Hi! I’m Sylvie.
❓ I’ve always been passionate about seeking answers to two questions:
1) How (but more importantly why) do people do the things they do?
2) What drives human health and happiness (I’ve always believed the two are inseparably interconnected), and how can I help?
(If you’re thinking this is more than two questions — that’s fair. You’re right. And you’ll be the first to know that there are far more than two answers).
🧠 As an undergraduate at Tufts, I studied Cognitive Science to better understand the inner workings of the human mind and brain from every perspective available — the psychological, the philosophical, and even the computational. I studied memory, emotion, neural circuitries, and I analyzed them from every angle (how to understand from a biological perspective? A relational vantage point? A computer model’s representation?).
🙇🏽♀️ I left with a firm commitment to pursue a career in mental health, applying a blended lens of biology and empathy towards the service of emotional wellbeing. I worked for a large non-profit offering In Home Family Therapy to children living with debilitating social, emotional and behavioral diagnoses and their families. I met with families twice weekly in their own homes, bringing them all the tools at my disposal (which, were unfortunately not many). I saw many families who grew and excelled with the supports we offered, and many more families who did not. I became all too familiar with a system not designed for these families’ success.
🌊 After a few years, I moved from Boston to Philadelphia to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health. An old adage describes an individual observing death and decay at the hands of a powerful river — humans who had fallen in and were drowning, unable to surface and escape. Good, kind samaritans swarm to help, reaching out their hands to pull. A few are saved, but ultimately it is not enough. The observer wonders: why are so many people falling in this river? What is happening upstream? As I saw it, it was time to go upstream.
🛠 During my time at Jefferson, I thrived on the energy of gathering new tools and strategies for population-level impact. I learned how to leverage the logical, data-driven tools of the field to identify areas of need and design effective interventions. I particularly enjoyed my classes on Health Behavior Change (remember my 2 big questions?) — these courses delved into a simpler-said-than-done principle: making the healthy choice the easy choice.
🤔 Nonetheless, I was struck by a gap. Public health problems are complex, nuanced, and dynamic, and yet we continue to approach them with traditional, linear problem solving tools. Why doesn’t public health adapt the innovative, iterative methods applied so commonly in business and technology, like Design Thinking and rapid iteration? I sought out to address this gap through my MPH Thesis, where I developed a Design Thinking workshop to augment public health education. I piloted it with 10 of my kindly willing classmates, evaluated it’s efficacy as an educational intervention and published my preliminary results. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of teaching Design Thinking at Jefferson and across Philadelphia, but Design Thinking is just the start.
🏥 I went on to CHOP (the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) to work as an Innovation Strategist. There, I moved to the meta-intervention level, supporting an interdisciplinary effort to 1) build organizational capacity for creative problem solving and 2) develop an organization-wide culture of idea-sharing and entrepreneurship. I developed and facilitated Design Thinking training and other innovation education, including an end-to-end curriculum supporting nurse and child-life innovators. I also conducted needs assessments, internal and external scans, and qualitative research to identify and pilot best practices around an evidence-based discipline of innovation.
💡 But alas, I’m a nonconformist. I wanted to work more creatively, on my own projects, guided by my own values. I wanted to bring together the very best tools for each problem at hand, without having to go up a chain of command. That brings me to the now: starting my independent consulting business.
👩🏽💻 In early 2021, I took the leap. I quit my job and dove head first into my vision: leveraging unique perspectives from behavior change, public health, and systems thinking in order to optimize processes and systems for better health, happiness, and wellbeing. Specifically, I provide:
- Design Research — I excel at understanding and bringing the patient voice into product and service development.
- Process/Systems Optimization — I work with teams to understand tools, processes, people involved and how to make best use of resources to optimize innovation.
- Innovation Education — helping individuals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively, and efficiently test new products, ideas and services to best serve the needs of individuals and communities.
🏔 In my spare time, I’m usually hiking, dancing, climbing, crocheting a scarf, or trying to convince someone to play a board game (Catan anyone? 🤪).