagine possible futures and ultimately bring new experiences to market.

Ashlea has had many chapters at IDEO—from leading large-scale projects in retail, hospitality, and media to crafting new formats for creative dialogue to growing the next generation of leaders. All of her work is informed by her passion for storytelling and reflection.

Prior to joining IDEO in 2007, Ashlea worked as a strategist and copywriter for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. She holds a degree in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, and a certificate in creative writing from the Portfolio Center. Her work has been recognized and published in Fast Company, Rotman Magazine, and Harvard Business Review. She frequently lectures about design and storytelling at universities and conferences across the country.

On the weekend, you can find Ashlea standing on her hands in yoga and hunting for treasure at NY’s many flea markets.