Event Recap: AIGA Designed to Lead
Picture of Jackie Houle
Jackie Houle

Owner/Creative Designer

Jackie offers over 15 years experience developing creative solutions for a broad variety of brands and consumer packaged goods. She loves the challenge that comes with designing creative concepts while balancing the needs of the client with what will speak to the consumer.

We had the opportunity to attend an AIGA Colorado event in Boulder titled, Designed to Lead, featuring four women paving the way as exceptional leaders in the creative field. Moderated by Kate Bailey of TARRA, we heard from Ellen Bruss of the famed EBD in Denver, Jen Jones from SRG in Boulder, and Lucia Robinson of WALDENHYDE, also in Boulder. It was a perfect opportunity to learn more about these talented women in our field, what they have learned so far in their careers (and life, for that matter) and get inspired by their successes, determination and honesty.

While each woman had their own take on work and life, there were several themes that really carried across everyone’s story. A few of our favorite takeaways are below:

  1. BE ADAPTABLE. Our industry is fast paced and ever-changing. Stay fresh and relevant. Always learn, be flexible, welcome new experiences and ideas, and explore new skills. Also, travel! (I knew it was time for a vacation).
  2. BE AUTHENTIC AND COMMUNICATE. Have reasoning behind all of your work. And more importantly, learn how to communicate that to your client and your team. A beautiful concept without a story is just a pretty piece of design. The story is what has legs and can turn a beautiful design into something more meaningful, like a campaign or overarching concept that can carry across multiple touchpoints. The goal is to enhance the consumer experience, and telling a story will support that.
  3. BE AN EXPERT. Clients want experts, not vendors. Understand their needs, their brand, and their business. Be the subject matter expert they can rely on that will bring new ideas and solutions to the table, even when you are not asked. Trust the work you do and your knowledge to build credibility with your clients to give yourself more opportunities to do what you do best.
  4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Women are hard workers. If you consider that women have only been in the workforce a mere 40-50 years, we’ve come a long way and frankly, are kicking ass. We’ve accomplished this through dedication, grit and probably a few late nights along the way, but we aren’t going to continue to do our best work burning the candle at both ends. We have to take time for ourselves. Lean on others, rely on your team and most importantly feed your need for creative inspiration with the time and headspace it deserves.

The evening culminated with Q&A from the audience, bringing even more insights into these companies, leaders, as well as learning of specific and hypothetical situations from our peers. Staying connected with a professional organization in your field and attending in-person events is a great way to not only network, but most importantly inspire and reinvigorate your love for what you do.

Check out AIGA Colorado for upcoming events here.

Learn more about the companies from Designed to Lead.

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