Elevated in the Mile High City

Last month four members of the AIGA Charlotte Board hopped a flight to embark on a three-day journey to Denver to drink the AIGA Kool-Aid at “Elevate: AIGA Leadership Retreat.” From left to right in the photo above you’ll find our 2014 attendees: Adam Iscrupe, Bree Basham, Kevin Brindley, and Megan Skelton. Megan took the time to write on her experiences in Denver this past May.


Before I joined the board, I really knew very little about the incredible effort happening behind the scenes to communicate to members and create great events. This retreat was an eyeopener because I hadn’t thought on a broader level about how many amazing things National and other chapters were doing.

Upon arriving in Denver, our first mission was to find some local grub. At this request, the bellhop suggested Mellow Mushroom and Five Guys… um, no. We opted for Rioja, a Mediterranean-inspired joint on the cute strip of Larimer Street in downtown Denver, just a quick jaunt from our hotel and home for the weekend.  The food and cocktails were delicious and the perfect fuel to get us through our first general session of the retreat on Day One.

As this was my first retreat, I received a red badge so no one would mistake me for a seasoned AIGA vet. At first I felt like a total newb, but it really did prove effective when I needed help finding my way around. After a great breakout session on programming tactics, and another general session, I was ready for the first cocktail hour of the trip. This was a great setting for starting to put some faces to names and seeing just how many chapters were present.

Day Two’s highlight for me was definitely Jeni Herberger’s workshop on Effective Leadership. You know it’s good if someone can effectively hold your attention for three and half hours and leave you thinking all day long. While we had already booked Jeni to come to the Queen City for a lecture this November, I had never heard her speak before. Now I’m even more excited about having her speak to our members — so be sure to mark your calendars for 11/6/14.

Shutterstock, our event sponsor, threw a fantastic reception that evening with food and drinks and their own signature cocktail. I connected with a few board members from my alma mater and traded stories about our design professors, then gossiped with a few others about who had been hitting up the local dispensaries. I was able to hang until a decent hour but I didn’t have the late-night stamina of some of my fellow board members (cough cough… Adam).

I had to cut the last day short to catch a flight home, but I did make time for one more general and breakout session. Oh, and brunch at a French bistro complete with champagne, baguette, and pomme frittes (tilts back glass and raises pinky).

Elevate was definitely a wonderful and rewarding experience. I’m back, energized, and ready to take on a new year with my AIGA Charlotte chapter.


Megan Skelton is entering her second term on the AIGA Charlotte Board as VP of Programming. She currently works with Atypic, a digital marketing agency. Outside of work, Megan enjoys frequenting Charlotte’s best food and craft beer spots, experimenting with recipes, spending time with her dog, and traveling with her boyfriend. 

By Megan Skelton
Published June 26, 2014