Last weekend, AIGA Central PA gathered with community members, panelists and our moderator, JJ Sheffer, at CoWork155 to kick off our AIGA Women’s Leadership Initiative. In 2014, AIGA launched a nation-wide initiative to celebrate women in design and connect them with other community members eager to hear their stories. Since becoming Vice President last May, I’ve been excited to bring this initiative to the Central Pennsylvania area and get the conversation going. reCharge was just the first event, in what I hope will be, a long series of events focused on the initiative.
Panelist Danelle Bailey was gracious enough to not just join us for our event (her second time speaking at an AIGA Central PA event!) but also lend us her write-up of reCharge! So, if you missed out on last Saturday’s event, you can finally lay your FOMO to rest.
For the first of Central PA AIGA’s women’s leadership initiative events, I was honored to be asked to be a panelist among 4 other wonderful ladies in the creative and tech field.
Held in York’s Cowork155 shared workspace, JJ Sheffer graciously hosted us, moderated and shared a bunch of things she’s involved in. She’s a busy lady!
The evening began by mingling, light refreshments and snacks. I caught up briefly with a former team member of mine who was also on the panel, Jennifer Aldrich of InVision App. She drove down to York from State College and brought her daughter to attend the event! For those of you not from around here, that’s about a 2.5 hour drive.
After the panelists situated on randomly chosen stools, we breezed through a few slides each with of our backgrounds and general career information. The audience was so wonderful and engaged! It was an intimate room and about 30 people.
After that, JJ asked us each questions from career advice to experience in a mostly male-dominated field. We also spoke about acceptance, leadership and the importance of opening and communicating opportunities for everyone.
At the end, we answered some audience questions, which were totally fun. Anyone who had answers or related experience chimed in, and by now the audience was pretty familiar with our personalities and some experiences. I wasn’t nervous at all for this event, but by the end it felt like we were just all out to coffee chatting.
One thing that I have to say about the content was that it was cool how truly fair all the conversation direction went. I wasn’t sure if there would be a “feminist” feel to the meeting but honestly the event seemed to empower everybody. At least that’s how I felt. We discussed how to be inclusive and accepting of everyone and to be careful not to group people or become hypocritical in our quest. That helps no one.
The importance of using everyone’s strengths, leading by seeking out those strengths, and being responsible for yourself were all themes. There were a few experiences highlighted that may have opened the eyes of many (including myself), but there were even more wonderful stories about succeeding and pushing through.
I went home inspired, and hope to keep in touch for years to come. I am sincerely grateful to Central PA AIGA folks for the opportunity.
To keep up with AIGA’s Women’s Leadership Initiatives, follow #AIGAWomensLeadership.
Danelle is a Senior User Experience Designer, working on the Product Design and Innovation team at Blackboard K12 CMS. She’s worked on many teams with responsibilities relating to all aspects of visual and interactive design. You can get in touch with Danelle via Twitter and view the original post on her blog here.
The AIGA Women’s Leadership Initiative was created in 2014 to bring women together and celebrate their achievements in design. reCharge was put on with this initiative in mind, as well as the chance to start a conversation in the Central Pennsylvania area regarding the realities and stories of being a woman in design and technology. Both men and women were invited to attend this event, with inclusion in mind. Personally, I believe that a conversation on change cannot be an exclusive conversation, instead we should invite everyone to attend and be apart of it.
As with any event, we welcome thoughts and ideas on future AIGA Central PA Women’s Leadership events. To get the ball rolling, get in touch with Bri (firstname.lastname@example.org).