People

DVDL  is an international strategy agency led by David van der Leer. Depending on each project’s needs, we bring together a group of experienced professionals for concept development, forecasting, research, project management, space programming, editorial, and graphic design work.

David van der Leer Principal

David van der Leer, is a forecaster, educator, moderator, researcher, strategist, and writer. David’s passion is reinventing the institutions and public spaces of yesterday—and dreaming up the most inspirational institutions of tomorrow—through excellent design and interdisciplinary programs. David founded DVDL in 2018 after having worked and consulted with institutions, government agencies, corporations, and individuals for 15 years.

Learn more about David’s background, collaborations, and recognitions here.

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Elissa Black Managing Principal

Elissa Black has over twenty years’ experience leading innovative international cultural initiatives for museums and global corporate brands around the world. Elissa, with a depth of experience in international cultural strategy, has worked with artists, curators, cultural organizations and partners across the globe, realizing multifaceted creative projects exploring the potentialities of culture and community. She holds a MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University, and a BA in Arts Critical Theory and JD from the University of Sydney, Australia.

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Maria Budtz Sorensen Associate Director, Insights and Strategy

Maria Budtz Sorensen is an urban sociologist and analyst who manages projects with DVDL, focusing on activation of urban spaces through programming, culture, and arts. Maria works to build equity into institutions and processes through a deep understanding of client, user, and community needs. Before coming to DVDL, she worked at AIA New York facilitating public programs on architecture and design. Maria holds an MA in Sociology from Copenhagen University and studied Urban Affairs at Queens College, CUNY.

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Alexander Tutungi Associate Director, Projects & Strategy

Alexander is a creative strategist adept at transforming research and analysis into unique brand solutions. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he is passionate about art, sports, film, food, fashion, and their intersections. He approaches everything with curiosity, seeking to uncover how storytelling can inspire deeper learning, listening, access, and connection. Alexander‘s experience includes developing brand identities for global organizations, holding strategic roles at renowned architectural design firms, and navigating the startup world. He holds a BA in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University and studied Vocal Performance.

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Vladimir Gintoff Associate, Design & Research

Vladimir is a designer, researcher, and writer with experience in an array of cultural enterprises. Prior to working at DVDL he was an experiential designer at Yellow Studio working for a range of media clients. Previously he has worked for the architecture office LOHA in Los Angeles, for the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans in Berlin, and as a writer and editor for ArchDaily. He holds Master in Architecture I and Master in Urban Planning degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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Carla De Haro Associate, Business Development & Communications

Carla is a design strategist, educator, and researcher who is passionate about enhancing urban environments. Leveraging her experience as an architectural designer, she now contributes to DVDL’s Business Development initiatives. She is actively engaged in research domains at Cornell University where she has taught design courses and collaborated on a documentary film project. Carla holds a Bachelor of Architecture, and a minor in Urban & Regional Studies, from Cornell University. She has also completed a Business Certification at Harvard Business School.

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Prisilia Suwuh Associate, Project Coordinator

Prisilia, a design expert, specializes in cultural strategy, blending architecture, graphic design, publication, communication, and research. With a Master’s in Architecture from Pratt Institute GAUD and a BA from University of Washington, she honed her skills through academic pursuits and hands-on experiences, including editorial roles and architectural design contributions.

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Mary Claflin Finance and Operations

Mary Claflin is a business leader with over 25 years’ experience spanning the entire spectrum of business operations. She excels at strategic vision and financial planning. She has held pivotal roles, including CFO, in organizations ranging from startup ventures to large corporations. She brings a wealth of insight and leadership. She holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University.

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Samiha Tasnim Intern

Samiha Tasnim is in her second year of pursuing a Master’s in Architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. She holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Mount Holyoke College. Previously, she was a resident artist at Mildred’s Lane, residing and working in a space designed and designated for inventive living. Her academic and artistic focus centers on explorations of domesticity in architecture, the creation of domestic systems, examining the history of women’s work, and engaging with conceptual art.

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David Soltani Intern

David is creative strategist and content producer with extensive experience in transforming data and analysis into compelling brand solutions and projects. With a rich background in developing and executing multifaceted creative projects, David has worked with diverse cultural enterprises to enhance brand visibility and engagement. His developing compelling narratives that resonate with global audiences. His passion for storytelling fuels his innovative approach, forging deeper connections and inspiring influential projects.

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Consultant Network

Sherry Dobbin Public Art Strategy

Sherry Dobbin, FRSA, MA, BFA is a Cultural Broker and Placemaking Advisor  based in London, bringing over 35 years of cultural delivery and strategic expertise (and its resulting network) from over five continents.  She sources new opportunities for commercial and public sector real estate with artists and cultural organisations that bring about transformational urban development and new audiences.

Yvette Y. Lee Business Strategy

Yvette  Y. Lee is an art historian, curator, and senior non-profit executive who brings over 25 years of experience collaborating with museums, foundations, galleries, artists, corporate sponsors, donors, and boards to DVDL’s client projects. She has worked with numerous artists and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, American Federation of Arts, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Skystone Foundation (James Turrell, Roden Crater) as well as Faou Foundation (Mariko Mori).

Alexandra Fanelli Research & Visioning

Alexandra is an Italian museum educator and researcher who envisions new ways of living the museum experience. Whether in research or project coordination work for our clients, Alexandra seeks out innovative ways to expand access to museums and to empower individuals through creative learning. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the Fashion Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University.

Dan Muro Research & Visioning

Dan is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and researcher. He received his B.A. in cultural anthropology from Wesleyan University in 2017, with a focus on development studies and experimental ethnography. He has since worked for cultural and political organizations across New York City such as Van Alen Institute, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.

Greg Barton Research & Visioning

Greg Barton is a researcher and curator focused on spatial politics. He holds a MS in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University GSAPP and has worked on projects for/with a number of artists, architects, activists, and nonprofit institutions, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Storefront for Art and Architecture. His texts have appeared in various places, most recently in The Museum is Not Enough (CCA/Sternberg Press).

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