10 reasons why Raleigh is an AWESOME city for designers! #10- The 2016 AIGA Leadership Retreat!


This is a series of 10 blog posts on why Raleigh is an AWESOME city for designers!



The 2016 AIGA Leadership Retreat!
And the final reason that Raleigh is an AWESOME city for designers?! Because the 2016 AIGA Leadership Retreat will be here! At last! It’s been a long journey, but we finally did it. We are beyond thrilled to announce that Raleigh has been selected to host the 2016 AIGA Leadership Retreat. As former president, Matt Munoz said (or texted) when we informed him, “what an epic journey.” And it has been a journey just to get selected, one that I have proudly been involved in for the past five years.

But now the bigger journey begins.

Lesson learned: never give up on your dreams, keep working hard to achieve them.

What is the AIGA Leadership Retreat?

The national AIGA organization invites all 69 local chapters to send a select number of their chapter leaders to the annual Leadership Retreat to share success stories, brainstorm solutions, and discuss the future of the organization both nationally and locally. It is an opportunity to learn from other chapters, get inspired, make new friends, and participate in shaping the future of the organization. It is also a chance to get a taste of the host city—the cuisine and the vibe of the city.

Why it’s a big deal to host

So why have we been persistent in our pursuit to host the Leadership Retreat (apologies, I adore alliteration). Quite frankly, it’s because Raleigh rocks! There is a large and active creative community in the Triangle that reaches far beyond our AIGA community. This city is swarming with passionate makers, entrepreneurs, and creatives, all designing a better future for this city and beyond. Our Mayor, Nancy McFarland, knows Raleigh is “a great city by design” (She even wrote a letter of support for our bid to host the event—thank you!), and this is our chance to show it off. We all get to be tour guides for our city. This is our chance to define what Raleigh is known for, and to shape an experience that inspires people to connect to the area—physically or virtually—through the connections made while in the Triangle.

I have been fortunate to have been invited to attend the past three Leadership Retreats (Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, and Denver), and all were amazing experiences in regards to both the retreat activities and the host city. The activities all occur within in walking distance of the retreat location, so it’s important that the host city have a lot to offer within the surrounding area. My fellow board members and I knew that Raleigh could definitely live up to that requirement, and had a strong desire to share our city with our all of our AIGA friends.

We also knew that bringing the Leadership Retreat to Raleigh would benefit the city, by exposing it to a large group of the nation’s design community; and through the additional revenue the retreat will generate for the city—from accommodations for attendees, venues, restaurants, transportation, and more. A local design team and printer will create collateral for the retreat, and efforts will be made to create an eco-friendly and sustainable conference. Hosting the Leadership Retreat is an exciting opportunity for our community, both AIGA Raleigh and the city of Raleigh. We look forward to collaborating with AIGA to make the 2016 Leadership Retreat as awesome as our community is.

How can you get involved?

While the national office spearheads the majority of the planning, AIGA Raleigh will play a role in creating an authentic experience showcasing our city and involving the community. We will organize teams to work on projects for the retreat, the first being planning the 2015 Leadership Retreat closing party in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Next month at our February Community Meeting, we will discuss the opportunities for involvement in our chapter’s roles for both the 2015 and 2016 Leadership Retreats. We hope you will join as we enjoy seeing all your smiling faces, and hearing your ideas. You are what makes our community so special.


#AIGARetreat #Raleigh2016



This year’s winning bid was designed by Lenny Terenzi. Past bids have been designed by Kristin McPeak, and me (Amy Lyons). Thank you to Stephen Jackson, CMP, Senior National Sales Manager for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau for his help and support in submitting a winning proposal to host the retreat.


Want to know more about the Leadership Retreat? Here are some recaps from past retreats:









Previous Reasons

1) Creative

2) Community

3) Collaboration

4) Not just Raleigh

5) Sir Walter Raleigh

6) Because “they” say we’re the best

7) Great Events

8) Local

9) Food. And Beer

By Amy Lyons
Published January 19, 2015