I'm Dani. Thanks for taking the time to read a bit about me. At my core, I am a designer. I found design in my early twenties and fell in love. Design helped me to understand what I was meant to do in the world and gave me focus and purpose. 

Researching Design Thinker capabilities has been the passion and focus of my life in the past seven years...yes, I am nerdy like that! Research has shown me that design capabilities can help us solve the big scary problems we face in the world today. 

A chronic sufferer of wanderlust, proud human to two awesome dachshunds, a foodie, a wine enthusiast, an avid exerciser, with a love of music and binge watching tv, a serial book worm...a New Yorker living in New Zealand constantly at awe by its natural beauty. Have a scroll to learn more about me...connect with me on social media. 

Connect with me on social media

The Offical Bio

Founder of the Design Thinker Institute, Creator of the Design Thinker Profile, Co-Host of the Design Thinker Podcast, Dr Dani Chesson is a human-centered designer who leverages the power of behavioral science to help organizations drive innovation and create change. She has worked with corporates and government agencies in the USA and NZ. Dani is also an adjunct faculty member in graduate programs at Denver University and Antioch University where she lectures on organizational science and research methodology. Realizing that much of her success in the corporate world stemmed from her roots as a designer inspired her research path and establishing the Design Thinker Institute, with the mission of helping others unlock the human power of design.


Professional Experience

Adjunct Faculty – Organizational Development, Denver University

Affiliate Faculty – Research Methodology, Antioch University

Organization Development Lead – ASB Bank, 2021-2022

Change Lead (contract) – IAG NZ, 2020-2021

Change Lead (contract), BNZ, 2019-2022

Snr. Change Manager (contract), Westpac NZ, 2018-2019

VP, Small Business Strategy & Change, Bank of America, 2014-2017

AVP, Regulatory Change, Bank of America, 2011-2014

Management Consultant, NTT Data Services, 2009-2011


Educational Background

Post-Doctoral Study, Applied Behavioral Economics – Texas A&M University

Phd, Organizational Science, Design Thinking – Antioch University (2017) 

Master of Science, Organizational Development, Behavior Science – Queens University of Charlotte (2016)

Certificate in Executive Coaching – Queens University of Charlotte (2016)

MBA, Leadership and Organizational Change – Queens University of Charlotte (2012)

Bachelor of Technology, Visual Communication & Design – State University of NY (2005)



Chesson, D. (2021). The ethics of design. In E. Elgar (Ed.), Mastering Ethics in Organizations (pp. xx-xx). Cheltenham, UK. (Publication due September 2021)

Chesson, D. (2020). Design Thinker Profile: Capabilities for Overcoming Barriers to Change. Organization Development Journal38(2).

Chesson, D., Steen, R., & Vinard, A. (2020). There is No “I” in Core: Scientists and Administrators Talk. Journal of Biomolecular Techniques: JBT31(Suppl), S42.

Chesson, D., Kusy, M. (2019). Design Thinker Profile: Capabilities for Driving Change in Healthcare. Journal of Medical Practice Management, (Nov/Dec 2019).

Chesson, D. (2018). Meeting 21st Century Organizational Challenges with Design Thinking. Organization Development Journal36(3).

Chesson, D. (2017). Design Thinker Profile: Creating and Validating a Scale for Measuring Design Thinking Capabilities.


Conference Presentations 

There is no ‘I’ in Core | Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (2020)

21st Century Leadership Skills | International Leadership Association (2017)

Design Thinking, So What?! | Human Resource Summit (2016)

Data, Design, and the Why | American Marketing Association (2011)