Thanks to AIGA Jacksonville, I was lucky enough to participate in the Sea Change AIGA Leadership Retreat in Portland, Oregon on June 4-6, 2009. This conference style retreat included selected local chapter board members from across the nation celebrate the successes and hard work of the last year, and prepare for the changes and initiatives of the year to come.
We discussed many issues on behalf of our local chapters and learned thoughts and ideas of other AIGA leadership including how to define the future course of the organization.
This was such an incredible experience for me. Being a Jacksonville Beach native, attending college at the University of North Florida and a member of this business community for my entire career, it was awe-inspiring to meet other creatives and design innovators from every corner of America. I expected a camaraderie between attendees prior to embarking on the trip but what I encountered upon arrival was beyond description. Everyone was so supportive, willing to share ideas, introduce themselves and tell you a story. Not only was everyone ingratiating, but also incredibly intelligent. It seems that any topic I was engaged on was worth listening to and taking note of. People shared success stories about clients, industry standards, design techniques and the list just goes on.
The hope is to leave things better than we found them or at the very least prevent further diminishment of the trade that is so loved by myself as well as fellow design professionals around the nation.
Although this was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, I found myself somewhat discouraged upon returning to Jacksonville. After being surrounded by so much culture, intelligence and inspiration, coming back to the daily grind seemed so lack luster. The same commoditized design jobs, uninspired concepts and lack of appreciation for the power of design. I realized that more than ever, that this marketplace was resistant to new ideas. I don’t really believe that this is only the market that behaves this way, but a good portion of the small business world in general. We have determined that the best way to combat the challenges that face our industry as design thinkers is through educating our clients, students and anyone you hope to influence with your work. The resolution as a whole can only be to try our best to influence the world that surrounds us in hopes that in some small way we can make a positive impact.
This is going to be a huge year for AIGA Jacksonville, and I am more excited than ever to get started. We are fueled with new ideas for programming, membership, sponsorship, community outreach and a new desire to collaborate more with our nearby chapters and fellow professional organizations. We will not only be focusing on individual benefits, but also have an enhanced initiative to progess the design industry as a whole. Through hard work and the passion successful design takes I believe we can embody the mission of AIGA: to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.