Anthropology major helps NFL players transition to post-play life
By Nick Sommariva | March 12, 2014
Emory College graduate Annie Valdes uses her human-centered design skills to tackle interesting and complex problems for the NFL Players Association, Eli Lilly, Google and others.
A redesigned shopping cart inspired Annie Valdes (1998, Emory College) to reimagine her career. Now, she works at IDEO and uses her human-centered design skills to tackle interesting and complex problems for the NFL Players Association, Eli Lilly, Google, and others. Her company "helps organizations innovate, build businesses, and develop their own innovation capabilities" with high profile clients like British Airways, Microsoft, and Wells Fargo.
In 2004, when a professor showed her class a Nightline video of the IDEO design process, Valdes was more than intrigued by the global design consultancy firm headquartered in Palo Alto, California. In fact, the day after watching the video, Valdes applied to a job posting by IDEO and was soon after given a six-month trial period.
“They didn’t know what to do with me,” she said, speaking to her diverse background—an anthropology degree, experience as a web developer, and an MBA. But the trial worked, and Valdes has been with IDEO ever since, working at both the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices.