Below is an interview with Julie Anixter, Executive Director of AIGA, on the topic of career development, which is the topic of the this year’s annual AIGA Design Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 12-14, 2017.
1. Why is career development so important to AIGA?
Careers in design are morphing constantly alongside an evolving industry, which presents a challenge for all designers, new and established. The AIGA community draws from a wealth of experience to help provide foresight on those changes and the other challenges that come with building a career – whether you are trying to find a path forward or grow in your current position.
2. Have you taken any unusual jobs that led to remarkable experiences?
Honestly, making the decision to lead the AIGA was a different path for me. It has introduced me to so many remarkable people and experiences. It’s privilege to serve designers and the design community – which represents unending inspiration and possibility. We want to make sure to harness our members’ and chapters’ extraordinary energy and share it across the US. I’m especially keen on sharing new design experiences at our upcoming Design Conference in October, where we’re focusing on the connecting power of design.
3. Best advice you’ve ever been given regarding your career/or the worst
Don’t waste time in the wrong job, regardless of the temptations that might drive you to accept one or stay longer than necessary. Find a place that provides a good fit for your talents and the opportunity to bring as much of your experience as possible.
4. What advice can you offer those just starting off in design?
When you’re starting off, the best thing you can do is immerse yourself in work from a wide variety of projects, disciplines and designers. A good way to do that is joining organizations or groups such as AIGA which allows you to take advantage of the association’s resources and the membership’s collective knowledge.
5. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Courage is stronger than fear.
When you let fear be your main driver, you miss out on life experience, but when you live courageously new opportunities are always on the horizon.
6. How has mentorship made a difference in your professional or personal life?
My mentors travel with me in my head, heart and instincts. (See here for how to get a mentor guaranteed) They make me smile and show up like guides when the going gets rough. Chief among them: my father, Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Admiral Joseph Dyer and Gyongy Laky.
7. How does AIGA help designers looking to move along their desired path?
AIGA helps designers along their career paths through connection and community, first and foremost. It takes resources and the support of a strong network to become a successful designer, and AIGA members have a network of mentors built in. Our members go past just connecting to help each other find answers or jobs, and provide inspiration and stimulation at every point of the journey.
8. What do you want AIGA to accomplish in the next year/five years?
For more than 30 years, AIGA has served as an epicenter for our diverse community of professionals to meet, exchange ideas, and grow the design industry. Our community is our most valuable asset. The strength within our community is fueled by making sure that designers have the competencies to make an impact on business, industry, and society. Over the course of the next couple of years, we are really focusing on career journeys and the myriad of possibilities evolving out of design’s ever-changing landscape.
Do you have any further questions to ask Julie? Let us know below.