What’s the best thing about the AIGA Leadership Retreat?

Q:  What’s the best thing about the AIGA Leadership Retreat?

A:  Meeting people and the relationships formed with other passionate AIGA volunteers from 68 chapters spanning the country.

It truly is amazing and inspiring to spend three days with over 200 people that share your commitment and appreciation for AIGA and are dedicated to making their chapters and the experiences of their members better. I have been fortunate to be have been selected to represent AIGA Raleigh at the last three Leadership Retreats. It’s an honor and a privilege, that I am so grateful for. I always learn so much and come back even more excited to be involved with AIGA and to serve on the AIGA Raleigh board.

This year’s retreat, which was held in Denver, Colorado, was the best one yet. Not only did I come back with new ideas and friendships, and a greater sense of collaboration collaboration and love and appreciation for AIGA, but I was also asked to lead a breakout session during the retreat. It was so exciting to have the opportunity to share my experiences with other attendees.

The session I lead was on Developing online content and maximizing social media. I decided to start the session with the same icebreaker format that we do at our community meetings. We always start by going around the room and introducing ourselves. We ask four questions: What’s your name, What do you do? Why are you here? and a wildcard question to loosen things up, you know break the ice, as the saying goes.

The wildcard question I asked during the breakout session was: “What is the best takeaway you have gotten so far from the retreat?” Besides being an icebreaker activity this exercise held another purpose. It was designed to demonstrate a resource for developing content. You see, I’ve come to notice that the response to our wildcard question can be a great source of content. So without further ado, here are some of the best takeaways from the retreat according to the session attendees.

  • Meeting people and the relationships formed with other passionate volunteers.
  • Getting ideas and learning from other chapters, filling in the gaps of knowledge, sharing resources.
  • Hearing other chapters successes and issues, realizing that others are facing the same issues, and realizing that your chapter is doing well.
  • Brainstorming and collaboration with other chapters.
  • The breakout sessions.
  • Director of product design at Adobe, Josh Ulm’s Unlocking creativity presentation where he emphasized that drawing is thinking and that drawing and creativity should be fostered and encouraged in the same way that math and grammar are. It is an essential tool, yet it is not treated as such. But as creatives we have developed it and are in a position to innovate because we can visualize solutions and see all sides of a problem.
  • Jeni Herberger’s leadership training session, in particular her action plan for delegating. Change your viewpoint to see that to delegate is to give the gift of opportunity to someone else.


I want to thank everyone who attended my breakout session and for giving me such positive feedback on it, as well as AIGA for inviting me to lead the session. It was an honor, and a high note for me.





By Amy Lyons
Published June 14, 2014