Storyteller. Designer. Illustrator. Adventurer. and Art Center alumna. TED Resident. Colombian. Entrepreneur. Simplifier. Former auto mechanic.
Above all, Wildlife Advocate.



Mariana Prieto is the creator of Design for Wildlife, a collective of creative talent working to support wildlife organizations on challenges in human-wildlife conflict, donor fatigue, poaching communities and other human-centered issues. 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.

Even though she is always 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. 


Academic Paper

Our paper ‘Fostering Effective Models for Social Entrepreneurship in Design Education: Lessons Learned from the Safe Agua Case Study’ won best paper award at the conference ‘Cumulus Mumbai 2015 - in a Planet of our own with focus on water'. It as written by Mariana Amatullo, Penny Herscovitch and myself.

Download Paper from here



The Curious Company

I was previously part of this problem-solving collective, which brings innovative thinking to solve the most entrenched issues of our day. The goal of the collaborative is to bring solutions at the scale of the challenges, while working shoulder to shoulder with NGO partners to leverage their talents and leave them more capable of developing human-centered design interventions in the future.

The Curious Company's work with PSI/Tanzania featured in Devex