Carina Cortese


Carina is passionate about designing systems that enable empathy and impact at scale. In a previous life, she did this work in the theater, where she has experience as a performer, director, playwright, and producer. Today, she works alongside visionary leaders who seek to create positive impact across industries and issues with purpose, creativity, and humanity.

Since joining SYPartners in 2011, Carina has led large-scale transformation work at IBM, AARP, Harry’s Inc., UnitedHealthcare, Edgewell, Ellevest, and IDEO, among others. She has also done this work internally at SYP, spending several years building and leading the firm’s Strategy practice.

Carina’s perspective on human-led transformation stems from her experience at the intersection of the arts and business. Through these experiences she’s learned—and continues to learn—that the fusion and balance of seemingly opposing forces is often where the magic happens: logic and empathy, creativity and systems-thinking, immediacy and sustainability.

Carina has lived and worked in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. She holds a dual B.A. in Philosophy and Dramatic Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University. Outside of the office, she can be found hosting Jeffersonian-style dinners and singing the high notes in a small vocal group.

Recent media:

SHRM People + Strategy, How to Hybrid: Examining the organization’s use of hybrid planning as a catalyst for the future of work.

Medium, 3 rituals to increase connection in the workplace—no matter how you work

LinkedIn, Refilling our cups: Building social bonds in a distributed community

Medium, Transforming through crisis: Building tomorrow’s organizations, today

LinkedIn, Dandelions and trees: A metaphor for rebuilding after coronavirus.