Hanna du Plessis

In March of 2023, Hanna was diagnosed with ALS. You can follow updates on her story, view some of her writing, and hear her speak about her experience here:

My fifteen-year career in interior design taught me that what we can imagine can become a tangible reality. But as a society we often lack what’s needed to co-create the thriving world we can dream of.

I grew up in apartheid South Africa with a clear social caste system that still reverberates in inequitable practices that harm everyone. Living there, I came to witness how patterns of oppression perpetuate in our own bodies and in the social fabric, one generation after another.

I left the world of design and strategy to learn about social transformation. I embarked on a different mission: to transform myself and share what I learn with others so that we can get good at the collective work of healing, repairing, and re-weaving.

For the last decade, I have taught in the field of design for social innovation and I have co-hosted spaces of transformation for over twenty-five cohorts. Clients who are tired of the status quo come to me to co-host brave spaces inside their organizations. I support them to see and shift harmful habits, reclaim their capacity to stand in resilient relationships and take effective action to co-create cultures of belonging.

Much of my work has been with change leaders, supporting them to become more skilled at co-creating social change. Other spaces served as a respite for burnt-out change leaders. I’ve also hosted long-term white affinity groups in organizations and communities, in service to the larger efforts to replace white supremacy culture and co-create a just world.

My superpower is making the invisible practical. I help you touch the deep stuff we’d rather avoid, but that yearns to change. I am a glutton for the creative process and have tried my hand as a performer (dancer, improviser, actor), artist (exhibiting some) and writer.

With my background in the arts, design, embodied practices and facilitation, I am uniquely able to help groups who yearn to take their place in creating a wholesome world, to embody and create the change they seek.

On the web



TEDx talk

Hanna speaks at TEDx Pittsburgh, 2017

What if we could learn how to understand each other? What if we could practice not rushing to judgment? Is there a how-to guide for these things?