Gabriel Valdivia


Gabriel is a multi-disciplinary design leader with more than fifteen years of experience leading design teams at some of the world’s best technology companies. He’s currently leading Product Design at Patreon. Prior to that, Gabriel led Design and Research teams at Google, Meta, and CNN where he focused on building technology for communities at risk, content creation for social platforms, and emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality. 

In addition to working with larger design teams, Gabriel has experience working with early-stage startups and jumpstarting entrepreneurial projects. In 2012 he became the first designer at Automatic, a connected car startup that combined hardware and software to create a smart driving assistant. In 2017 he launched Vectors, a design conference centered around how identity influences creative work. In 2021 he co-founded Makeshift, a co-working studio and community center for product designers to collaborate and grow.  

Gabriel was born in a small town in the center of Cuba, grew up in Costa Rica and moved to the United States as an angsty teenager. Today, he’s living in Brooklyn with his partner and their two dogs.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.