Dear AIGA Raleigh,
You may not know it, but you have had a huge impact on my life. I had no idea when we met that you would play such a huge role in the journey I started several years ago to create a better life for myself.
Sure, I had heard about you, even seen you a few times, and I wanted to reach out to you, but the timing wasn’t right. When I moved to Raleigh four and a half years ago as part of my “life improvement plan,” I knew the time was right for us to get involved. Do you remember when we first met? It was at a Freelancers Town Square event. I had a great time, learned a lot, and you introduced me to some of your friends. I was new in town so, I really appreciated how open and welcoming you and your friends were. Having changed careers, I was just starting out as a designer and meeting experienced designers who were open to sharing their knowledge and advice was just wanted I needed to keep me motivated and inspired. I knew I had made the right decision to seek you out and start a relationship.
Starting my new career in a new city, where I knew no one, and in a poor economy to boot, well it was a difficult struggle. But you were always there. Even when I pulled away, you were always in the wings waiting with welcoming arms. When you embarked on a new path of your own, setting new goals to create a better, more inclusive, community-focused you, I felt your renewed energy and was drawn in wholeheartedly.
The more time I spent with you, the more I wanted to be around you. You introduced me to your friends and colleagues, you taught me, not only about being a design professional, but about myself. I have grown both as a designer and as a person. I have learned so much, gained valuable experience, and have met so many great people, who I know call friends. You have given me the chance to work alongside and collaborate with amazing and talented people. You’ve given me the opportunity to learn, to make connections, to meet some of my design heroes, to share my ideas and knowledge, to be a leader, and to be inspired. I just can’t thank you enough.
You say that your goal is to create a place where design thrives, and oh, have you succeeded. But you’ve done more than that. In you, I have found a place where I thrive. And yes, I know I’ve said that before, but its true, and it’s the reason I give so much of my time and of myself to you. The more I give, the more I receive. You never fail to express your gratitude and appreciation for my contributions and you are always supportive of my goals. I can honestly say that getting involved with you has made my life better. I thank you, your friends, and the community you have created for welcoming me, taking me in, and giving me a place where I belong. So, that is why I want to know, will you be my Valentine?
Your faithful friend and fan, Amy Lyons