About Anke

Anke Stohlmann is a design leader, educator, and entrepreneur who uses a human-centered approach to create effective and equitable products and services. With 20+ years of progressive experience, she is adept at a first-class user experience while collaborating with teams to develop and execute innovative products and services. She is proficient at leading cross-functional teams, providing guidance, mentorship, and fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment.

Until recently, Anke worked at The New York Times, a news organization dedicated to independent journalism. As Executive Director of Design, she co-led the cross-functional project team that built the next iteration of The New York Times Company’s employee site, a digital home for a hybrid workforce.

She is the founder of Li’l Stories, a student-centered language arts framework that leverages the power of storytelling to foster creativity, collaboration, and digital literacy in the elementary school classroom. Anke launched Li’l Stories in early 2016 with the help of 140 Kickstarter backers. Li’l Stories’ mission is to prepare students to be thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators.

Anke serves as a Professor for the Graduate Studios Transformation Design A and B courses at Pratt Institute. The studio classes focus on strategies to utilize design as a means for transformation, emphasizing a human-centered, holistic, and empathic approach.

Recent Highlights

  • In 2021, Anke was the program design lead on Nava’s IB Nebraska team, developing the iServe Nebraska portal and integrated benefits application. The portal provides Nebraskans with a single place to log in, apply for, and manage their enrollment in all income-based benefits programs provided by the state.
  • From 2019 to 2021, Anke was the design lead on Nava’s cross-functional cms.cloud.gov team and led and shipped product development for cloud.cms.gov. The team scaled cloud.cms.gov from 4 pages to 150+ pages, updated the design, systematized the site, developed an authenticated experience, and turned the site into the go-to place for customers for all things CMS Cloud.
  • In 2019, Anke served as a senior fellow at the Public Policy Lab and led the Benefits Access Phase II project team. In collaboration with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Community Schools (OCS) and 21 Community Schools, the team developed Benefits Access, a program aimed at connecting families to public benefits within local schools. The strategy and toolkit empower school staff to refer families to essential benefits and local services. The ultimate objective of Benefits Access was to significantly increase both staff referrals and family enrollments in vital benefits and services.
  • From 2016 to 2019, Li’l Stories ran storytelling labs at public elementary schools throughout New York City, focusing on Title 1 schools, helping more than 500 students develop critical 21st-century skills.
  • In 2014, Anke was involved in the AIGA Design/Relief initiative as part of the Red Hook volunteer team. Our primary goal was to assist the community one year after the devastating hurricane Sandy. Through our efforts, we successfully developed The Hub, a public communications system that effectively informs, connects, and engages the Red Hook community.

Past Experiences

Prior to The New York Times, Anke served at Nava, a public interest technology company dedicated to designing digital government services that are simple, effective, and accessible to all. In her dual role as design manager and design lead, she supported five senior designers/researchers, led the design team for the iServe Nebraska Portal and integrated benefits application, and co-led the cross-functional cloud.cms.gov team.

Anke also held positions at several of New York’s leading agencies in graphic design and publishing, including creative director at Time Inc. Custom Publishing; founding art director at eDesign Magazine; and senior designer at Pentagram, and ran her design consultancy Li’l Robin.

For many years, Anke was on the faculty of the MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media department at The School of Visual Arts, where she co-taught a photography book design course with a focus on eBooks.

Anke has been honored with numerous design awards, including gold and silver medals from the Society for Publication Designers. From 2008 to 2010 Anke served on the board of directors of the AIGA New York Chapter, where she led a monthly speaker series on the business of design. She was also involved in the AIGA/NY Design/Relief project and part of the Red Hook Team.


Anke Stohlmann studied Visual Communications at the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf, Germany, and holds a Masters Degree in Interaction Design from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York and a Masters Degree in Design Management from Pratt Institute in New York.