Hello, I’m Rebecca Chesney

Director,IDEO San Francisco

I view the world through the lens of food. Nothing energizes me more than digging into a person’s food story, learning how a crop is grown and traded, or discussing the link between tradition and innovation. I dive headfirst into complexity and am driven by helping organizations find impactful ways to build a more equitable, nourishing, and climate-positive future.

What you won’t learn from my bio:
I’m 4’11” and celebrate my Height Day every April 11. I’m also on the hunt for the best gelateria in every city across Italy—eight down, many more to go.

Joined IDEO:
2018


My Work


Full Bio

Rebecca Chesney is a Director with IDEO, where she works with organizations to redesign the food system. She leads the Circular Economy of Food CoLab, a collaborative that builds solutions to enable a more regenerative economy, and a variety of initiatives with global partners including Kroger, Danone, Electrolux, EAT, Thought for Food, and The Rockefeller Foundation. Trained as an accountant, food anthropologist, and foresight practitioner, she thrives in complexity and is equally comfortable with details and the big picture. Rebecca has over a decade of experience unearthing patterns to help food industry leaders make sense of rapid change.

Before joining IDEO in 2018, Rebecca was a Research Director with the Food Futures Lab at Institute for the Future, where she led consulting projects to help future-proof business strategy and build food systems resilience. Her work was featured in The New York Times, Wired, Marketplace Tech, CNN, and Canadian Grocer, and she was a featured speaker at conferences around the world. Rebecca also led ethnographic research in homes and on farms and taught futures thinking workshops with stakeholders across the food system.

Rebecca was previously a financial management policy analyst with The World Bank, a research assistant at University College Dublin, and an intern for a leather goods factory in Xiamen, China. She was one of ten graduates selected from across the United States for the Financial Accounting Standards Board's 2007 fellowship, and that same year was awarded Texas A&M University's Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student among 11,000 graduates. She holds degrees in accounting and finance from Texas A&M University and an MA in the Anthropology of Food from SOAS, University of London.

What gets her up and out in the morning? Digging into people’s food stories, hiking in California’s mountains and forests, and the prospect of a good meal with friends.

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