Deepthi Welaratna Headshot.png

Deepthi Welaratna


For the last 15 years, Deepthi has helped build and launch products, movements, and ventures at the intersection of community and technology. She has run campaigns, and launched new products and services for global brands and fortune 500 companies like Google, Godiva, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Before starting Thicket Labs, she worked at a Google Ventures-backed startup in the restaurant industry and Blue State Digital.

Before moving to New York, Deepthi worked in market research where she managed numerous multi-national consumer studies on online advertising products in the mid-2000s. She started her career working on public health campaigns on issues like education, violence prevention, and civic engagement for clients including The California Wellness Foundation, United Way of the Bay Area and the California Secretary of State. In recent years, she has supported public health programs in Haiti, New York, and New Zealand.

Deepthi has also worked in broadcast journalism at KQED in the Bay Area. Recent articles have appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review


Valerie Evering

Head of CommunitY |

Valerie Evering leads community and training programs at Thicket Labs.  She works closely with Thicket's clients to facilitate training programs as well as contribute to outreach, communications and event planning. 

Her experience in media production, education and project management includes developing Chinese language curriculums for young learners and high school students, managing immersion education programs for international students in China and managing production for short films and TV animation. Valerie graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in International Relations specializing in East Asian Studies and has a Masters Certificate from the Johns Hopkins Nanjing Center in China. 


Rhea Alexander


Rhea is an interdisciplinary designer, strategist and social entrepreneur. She is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Design and Management, Director and Founder of the Parsons Entrepreneurs Lab, and Co-Director of the MS Strategic Design and Management Program at Parsons School of Design, the largest graduate program at the university. 

She founded D.I.G.S. a design, manufacturing and consultancy company that pioneered triple bottom line values balancing social, economic and environmental impact. For over 20 years her designs were acknowledged in the press and with industry awards. She advises entrepreneurs, startups, NGOs and SMEs as a Private Sector International Development Consultant, focusing on design, strategy, business scalability, social innovation, empowerment and community development. She was Director of Product Development for Hanover Direct and early on worked with designers Andrea Branzi and Rodolfo Bonetto in Milan, Italy. 


Development Team


"Future of Film Experience: Seeing Viewer Emotions." 

Explore new ideas for audience engagement from our panel at SXSW 2017.