Esther Y. Kang recently served a one-year term as the inaugural Designer-in-Residence at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Obama Administration. In this capacity, she applied design-thinking principles and a human-centered approach to several internal projects. Prior to joining the Initiative, Esther worked in arts management, first with The Art Institute of Chicago, and later with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Afterwards, Esther served as Program and Organizational Development Manager at the Durfee Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Southern California.
Esther received her M.A. in social design from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her B.F.A in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the founder of a Los Angeles county based mentorship program for millennials passionate about social change. She has also served as an Advisory Council member for Youth Speak Collective, an Advisor to Art Center College of Design where she was Adjunct Faculty, and a Development Fellow at the Taproot Foundation. Esther is currently advising regional philanthropic organizations interested in investing in design-thinking projects, and is actively involved in advocacy work in Baltimore, MD where she is currently based. Esther was born in Detroit, MI, and has spent time in the midwest, west coast, and Texas with a gap year overseas.