Every July, your AIGA Charlotte Board convenes for their annual board retreat. It’s always an exciting yet critical event, one where the upcoming year’s strategy is brainstormed, discussed, and then ultimately whittled down to a finite list of goals for us to achieve individually, and together. Ironically, this year one of our board members came down ill the day of our retreat, but still found a way to make an impact—even in absentia.
Ben Gelnett, our chapter’s Finance Director, drafted a short and sweet memo that he sent to the entire board beforehand. Rather than highlight it, we’ll simply offer it all up to you here:
At AIGA Charlotte, we must renew our focus on DESIGN, that ancient urge to create something unique that embodies the human spirit’s inherent desire to communicate, connect and ultimately feel good about who we are and the things we do on a daily basis. The communities we seek to foster through this chapter are simply a by-product of such action. However, design should not be treated as a social club or deemed exclusive to privileged agencies, firms, print shops or boutiques. Rather it resides in the heads, hearts and hands of those who revere its ability to evoke emotion and transform common perceptions that plague everyone’s definition of reality. Regardless of how it shapes us, design is not who we are but rather the lens through which we view the possibilities life presents. It is a “process” by which we advocate for order while seeking to abolish universal predictability. For many of us, design is often the most complex source of both our greatest professional triumphs and crushing personal defeats. And yet, it is only by catering to the lowest common denominator that we ever truly lose. It’s a disservice. We must constantly aim to elevate the conversation and challenge even our own preconceived notions of what we believe design can accomplish through authenticity. Only then can we be of any real service to our community through AIGA and the countless others who have evolved the discipline for centuries.
That’s fairly passionate, right? Of course, passion usually stands firmly behind our best work and ideas. In the case of Ben, this optimistic challenge may serve as an ideal—one that’s terribly difficult to achieve—but it’s the proper ideal to strive for nonetheless. That’s why we felt like we simply had to share it with our members.
Along with being an inspirational memo writer, Ben Gelnett works as the Business Development Liaison for Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein.