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Kara DeFrias

Kara's background is a mix of private and public sector, including Director of Experience Design on the Cancer Moonshot for then-Vice President Biden in 2016 and Senior Advisor in the Biden-Harris White House. She’s currently Chief of Staff for the Intuit QuickBooks Platform team. Prior, she was appointed to the first class of Presidential Innovation Fellows, and served on the data and technology team for the first 100 days of the pandemic for Governor of California's COVID Task Force. She founded and executive produced TEDxIntuit, and worked at 18F, Oscars, Emmys, Super Bowl, and Women’s World Cup.

Kara does pro-bono product strategy for non-profits; taught micro-entrepreneur women human centered design in rural India; and guest lectured at UC San Diego STEM Academy, Stanford, and Harvard. She double majored in theater and English at Elizabethtown College, graduated summa cum laude from Penn State with a masters in instructional design, and was a 2022 San Diego Woman of the Year finalist.

Kara DeFrias

About the talk

Designing the intersection of government, cancer, and the people

- SFJAZZ Center

In his 2016 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama declared a new White House initiative called the Cancer Moonshot. Embracing a human-centered focus, the story of the Cancer Moonshot shows how even the most ambitious projects can proceed in a way that engages stakeholders and users throughout the design process.

In this behind the scenes talk, you'll hear lessons learned on applying human centered design at scale and how to use technology to help achieve the seemingly impossible: making a decade’s worth of advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, in five years. Here’s the story of what it looks like to design at the intersection of a benevolent bureaucracy, a devastating disease, and the humans in between.

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