Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum today announces four new appointments to its board of trustees: Irene Au, Victor Calise, Kimberly Schuessler and Keith Yamashita.

“It’s my great pleasure to welcome Irene, Victor, Kim and Keith to Cooper Hewitt’s board of trustees,” said John Davis, interim director of Cooper Hewitt. “As leaders in their respective fields and enthusiastic advocates of design, they bring deep and varied knowledge and experience to the board and will help to advance Cooper Hewitt’s vital mission.”

“My fellow trustees and I are delighted to welcome this exceptional group to the board,” said Jon Iwata, chairman of Cooper Hewitt’s board of trustees. “We look forward to working together to support the museum and its staff in championing the power of design in everyday life.”

Irene Au

Irene Au is a design partner at Khosla Ventures, where she works with early-, mid-, and late-stage startup CEOs. She is dedicated to raising the strategic value of design and user research within software companies through better methods and practices, processes, leadership, talent and quality. Au has built and led the user experience and design teams at Google, Yahoo! and Udacity. She began her career as an interaction designer at Netscape Communications, where she worked on the design of the internet’s first commercial web browser. Au is the author of the definitive O’Reilly book, “Design in Venture Capital, and is a frequent author and speaker on mindfulness practices, design and creativity.

Victor Calise

Victor Calise has worked in the non-profit and public sectors for over two decades. He is a Paralympian and competed in the 1998 Paralympic Games in Nagano, Japan in the sport of sled hockey. As Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, he advocates for the disability community in all City decision-making. He chairs the Accessibility Committee of the City Building Code and leads efforts to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce through the NYC:ATWORK employment initiative. He also ensures that disability is at the forefront of the city’s emerging technologies, including communication modes, autonomous vehicles and digital accessibility.

Kimberly Schuessler

Kimberly Schuessler is a figurative artist who divides her time between New York and Puerto Rico. Her work is sold in galleries and is included in private as well as corporate collections. She was also selected as the featured artist for a collaboration with Spanx. Schuessler presently serves as a board member of the Multi-sensory Reading Center in Puerto Rico. She was formerly on the Georgia Council for the Arts and also served as a board member for Young Audiences, a division of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Georgia.

Keith Yamashita

Keith Yamashita is a designer. As one of the founders of SYPartners and the kyu collective, Yamashita nurtures moral imagination as a catalyst for change in the world. Over his career, he’s designed transformation efforts in business and greater society—contributing to the transformations at IBM, The Human Rights Campaign, AARP and Starbucks, among other leading organizations. He’s worked on anti-racism efforts, anti-bias training and efforts of inclusion. In collaboration with Oprah Winfrey and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Yamashita has championed well-being practices in the realm of business and beyond. He is a frequent writer and commentator. He is the creator and host of “This Human Moment.”


Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum, education and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 215,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BC to contemporary 3-D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Cooper Hewitt knits digital into experiences to enhance ideas, extend reach beyond museum walls and enable greater access, personalization, experimentation and connection.

For more information, visit or follow @cooperhewitt on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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