Event Recap: AIGA National Leadership Retreat

AIGA Charlotte board member, Adam Iscrupe, recounts his first national AIGA Leadership Retreat.

More than 250 AIGA chapter leaders (including Kevin Brindley, Kimberly Diedrich and myself) from across the country gathered in Philadelphia from May 29th until June 1st to discuss centennial goals for next year, chapter success stories, participate in breakout sessions, as well as group lunches ranging from Design for Good to bettering iKit (the system for our upcoming website redesign), and many more topics.


To distinguish between the newbies and the veterans, Kimberly and I received a green name tag to show that we were first timers to the leadership retreat. Those with a yellow tag, well let’s just say they have been around for a while. Throughout the weekend, this made those with a green name tag very approachable because as I found out, almost everyone with a yellow name tag knew each other.

Each year there is a Thursday ice breaker activity to help everyone get to know each other. This year each chapter designed a business card representing its city and handed them out while mingling. The intent was that whomever received the card would hopefully be able to guess what city the chapter was from. It was required that each chapter include an arrow, or the idea of moving forward. Sadly, not a lot of attendees knew that Charlotte was the Queen City, so we educated them a bit.


It was great to see and hear what the other chapters are doing at each breakout session and inspirational stories between National goals. One inspiring story came from AIGA Pittsburgh who does a bi-weekly podcast called Creative Briefs. With only 22 episodes, there have been 6,000 downloads in 60 different countries. Some of their past guests include Doug Powell, Jay Fanelli, Val Head and Ellen Lupton.

Another inspiring story came from AIGA Nebraska’s The Show 21, which is its annual design exhibition. This was a great success because of one simple rule: Make it easier. They allowed designers to submit digital submissions and allowed judges to judge from the comfort of their own home, making this their most successful event of the year. With a playful photo booth, all the attendees had a fantastic time.

Upon our return, we brought back lot of ideas and some awesome swag from the other chapters, including every shirt I could find (Design for Good West Michigan being my favorite). But it wasn’t just the free swag, it was the connections we made and people we met from each chapter including Chris from Honolulu, Rachel from Minneapolis, Brian from Jacksonville, and Roland from Anchorage, just to name a few. Forward was motivating, inspiring and a great way to collaborate on bettering AIGA as a whole.


We are ONE AIGA.

About our guest blogger: Adam Iscrupe is a Designer + Thinker + Type Snob who serves on the AIGA Charlotte Board of Directors as an Events Coordinator for BuzZ. During the day, he designs and develops websites at The Idea People. Adam has officially drank the Kool-Aid and will be attending the Head Heart Hand: AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, MN this coming October and hopes to see you there.

By aigacharlotte
Published June 12, 2013