Emily Gorbaty Emily Gorbaty

Emily Gorbaty

Senior Design Researcher

Where did you work before Openbox?

I’m a mechanical engineer by training and have a background in international development. For several years I worked in sustainable infrastructure in India and Cambodia, designing energy, water, and sanitation systems — and yes, that includes designing toilets! That was certainly my favorite application of human-centered design. When I returned to the US, I briefly worked for a food waste start-up before joining a more traditional design consultancy in Chicago, using design thinking to help clients in a variety of industries.

Why do you do the work you do?

I love field research. I love interacting with people I wouldn’t normally meet in my everyday life, learning about their experiences and their perspectives on a problem or potential solution.

What does inclusivity mean to you?

Everyone’s voices are not only heard, but truly matter — everyone's voices have equal power to influence decision-making.

When do you feel most like yourself?

Traveling solo. It’s when I feel most free. When I enter exploratory mode, my guard comes down and I become more open to new people and new experiences.

I spend a lot of time thinking about _______.

International politics, both past and present. It’s amazing (...not necessarily in a good way) to see how the same types of politics play out abroad that play out here in the US. I’m fascinated by how patterns of human behavior repeat over time and geography.