Diversity & Inclusion webcast series

The limited, four-part Diversity & Inclusion webcast series has come to an end. Watch this space as all episodes become avilable.

The final episode of this series, “Advancing equity for native entrepreneurs,” took place Friday, September 15 at 12:00 p.m. EST.

About this episode

We spoke with Heather Fleming, founding design director at Catapult Design, a design firm dedicated to improving the quality of human life through design innovation, and Vanessa Roanhorse, a New Mexico-based consultant specializing in environmental justice serving indigenous tribes. Fleming and Roanhorse compared strategies of engagement for native entrepreneurs from design to environmental action, policy reform to training programs for disenfranchised youth in native reserves, and beyond.

We answered questions like:

  • What can designers and strategists do to enable and support native entrepreneurs in the Southwest?
  • How can individualism be reconciled with communal culture in native tribes via creative and social entreprises?
  • Can inclusion shape new economic development tactics for native communities that are often disenfranchised?

Additional resources

Guest speakers

Heather Fleming is the CEO of Catapult Design, a product and service design firm with an expertise in human-centered design for marginalized communities. Catapult partners with organizations to develop sustainable solutions that address technology and social issues such as rural electrification, water purification and transport, food security, and improved health. Before starting Catapult, Heather was a product design consultant in Silicon Valley, designing products for a diverse range of corporate clients and an Adjunct Lecturer at Stanford University and California Academy of the Arts. In 2005, she co-founded and led a volunteer group, the Appropriate Technology Design Team (ATDT), focused on social impact design work through a professional chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in San Francisco. Heather was named a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for her work with EWB and Catapult Design. She also serves on ASME’s Engineering and Global Development committee, chairing an initiative to create standardized evaluation metrics and design guidelines for products distributed in impoverished communities.

Vanessa Roanhorse (Diné, Navajo) returned to the Southwest region and launched Roanhorse Consulting LLC in 2016 to focus her work on providing access to overlooked communities, specifically indigenous communities. RCLLC is dedicated to working with unheralded communities, businesses, organizations, and individuals to achieve and aspire their self-determination through forging communities of practice, creating equity through entrepreneurship, and encouraging economic empowerment from within. Vanessa got her management chops working for seven years at a Chicago-based nonprofit, the Delta Institute, which focused throughout the Great Lakes region to build a resilient environment and economy through creative, sustainable, market-driven solutions. She’s had the chance to work with incredible organizations such as Delta Institute, Cultivating Coders, Changing Woman Initiative, ComEd, IDEO, 1871, Center for Neighborhood Technology, ReBuilding Exchange, Living Cities, ICLEI, Urban Sustainability Directors Network, and the Cities of Albuquerque, Chicago, Miami, and the Navajo Nation.

Episode schedule

  • 5-minute introduction by moderator Laetitia Wolff, AIGA director of strategic initiatives
  • 15-minute presentation by Heather Fleming
  • 15-minute presentation by Vanessa
  • 25 minute conversation with guests followed by a Q&A with webcast attendees

Previous webcast episodes

Webcast one: Inclusion by design: The design census
Thursday December 8 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST
This episode addressed the opportunities to make the design profession more inclusive and AIGA membership more diverse, the challenges of communicating around these sensitive issues, and the fundamental hope of inviting new voices, practices, and perspectives into the design field.
Watch the video now.

Webcast two: Building a culture of inclusion
Thursday June 29 at 12:00 p.m. EST
This webcast highlighted the current and collective work achieved by the AIGA Diversity & Inclusion task force, which is split into four operational sub-groups that function as resources for chapters.
Watch the video now.

Webcast three: Unpacking implicit bias through design
Friday July 21 at 12:00 p.m. EST
During this episode, we addressed implicit bias and how we can create a more just society and work environment—wherein we can all gain higher consciousness of our own prejudices and stereotypes.
Watch the video now.

About the series

Mixing practical information and instruction with inspiration stories, the Diversity & Inclusion webcast series continues to offer opportunities for dialog, leadership development, and training. It will feature select guest speakers—AIGA members, task force representatives and beyond—who are active practitioners in the fields of social justice design. While sharing their approaches to diversity in design they will demonstrate, through stories and advice, how designers can develop solutions for complex societal issues and make us more inclusive.

Series format

All four webcasts, curated by the Diversity & Inclusion task force and moderated by AIGA strategic initiatives director Laetitia Wolff, will begin with one or two narrated slideshows (10–20 minutes) presented by webcast guest speakers, followed by a Q&A.

The Diversity & Inclusion webcast series is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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