My pronouns are she/her or they/them.
I live in Oakland, which sits in the territory of Huichin, a territory that I acknowledge as part of the unceded land of the Chochenyo Ohlone, the successors of the historic and sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County.
I am a freelance social designer and researcher, who specializes in applying community- and human-centered design to local and global development. I have worked on projects of all sizes with non-profits, governments, and social enterprises, on topics ranging from civil and human rights, to healthcare and education, financial inclusion and consumer protection, and media development. My clients have included the World Bank, the International Rescue Committee, Open Society Foundations, and Population Services International, to name a few. My design work has been honored by the Core77 Design Awards, the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), ONE Prize, and the GSMA mWomen Design Challenge.
In my spare time, you will find me volunteering as a teacher, a translator, or a crisis mapper. Most recently, I co-founded Design Gigs for Good, a job board listing opportunities at the intersection of design and social impact. I am a graduate of Sciences Po Paris, where I studied International Business and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Affairs. I also studied design innovation at the Paris Est d.school, User Experience design at General Assembly, and participatory design at MIT.
In the "Media"
- Design for Good, Designer&Designer Podcast
- Women of Design, IxDA San Francisco
- Designing for Social Impact, Communication Arts Magazine
- Interview with Sarah Fathallah, AIGA EMERGE
- 5 Recent Reads We Loved (And You May Have Missed!), DAI Digital
- SHEDesigner interview (in Arabic), Al Ordon Alyoom (Jordanian news channel)
- The New Movement Recruiting Designers for Social Good, Coding It Forward
- Testimonials of ME310 Paris alumni: Sarah Fathallah (in French), Paris Est d.school
- OpenIDEATOR Insight: Sarah Fathallah, OpenIDEO
Design coach for the following Stanford d.school courses:
- Design for Extreme Affordability
- Intro to Legal Design
- CS+Social Good
- Prototyping Access to Justice
- Justice + Poverty Innovation
Guest lecturer at:
- Lab@OPM's Summer Design School
- Northwestern University in San Francisco
- Stanford University's d.school
- The Maryland Institute College of Art
- The Paris Est d.school
Visiting faculty at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), co-teaching the "Designing for Behaviour and Impact" course.
Speaker, panelist, or workshop facilitator at the following events:
- Better World by Design, Providence (Sep 2012)
- TEDxDUMBO, Brooklyn (Oct 2012)
- Mobile World Congress, Barcelona (Feb 2013)
- Design Thinking: DC, Washington DC (Mar 2014)
- Service Experience Chicago, Virtual (Feb 2016)
- Service Design Global Conference, Amsterdam (Oct 2016)
- UX Burlington, Burlington (Jun 2017)
- General Assembly, San Francisco (Jun 2017)
- SHEDesigner, Amman (Jan 2018)
- Design Research, Melbourne (Mar 2018)
- Empathy in Design and Leadership, Berkeley (Oct 2018)
- Design in the Social Sector, Beirut (Dec 2018)
- SF Design Week, San Francisco (Jun 2019)
- Joint Futures Conference, Helsinki (Sep 2019)
- Design for Development, Virtual (Mar 2020)
- Advancing Research, Virtual (Mar 2020)
- CIID Lightning Talks, Virtual (May 2020)
To explore my writing, including pieces for GOOD Magazine and Benevolent Media, head on over to my Medium blog.
Also, dive into these publications that I co-authored:
- Embracing Informality: Designing Financial Services for China's Marginalized, Reboot, 2012
- Better Insights for Better Products: Lessons Learned from 3 Applied Product Innovation Projects, CGAP, 2013
- Coordination Structures for Financial Inclusion Strategies and Reforms, World Bank Group, 2013
- National Financial Inclusion Strategies Coordination Structures: Country Examples, World Bank Group, 2014
- Establishing a Financial Consumer Protection Department: Key Observations and Lessons Learned in Five Case Study Countries, World Bank Group, 2014
- National Financial Inclusion Strategies, World Bank Group, 2015
- Template for the Design of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy, World Bank Group, 2016
- When It Rains, It Pours: Challenges and Opportunities in Myanmar's Sesame Value Chain, Proximity Designs with Studio D Radiodurans, 2019