Mariana Prieto


Mariana Prieto is a designer for wild animals. Through her work, she supports wildlife conservation organizations by bringing fresh approaches to old problems through design thinking. Her ability to understand what people want and how design can affect human behavior makes her especially equipped to handle human-wildlife conflict, donor fatigue and other human-related challenges. She is currently a TED Resident, working out of TED HQ in New York.

Previous to her work in wildlife conservation, Mariana was Design Innovation Lead for the International Rescue Committee where she led innovation for the organization’s newest initiative, the Airbel Center. Airbel is tasked with designing and testing large-scale solutions for people affected by crisis, such as war and natural disasters. Mariana led teams working on innovative solutions for the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the redesign of the refugee resettlement process in the United States.

In 2013, she was named Global Design Fellow for where she worked on poverty alleviation projects such as reducing teen pregnancies in Zambia, building social enterprises for female farmers in India, supporting victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and working with The Rockefeller Foundation to write a book on the informal workforce in Africa and Asia.

She was a Fellow at Polymath Ventures, where she co-lead a team tasked to design companies meant to scale to over a billion dollars in Latin America. During her early career, Mariana worked on leading research and market viability on concepts aimed at improving the quality of life for people without access to running water in Latin America.

Mariana graduated as a product designer from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has taught at USC Marshall School of Business and been a guest lecturer at Berkeley Haas School of Business, Stanford University, Parsons School of Design and speaker at TEDxYouth@Caltech.

On the side, Mariana dabbles in illustration co-creating a graphic novel series about superheroes that protect wildlife with National Geographic Adventurer of the year, Shannon Galpin and her 13 year old daughter.

Even though she is constantly on the road, Mariana loves coming home to her dog, two cats, many temporary foster animals and her very patient husband who loves them all.