SVA MFA Products of Design Speaker Series: Eason Yang

Thursday, April 11 6pm

Speaker Series: Not Entirely Dead: Designing for Belonging and Dignity

SVA MFA Products of Design 136 W. 21st St. 7th Floor New York, NY 10011


Many people encounter gaps in their resumes due to life transitions such as parental leave, sabbaticals, or personal challenges. However, a gap caused by cancer is not a matter of choice.

Eason Yang faced this reality after defeating cancer, when prospective employers told him that his prime years were behind him. This perspective contradicted the truth he knew about himself and other survivors – their resilience, grit, strength in crisis, and hard-won competitiveness make them invaluable employees.

Every setback can lead to a greater comeback. Eason will share his comeback story of founding NED (Not Entirely Dead) single-handedly, with the goal of challenging the bias against cancer survivors and changing the prevailing narrative.

About Eason Yang

Eason Yang is a designer, creative director, educator, and social entrepreneur.

In the first decade of his career, Eason led global creative and design teams at Uber, Ogilvy, and Saatchi & Saatchi. His ingenuity garnered worldwide recognition, including the Cannes Young Lion Award in 2012.

In late 2016, a cancer diagnosis altered his path. Coming back from the other side victoriously, he was labeled ‘unhireable’ at age 35 by prospective employers because cancer left a gap on his resume.

Eason willed his way to create Not Entirely Dead, a non-profit social enterprise mobilizing cancer survivors in life and work transitions. NED highlights survivors’ extraordinary abilities forged through adversity, guiding them to become exceptionally employable.

Eason’s approach to social innovation is a world-class example of design thinking in action, changing the narrative of work and health. Fast Company named NED as both the 2023 Most Innovative Design and World Changing Idea, while AIGA awarded it the 2022 Social Design of the Year.

During the inception years of founding NED, Eason also earned his Master of Design degree at the University of Washington and served as the Graduation Speaker for the Class of 2022. Then he moved to New York at age 40.

Today, Eason teaches design, mentors young creatives, lectures at universities and global companies, and speaks on international platforms, including NPR, TEDx, and CreativeMornings.

Beyond design, Eason is also a self-trained marathon runner advocating for cancer survivors. Classical music and 80s rock have powered him through 7,000 km—and counting.