Eason Yang: Not Entirely Dead – A comeback kid designing for belonging and dignity

In Making Waves Conversations by Mark Sylvester

Not Entirely Dead:
A comeback kid designing for belonging and dignity.

Most of us have faced a gap on our resumes, whether due to maternity or paternity leave, sabbatical, or any life transition. A resume gap caused by cancer isn't by choice. Rock star designer and creative director Eason Yang found himself embattled in a long fight against cancer, only to be told by prospective employers that his best years were behind him when he came out the other side victorious. That directly contradicted what he knew about himself and other survivors — their hard-won competitiveness, grit, and tenacity make them more valuable employees. Eason started the organization NED (Not Entirely Dead) to hack the inherently biased systems against cancer survivors. Now he's a badass design activist working towards narrative change.

Eason Yang

Founder & Design Director at NED

Eason is a designer, creative director, and educator. He founded Not Entirely Dead, a social enterprise championing cancer survivors in the workplace, named 2022 Social Design of the Year by AIGA and 2023 World Changing Idea by Fast Company.

Eason has been a creative leader for over fifteen years for companies like Uber, lululemon, Ogilvy, and Saatchi & Saatchi. His creativity has garnered international recognition, including the Cannes Young Lion Award.

As a design activist for social innovation, Eason has lectured at universities and global companies, and he has spoken about his work on several international platforms, including NPR and Creative Mornings

Eason earned his Master of Design degree at the University of Washington, where he is now an adjunct faculty member teaching and mentoring the next generation of creative talent.

Beyond his design career, Eason has become a self-trained marathon runner since defeating cancer. Classical music and 80s rock songs have powered him through 6,000 km—and counting.

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