Ashley "Tez" Cortez
- Staff Service Designer, Code for America
Ashley “Tez” Cortez (they/she, white/latinx) is a designer, storyteller, advocate, and maker that has made their way into the civic design and technology field by way of their own lived experience at the intersection of poverty, family, and identity as well as direct service for nonprofits and local governments. They are proudly Floridian (Go Gators!) and received a Masters from ITP in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where they explored how creative design and technology could be used to address systemic social issues. In their direct service years, Tez worked with a range of clients with differing responsibilities, including connection to and case management for social services, direct advocacy, emergency outreach response, and counseling. Their most recent position was as the Design Lead at the Service Design Studio at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. During their time, they designed and developed many initiatives, including the Community Centered Service Design Program, Designed by Community, and the cross-office workforce development product Working NYC. They aim to bring their passion for community, healing, and action-driven practice into their work in order to move these principles & mindsets further upstream for broader impact. Outside of work they enjoy spending time exploring the art and architecture of New York City with their partner, caretaking the 40+ plants in their apartment, laying in the sun like a lizard on a rock and swimming in bodies of water, and throwing pottery at their local pottery studio.