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  • AIGA staff

    AIGA’s staff is here to serve you. You can reach us at AIGA’s headquarters at 212 807 1990. Staff members may be reached through the main number or directly at their personal extensions listed below. Our address is: AIGA National Design Center, 164 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10010.

    Learn more about AIGA’s staff members below.

    photo of Katie BakerKatie Baker, director of chapter development, 212 710 3146
    Katie provides information, support and resources for AIGA’s 68 chapters and individuals interested in starting new chapters, coordinates national initiatives and programs for chapter implementation, and organizes AIGA’s annual leadership retreat. Katie served as AIGA’s conference producer for four years, planning the biennial design conference, business conference and leadership retreat.

    Prior to AIGA, Katie was a member of the marketing team at Two Twelve Associates, a multidisciplinary graphic design firm in New York City. She earned a BA in history and a BA in East Asian studies from New York University.

    Jennifer Bender Jennifer Bender, director of communications and marketing, 212 710 3136
    Jennifer manages all communications and marketing originating from the AIGA national office, including member communications, newsletters, media outreach, event promotion, news and policy statements. As AIGA’s social media leader, she manages the organization’s brand across multiple channels, oversees staff involvement and leverages opportunities in emerging platforms. Her primary responsibilities are to provide value through communications to members and stakeholders, and to advocate for the profession by communicating the value of design to business leaders, government officials, media and the public.

    With a background in marketing and the arts, Jennifer brings both a sharp eye and an analytic mind to the communications team. Her decade of experience has run the gamut from print production to developing marketing strategies, and from regional nonprofits to national financial institutions. Jennifer holds a BA in fine arts from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    ElaineElaine Bowen, director of strategic partnerships, 212 710 3125
    Elaine develops corporate partnerships through sponsorships and affiliations, and builds relationships with foundations, government agencies and related nonprofits, all of which enable AIGA to advance its mission. Her role helps communicate the value of design to the business community and the general public and creates value for partners through their relationships with members. Members benefit from these partnerships as they allow AIGA to produce conferences, exhibitions, initiatives and events that might not otherwise be possible. Elaine also works with chapters on sponsorship and related issues.

    Elaine brings more than thirteen years of experience as a development professional in the arts and culture sector. A skilled strategic planner, she has a track record of building successful partnerships for a wide range of arts organizations. Most recently, she was the director of development with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), an entrepreneurial arts council dedicated to supporting the work of creative professionals. Elaine earned an Honors BA in art history from the University of Toronto.

    Kathleen BudnyKathleen Budny, program director, 212 710 3144
    Kathleen collaborates with staff and volunteer committees to orchestrate AIGA’s biennial design conference and design and business conference. Kathleen also works to create partnerships with universities and other providers to program professional development at a national level.

    With degrees from the University of North Carolina and the Royal College of Music, Kathleen has directed arts education departments within NYC nonprofits for several years. Previously, she worked in London as an educator with Arts Council England, London Borough of Ealing and Arts Award UK. Kathleen has also served on the New York based Arts in Education Roundtable, a professional association for arts educators, where she was a member of the conference committee. She also has extensive experience planning and leading professional development workshops.

    Steve Burhans, facilities/traveling exhibitions coordinator, 212 710 3110
    Steve’s areas of responsibility include the daily operations and maintenance of the National Design Center, AIGA’s headquarters. He is also responsible for office supplies, equipment, mail and shipping. Steve is the liaison for traveling exhibitions, including the “365: AIGA Annual Design Exhibition” and “50 Books/50 Covers” shows.

    Steve is currently completing his BA in communications.

    Christine Caruana bioChristine Caruana, communications associate, 212 710 3111 
    Christine oversees the production of AIGA’s member newsletters, as well as email campaigns to promote AIGA events, programs and initiatives. She works closely with the director of communications and marketing to implement outreach strategies for AIGA events and helps manage partner marketing deliverables. Christine is the main contact for Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships and she also serves as the first point of contact with people who call, email or visit AIGA. In the past, Christine worked closely with the strategic partnerships department as an Administrative Assistant.

    Christine has worked for letterpress studio Pistachio Press in Rochester, NY and sculpture residency Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. Christine holds a BA in Studio Arts and Anthropology from the University of Rochester.

    Amy Chapman, project manager, 212 710 3137
    Amy works to recruit and connect interested and active members with various AIGA programs and initiatives and helps to develop systems for maintaining member involvement and communication. In this role, she is the primary contact for engaging designers who want to advance the mission and goals of AIGA for the profession. Amy is also AIGA’s principal liaison with other organizations and with the board and board committees.

    Amy earned a BFA in painting from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

    Kathleen Cox, controller, 212 710 3127
    Kathleen is responsible for AIGA’s accounting, bookkeeping and administration. Her duties include internal controls, policies and procedures according to established audit norms, liaison with outside auditors overseeing the annual audits, corporate tax returns and financial reports. She assures that AIGA’s business activities comply with AIGA policies aimed at fiduciary responsibility as well as with federal, state and local regulations.

    Kathleen has many years of experience in accounting. She served as the director of finance for the New York Society for the Deaf for three years and as its executive director for four years. Kathleen earned her BS in accounting from Georgian Court University.

    Liv EckLiv Eck, project manager, 212 710 3147
    Liv manages the national board nominating committee as well as the AIGA medal nominating committee. After medalists are chosen, she then gathers images and bios from them to create their webpages and helps in planning the annual Bright Lights gala which honors the medalists each year. She is also managing the Centennial 100 Years of Design timeline. Liv is also responsible for creating and executing the “AIGA Voices”, “Open AIGA” and “AIGA Insights” webcast series.

    Liv received her BSN from the University of Vermont and previously worked at AIGA from 1998 to 2000.

    Jonathan Feinberg 100Jonathan Feinberg, director of events, 212 710 3142
    Jonathan creates compelling and profitable educational and networking experiences by defining optimal environments and making sound business decisions that foster the mission and direction of AIGA. For all nationally-hosted conferences and events, he evaluates location, contractor and vendor options and directs pre-conference, onsite and post-conference activity. Jonathan serves as tactical advisor for the planning, budgeting and execution of the Design Educators Conferences, as well as other regional events and is the lead producer for AIGA’s web conferencing initiatives.

    Jonathan earned his BA in business from the University of New Hampshire and brings more than 15 years of conference, event and hospitality management experience to AIGA.

    George Fernandez, membership director, 212 710 3132
    George maintains AIGA’s membership database and is the primary customer service contact for membership inquiries from chapter membership coordinators. He is responsible for providing membership recruitment materials, helping coordinators use the workroom, generating invoices and monitoring and maintaining group memberships as well as sending out regular mailings (postcards, new-member packets, membership cards). He answers questions about membership status, which benefits members should have been sent and who belongs on a group membership.

    George holds a BA in liberal arts from Queens College. Previously, he was responsible for membership at another association and maintained client records for a health care organization.

    Richard Grefé, executive director, 212 710 3100
    Ric is the CEO of AIGA, the professional association for design. He is generally involved in all of AIGA’s activities, although his major contributions are in strategy, formulating new initiatives to enhance the competitive success of designers and advocating the value of design.

    Ric earned a BA from Dartmouth College, crafted books at Stinehour Press, spent several years in intelligence work in Asia, reported from the Bronx County Courthouse for AP, wrote for Time magazine on business and the economy and then earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Following a career in urban design and public policy consulting, Ric managed the association responsible for strategic planning and legislative advocacy for public television and led a think tank on the future of public television and radio. He has been at AIGA since 1995, developing programs that reinforce the relevance of design as an extraordinary creative gift and a critical element of business strategy.

    David Hall, member experience manager, 212 710 3133
    David is AIGA’s primary liaison to student groups and faculty coordinators, as well as student members in general. David also serves as the liaison to a task force addressing the needs of designers working in corporate and institutional design departments. In responding to member inquiries by phone or email, he pays close attention to ways in which AIGA can improve the member experience and works with the team to implement those improvements.

    David has several years of experience processing payments, working with financial databases and working with the public. He has a BA in music and performs regularly.

    Aidan O'ConnorAidan O'Connor, manager, strategic initiatives, 212 710 3131
    Aidan is responsible for cultivating and overseeing a variety of new, progressive projects and collaborations outside of AIGA's regular operations. Inspired by AIGA's 2014 centennial, these strategic initiatives are intended to expand AIGA's vision and effectiveness in response to the changing needs and goals of members and the design community at large.

    Previously, Aidan worked in MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design, where she co-organized 14 exhibitions. She brings further curatorial, research and project management experience from the National Design Awards, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. She holds an M.A. in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from Parsons The New School for Design/Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and a B.A. in Archaeology and Social Anthropology from Harvard University.

    Tiia SchurigTiia Schurig, web development director, 212 710 3134
    Tiia is responsible for managing technical support and integration for AIGA. Her responsibilities include coordinating with all of AIGA's technical partners to ensure website maintenance, enhance user experience and oversee the development and execution of new web-based projects.

    Tiia earned a BA in art history and a BA in humanities from the University of South Florida.

    Heather Strelecki, director of special projects, 212 710 3145
    Heather provides support on a wide variety of information resources. She is the primary contact for event registration and design competition inquiries. In addition, she manages the AIGA library, institutional archives and the AIGA Design Archives. Her responsibilities include effectively communicating with conference attendees and competition entrants; timely processing and notification of financial transactions; monitoring the AIGA website for necessary updates; assisting membership and fundraising teams; and organizing digital and print information and artifacts.

    Heather earned a BA in art history from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an MS in library and information science with an advanced certificate in archives from Pratt Institute. She brings customer service and administrative experience from STERIS Corporation. She was a contributing art writer for the Erie Times News, and she serves on the board at Kentler International Drawing Space in Brooklyn.

    photo of Denise WoodDenise Wood, chief operating officer, 212 710 3135
    Denise is responsible for operational decisions within AIGA, overseeing development and implementation of AIGA’s budget. She is responsible for knowledge management within the organization and AIGA’s information systems. She works closely with the executive director to implement plans in virtually all membership and strategic areas of AIGA.

    Denise earned a BA from Oberlin College and an MBA in information management from George Washington University.

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