Shirin Ardakani

Experience Designer

Shirin is a designer, strategist, and storyteller—a communicator with an entrepreneurial spirit. Driven by an insatiable curiosity and a deep empathy, she approaches each new project with a beginner’s mind.  One of her greatest strengths is enabling others to learn, grow, and feel safe sharing their experiences as users, ultimately uncovering actionable insights. She’s leveraged these skills across a spectrum of domains, most recently in higher-ed. She was a founding team member of a Stanford University exec-ed initiative, Worldview Stanford, that creates interdisciplinary “blended learning” (online + in person) experiences for professionals. She helped design, develop and deliver the online learning platform, multimedia content, on-site experience, and curriculum for Worldview’s four unique courses: The Science of Decision Making, Behind & Beyond Big Data, Environmental Risk & Resilience, and The Future of Food-Scenario Planning Training. 

She began her eclectic career as a print designer for a boutique design firm in San Francisco, creating award-winning annual reports and identity systems for tech and biotech companies in Silicon Valley and the Northwest. She’s served as Creative Director for an international video game industry publication, helped develop an operations and community engagement strategy for a co-working space focused around social entrepreneurship, and co-created a business concept around food and cooking in the collaborative consumption space.

Shirin was born and raised in St. Louis and earned her design degree from the School of Fine Arts at Washington University, St. Louis. She has an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. CCA’s unique MBA program unites the perspectives of systems thinking, design and integrative thinking, sustainability, finance, entrepreneurship, and generative leadership into a holistic strategic framework.

After growing up and attending undergrad in the Midwest, she headed West for adventure and put down new roots in San Francisco. The opportunity to join the BIF team inspired her to shake things up again and explore the unique beauty and character of the Northeastern corner of the U.S. She’s starting out this next leg of her journey identifying as a Northern Californian with Midwestern undertones, but it probably won’t take long before a Northeastern flair shows up in the mix. No matter what part of the country she’s in, come Sunday you’ll probably find her sifting through troves of antique baubles while munching on kettle corn at the nearest flea market she can find.