Creating space to flourish

In 2014, I joined the AIGA Central Pennsylvania board as communications chair. I had helped form a student group at Millersville, as an undergrad, and went to as many events as I could when the chapter put them on, hoping to network and meet designers in my area. I also began to keep an eye on the Philadelphia chapter and what they were up to (AIGA has 72 chapters across the country). 

AIGA Philadelphia had a mentorship program that I wanted to exist in Central Pennsylvania so badly. I knew I needed to form mentor-like relationships with designers in my area to get to where I wanted to be in two years, let alone five and ten, but I had no idea where to begin with creating those relationships. So, I got involved. Three years later - the mentorship program is piloting this fall

My hope for the program is that it helps create a culture of mentorship in Central Pennsylvania, in our agencies and companies and in our community, as a whole. A culture of mentorship leads to a culture of creating and allowing for better support of one another, which strengthens the community and the profession. I hope to facilitate better relationships between designers emerging into the field, full of questions with those who've experienced 5+ years in the field. There's something to be said about sharing a human experience - and the benefit of that. 

My AIGA

Last month, Jared & I were invited up to New York to visit the national AIGA offices and share our experiences as board members of the Central Pennsylvania chapter. In February, two national staff members came to visit for our February Coffee & Create, where Joshua gave a presentation on presenting work to clients.

The opportunity to share our story, as a chapter, and our journeys as board members was incredibly exciting. AIGA has played a large role in my development as a designer, and community leader, and there were so many stories and lessons I wanted to share with the national staff. 

Our chapter covers Harrisburg, Lancaster and York, for the most part. We also occasionally reach the Reading and Penn State areas, as well as all the little towns, in between. As President, two goals for my term are to 1. creating sustainable community among our cities and 2. listen to our membership to provide what they want and need in order to thrive in their roles.

 

The presentation I gave to the national staff chronicled my journey with the chapter, where it was before I got involved and where we are now. I shared what got me involved initially, which began as Joshua's request and later became a need for a creative outlet, and what keeps me with the chapter (our community, my board, the empowerment I've found to create). I shared my proudest professional accomplishment to date: becoming the first female President of the chapter, and perhaps the youngest.

I say it often, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have AIGA backing me up, supporting me, sustaining me. I've found an outlet to test leadership, create community and empower the people I surround myself with.