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We are a team of visionaries, strategists, listeners, and creatives

Our story

Introducing Ascendant, a certified women owned small business, where visionary leadership and innovative design converge to shape a better world. Stephanie Wade, Founder and CEO, is a global leader in innovation, bringing expertise as a human-centered designer, government expert, strategist, and change-maker. With a track record that includes building and implementing a $65M innovation portfolio for governments around the world at Bloomberg Philanthropies and directing the U.S. Federal Government's first design-based Innovation Lab, Stephanie is committed to fostering cultures of innovation and delivering impactful innovation projects around the world. She is a keynote speaker, adjunct professor, and has a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and an BA from Boston College in Sociology and Studio Arts. 


Alongside her, Luce James, a UK-born designer and Institute of Design graduate, specializes in social innovation, civic design, and Queer design, actively challenging systemic barriers and promoting inclusivity. They have a Masters in Design Management from IIT's Institute of Design. Together, Stephanie and Luce embody Ascendant's dedication to visionary leadership, innovative solutions, and positive change on a global scale, shaping a future where design principles catalyze equitable and compassionate transformations.

In addition, we have a highly curated support team of global experts in digital innovation, community engagement, data analytics, behavioral economics, and performance and project management.

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Meet the Team

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