Adaheid Mestad Joins HGA as Design Anthropologist

HGA has hired Adaheid Mestad as Design Anthropologist and Senior Associate in the Rochester office.

She will collaborate across national offices with HGA’s multidisciplinary Research Collaborative Group to understand and design relevant features that enhance the user experience within space planning and design.

Her expertise includes cultural anthropology, experience design strategy, and organizational/social architecture for public, cultural, and institutional organizations. Her work has focused on health and wellbeing, placemaking, urban revitalization, cultural institutions, and community asset design.

“I have always been fascinated by human behavior and the relational systems between space and others,” Mestad said. “Architecture is more than just about brick and mortar—it is about understanding the relationship a space creates for human connections and purposes to be achieved. This new role as Design Anthropologist is an opportunity to create impactful and positive experiences that occur through intentionally designed spaces that allow organizations, institutions, corporations, and governments to create and build valuable relationships with who they serve.”

Before joining HGA, she was Director of the Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester, where she led an 18-month strategic planning process to reposition the museum and build a regional educational destination vision.

Previously, she was Manager of Experience & Engagement Design for Mayo Clinic Destination Medical Center (DMC), where she was part of a team that led to the successful design and launch of Minnesota’s largest economic development initiative. She was also part of Mayo Clinic’s Patient Experience Enterprise Leadership team and strengthened relationships between Mayo Clinic and the community to create the ideal, seamless patient experience.

Other relevant professional experience includes Director of Community Engagement & Placemaking with the Rochester Downtown Alliance; Exhibit Design & Development Coordinator with the Meridian International Cultural Center, Washington, D.C.; and Exhibit Coordinator with Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History.

Mestad has a Master of Arts in Anthropology (Design) and Master of Organizational Leadership/Museum Studies from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.