Co-Founder/Principal/Chief Design Officer, Darte Design

Age: 29

Heritage: Cuban


Jessica was born in Cuba and was lucky to escape to Peru and finally, to Miami, Florida where she grew up until it was time to leave home for MIT. During undergrad at MIT, Jessica started to make the world a better place through Sustainability and Energy research as a Mechanical Engineer. When she realized the power of design and that all fundamental problems can be traced back to education, she continued on at MIT and got a Dual Master’s in Engineering. During this time, she invented design approaches to teach and capacitate non-designers to be able to think like designers when solving complex, human-centric problems. 


Today, Jessica is the Founder and Principal of DARTE Design, a human-centered design studio and consultancy that works with organizations that are struggling with complex, people-centric problems. She gives them the power of design to get better, faster outcomes that are validated by their own users.  Jessica has brought design to communities around the world from the rurals of India and Nicaragua to international banks and prestigious schools in Taiwan, Beijing, and Rio de Janeiro. Jessica prefers working with local talent and building design capacity so communities around the world can be the change agents for their own problems and identify the right opportunities. 


Jessica is also the Co-Founder of The Second L, a magical space where she gets to translate everything she’s learned from being in residential-based learning communities at MIT for 11 years into designs for community-based transformation and growth that will serve young professionals across the world. Jessica and her co-founder and fiancé, Morris Vanegas (also a fellow Latino 30 under 30!), are launching the first Fulfillment Festival around their wedding this upcoming #PiDay2020: ÉPOCA, A Festival of Love and Learning. Friends and family will descend onto their playground, a pop-up campus in the middle of Miami, where they will study transformational growth and apply it to their unique journeys while celebrating all that is possible with love and a willingness to receive.


For Jessica, being a Latina is a privilege and an asset. It makes her more aware of the gifts she was born with, of how her community has shaped her, and of the source of the powerful values she believes in. She takes her Latino culture with her to every board meeting, brainstorming sessions, and mentoring opportunities as a reminder to clearly (and loudly) stand by what you believe in and to never shy away from a good challenge. 

Jessica attributes her success to the power of her reflection practice. It is reflection that helps her make sense of the world, learn from past experiences, and be empowered to write her own narrative. Reflection has become the most important skill as it directly feeds into the most important challenge we’re all faced with: to tell our own stories. Jessica believes that the more work you can put into refining your own story— that is, reframing previous incidents into opportunities that benefit your journey— the less you will stumble going in circles finding who you are, your soul purpose, and how to be most successful with the most impact.

Jessica dreams of working-playing-dancing in a blended personal-professional space where her spirituality and intuition can serve her technical, analytical, and creative work. Jessica’s goals are to serve the disempowered young professionals— especially minorities and first generation candidates— by helping them achieve transformational growth and eventually become fulfilled and charged to be the change they wish to see in the world. Jessica believes there is untapped potential in the highest achieving young professionals, that there is untapped value to society from these bright minds being unfulfilled, and that there are ways to activate them and help them live their best lives. Jessica wants to help make that happen. 

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El Mundo Boston 2018.