Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum today announced four appointments to its board of trustees: Jennifer Deason, Paul Leinwand, Natalie Nixon and Ivy Ross.

“I am thrilled to welcome this dynamic group to Cooper Hewitt’s board of trustees,” said Maria Nicanor, director of Cooper Hewitt. “Jennifer, Paul, Natalie and Ivy couldn’t be better suited to help push forward our new vision for Cooper Hewitt in the years to come. We are truly honored to have them join an already stellar board of trustees with their profound design expertise and exemplary track record as caring leaders in their fields.”

“On behalf of my fellow trustees, I extend a warm welcome to an outstanding group of new board members,” said Jon Iwata, chairman of Cooper Hewitt’s board of trustees. “Each has demonstrated a strong commitment to design and a passion for design’s potential to enrich life and improve how the world works. As the nation’s design museum, Cooper Hewitt will greatly benefit from their expertise and enthusiasm.”

Jennifer Deason

Jennifer Deason is the chairwoman and CEO of Belong Capital, which is focused on digital media, ecommerce, software and consumer technology. She has spent the past 25 years driving growth and value creation in a diverse array of companies. Prior to founding Belong, she was the CFO and chief business officer of Flowcode; served as global head of strategy and business development at Sotheby’s; and CFO of the Weather Company, where she was part of the leadership team that pivoted the business toward digital data. She currently sits on the boards of Margaux Shoes, Concentrix, DHI, Mastercraft and MASSMoCA.


Paul Leinwand is the global managing director of capabilities-driven strategy and growth for Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, where he serves global clients through large-scale strategy and transformation efforts. Leinwand is also an adjunct professor of strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He has co-authored a series of books with Harvard Business Press, including the most recent, Beyond Digital: How Great Leaders Transform Their Organizations and Shape the Future (2022). Leinwand is a board director for the Genuine Scooter Company and the Goodman Theatre, and has served as a strategic advisor to many nonprofits.


Natalie Nixon, Ph.D. is a creativity strategist and CEO of Figure 8 Thinking, where she brings her background in anthropology, fashion, academia and dance to advise leaders on transformation. Prior to Figure 8 Thinking, Nixon served as a professor and the founding director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Thomas Jefferson University. She is the author of The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation and Intuition at Work (2020) and editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services and Beyond (2015). A highly requested keynote speaker, Nixon addresses audiences around the globe on creativity, innovation and the future of work.


Ivy Ross is vice president of design for the hardware product area at Google, where she and her team have launched a family of consumer hardware products, ranging from smartphones to smart speakers. Previously, Ivy has held executive positions spanning from head of product design and development, to CMO and presidencies with several companies, including Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach, Mattel, Bausch & Lomb and Gap. Ivy has been a contributing author to numerous books, including The Change Champion’s Field Guide (2013). A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts grant, she is renowned for her innovative metal work in jewelry, which is in the permanent collections of 12 international museums.


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.

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