Shine Award 2022: Kat Vellos

January 9, 2024 • Posted by Design Bay Area

For outstanding generosity, commitment and contributions to the design community in the Bay Area, California.

The Shine Awards began in 2021 honor and give visibility to individuals who work and live in the Bay Area who consistently use their skills, resources and talents as a positive force to benefit others to give back to the Bay Area Community. These individuals have also supported the efforts of San Francisco Design Week, Design Bay Area and other community focused nonprofits. Honorees were selfless and giving of their time.

Experience greater authentic connection

Kat Vellos helps hybrid and remote teams create a greater sense of belonging and connection. She provides interactive firesides and keynote talks, and facilitates team-bonding events for companies, conferences, and community groups who want their team members and participants to experience greater authentic connection with each other, stronger teamwork, and healthy friendships/colleagueships.

Since the release of her book, We Should Get Together, Kat Vellos has been spreading the message that the cultivation of thriving, resilient connection is how we will heal our country’s loneliness epidemic — and why this is the number one issue that individuals and companies need to make a priority in the coming years. 

Attendees consistently leave Kat’s talks and workshops excited, inspired, and equipped to create better relationships at work and in their personal lives outside of work. She’s also an in-demand guest for press interviews and podcasts where she shares actionable advice about the cultivation of thriving friendships during adulthood.

Her approach to the cultivation of friendship and community is informed by her extensive background as a community facilitator, researcher, and User Experience designer (formerly at Slack, Pandora, multiple startups, and as program director of empowerment programs).

Kat created Bay Area Black Designers in 2015 and led the group’s free monthly gatherings for seven years until its sunset in 2022. As a company-agnostic employee resource group, BABD provided professional development and community for 500+ Black design professionals living in the San Francisco Bay Area. BABD members came from startups, agencies, design studios, universities, bootcamps, midsize companies, and large corporations. BABD was loved and cherished by members, especially those who know what an isolating experience it can be when you’re the only Black designer in your company or design team.

Kat’s work on cultivating community now reaches across industries and identities, and her writing is read in over 100 countries.

Find out More about Kat at or join the conversation: We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships