Forward: AIGA Leadership Retreat, Philly-Style

Community, design, beer, chipmunks and 250 of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. These are words you could use to describe the 2013 AIGA Leadership Retreat held in Philadelphia this past May.

Once a year, AIGA chapter leaders from across the country gather to learn from and inspire each other, connect with the national board of directors and cut loose more than a little. This year marks the third time I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this gathering, and three other board members were able to join me this time around.


What We Took Away

Bottom line: how to be a better board. With one excellent exception, the Central PA board is seasoned. We’ve been at this for the better part of four years.

We still have a lot to learn and many of our key takeaways were centered around how we can improve our operations to better serve our community. We want to make it easier for members to participate and leave behind a better structure for future board members.


AIGA Philly Can Throw a Party

Each year  a different chapters hosts the national retreat. This year, the festivities arrived at our neighbors due east.

After a day full of inspiration stories, lectures, breakouts, and working sessions, attendees were let loose on Old City. Following each evening reception, we were welcomed to the city with an after party located in some of the most interesting spots in the city.

An AIGA Philly co-president even spent an evening dressed as a chipmunk (or groundhog, depending on who you ask). If you ever have the opportunity to attend an AIGA Philly event, do yourself a favor and experience their hospitality first-hand.


More Driven Than Ever

It’s difficult to put into words how energizing the leadership retreat experience truly is. It’s something akin to the feeling you get when working with that rare client that really “gets it” or while collaborating with someone whose positivity and good ideas drive your own. The sense of camaraderie is intense.

Each year we ask ourselves how we can foster a local design community that feels the same way. We’re not always on target, but we are eager. We’re eager as ever to continue to create opportunities for designers and design advocates to come together, learn from and inspire one another. Want to join us?

By Joshua Buckwalter
Published June 14, 2013
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