Panthea Lee

Executive Director

Panthea leads Reboot’s strategy and partnerships, and oversees our programmatic execution. She is passionate about facilitating unlikely but effective collaborations between communities, activists, movements, and institutions to tackle structural inequity—and working with cultural institutions to build public momentum for courageous change.

Panthea is a pioneer in designing and facilitating multi-stakeholder processes to address complex social challenges, with experience doing so in 30+ countries. The global co-design processes she’s led have resulted in the launch of bold new efforts to protect human rights defenders, tackle public sector corruption, strengthen participatory democracy, advance equity in the open knowledge movement, reform leading international agencies, and drive innovation in independent media.

She has also conducted institutional ethnographies of major public programs and agencies that reveal the often hidden incentives and informal channels that drive their decision-making. Her insights have informed change agendas and processes within these institutions.

Prior to Reboot, Panthea was with UNICEF Innovation and was a researcher / designer specializing in the use of technology to reduce inequities in global development. Earlier in her career, she was a journalist and cultural producer. As a journalist, she covered topics related to sustainable development, urban innovation, and arts and culture, and was executive editor of China’s largest, national English-language magazine. She also produced 1,000+ person gatherings including film festivals, design competitions, and cultural salons, both independently and with partners such as TED, CNN, and TIME.

Her contributions to the field of social design have been recognized by Fast Company, Core77, and others. Her work has been featured by Al Jazeera, Aspen Institute, The Atlantic, New York Times, MIT Innovations Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and she has lectured at Columbia, Harvard, and New York Universities. Panthea mentors several social entrepreneurs and sits on the boards of AIGA Design for Democracy and Development Gateway.

Panthea was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada at age six; she is an alumni of McGill University. Despite not having lived in either of her home countries for 20+ years, she remains inexplicably fond of stinky tofu and still says “sorry” far too often and in a really funny way.