As an in-house designer, working on the other side of town, I felt disconnected from the rest of the creative community. I was certain that I was missing out. I imagined that the grass was greener for my friends who worked either as freelance designers or with other designers at agencies downtown. And, I myself had no fellow designers to collaborate with at work. The perceived isolation, I felt, was stunting my professional growth, so I looked to AIGA as an opportunity to be a part of a community. Unfortunately, when I joined AIGA in 2011, there was no design community to speak of in Chattanooga. Whatever had existed dissolved sometime just before then, it seemed.
It was a sad and challenging time for AIGA Chattanooga. And, it was the best time to join!
I say that because, well, I felt like “the game needs me”. That’s what motivated me to become an active member. As soon as I joined, I sought volunteer opportunities and by the spring of 2012 joined the board of directors as Director of Membership. Since then, I’ve worked tirelessly alongside fellow board members to build a solid and sustainable foundation, growing our chapter through membership, outreach, visibility, and service. I am proud to say that we have grown our chapter’s leadership from three struggling members to seven strong, active leaders.
In 2012, we started with a solid 33 members. Now, our chapter is more than twice that size. Our next goal is to grow by another 70 members before year’s end. With your support, that will be a piece of cake.
Together, our board members and volunteers have produced bi-monthly happy-hour events (Thursty Thursday and Drink + Draw), hosted workshops and presentations (PROCESS), conducted and participated in local portfolio reviews, brought in speakers and hosted viewing parties that pertain to the craft. We have kept a pretty steady pace since about July of 2014, but we feel that the GIG City is poised for so much more. We believe that design will help turn the page to our city’s next chapter. To get there, we need more of us to be a part of the action.
I encourage our current members to reach out to board members. Get involved in any capacity, whether it be as a committee member or volunteer. Invite your design friends and colleagues to join and become an integral part of shaping the design scene in our little-big city.
If you are reading this as a non-member or a former member, I want to invite you to join/rejoin!
AIGA has evolved so much in just the last four years, introducing new membership dues and monthly billing as well as empowering chapters to be the heart of AIGA. As such, we need your involvement in order to accomplish bigger, better and more meaningful objectives. It’s a new day for our organization, the perfect time to take part and join in!
Still on the fence? Listen, the AIGA Spring Membership Drive is coming up on April 13-17. During the drive, members who join or renew will receive thank you gifts and be entered to win sweet prizes from major industry partners like Adobe, Apple, Mohawk, Monotype, MOO.com, Pantone, Shutterstock, Wacom and more. Be on the lookout for upcoming information regarding the Spring Membership Drive through email, tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram posts. But, if you just can’t wait ‘til then to join, go ahead and visit aiga.org/join today!
Together we can do amazing things.