Sophia Who?

Sophia Who?

Design Researcher

Design Researcher, Diverse Data Programme at Genomics England

Founder, On The Mend Design Studio 

Author and Project Lead, Secrets Worth Sharing

I am the neurotypical, slightly hearing-impaired daughter of a Vietnamese refugee father and an Irish/English working-class mother in Croydon. I was bought up by them and my Vietnamese grandparents, and I’m telling you this because all of these things have massively shaped how I experience the world. I won a design competition by making some plasters and ended up at McKinsey for two years. Now I am a design researcher at Genomics England, focusing on diversity in data. I run a small design studio I founded with my friends called ‘On the Mend’ and am using my spare time to work on ways we can communicate better with victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

I have lived through some hardships, but I have also had a lot of privilege growing up: I look white, I have a male partner, I went to Cambridge, public holidays in my country match religious festivals I take part in… For me, being a design researcher is truly humbling, as it is a chance to learn from others, make myself uncomfortable and be in a rare position to be paid to do the work.

Truthfully, I hope that the nature of my job will one day cease to exist, as we start to encourage organisations to actually listen to the people they claim to serve, rather than rely on others to interpret their needs. I strongly believe in bringing all of yourself to work in order to make a true impact on the world. I try to do that – fully… unapologetically… joyfully.

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