Valerie Fletcher has been executive director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). Fletcher writes, lectures, and works internationally. She generates opportunities for IHCD and has broad oversight of all consulting and design services. She created the IHCD User/Expert Lab which has over 300 people engaged in the evaluation of places, products, and services. Her research focus is integrating data from contextual inquiry research findings into design solutions in higher education, public transit, culture, workplace, healthcare, multifamily housing, and the public realm.
Fletcher's career has been divided between design and public mental health and she is the former deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system. She was Principal of Fletcher Studio Design from 1978-1985.
She is councilor for the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. She has created an international universal design benchmarking project for the government of Singapore. She led the creation of a new national digital cultural resource on accessibility and universal design for the US National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute for Museum and Library Services. Fletcher has a master's degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005.