AIGA Board of Directors

AIGA’s board is elected by the entire professional membership and plays a crucial role in determining the mission of AIGA, ensuring that the organization continues to operate in the best interest of past, present, and future members. AIGA board members are elected by the entire membership and serve staggered three-year terms. 

Dana Arnett
Dana Arnett
Vice Chairman and Founding Partner, VSA Partners

Term: July 1, 2017–June 30, 2020

Committees: Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Governance Committee

Dana Arnett is the vice chair and founding partner of the internationally recognized firm, VSA Partners. Arnett leads a group of 280 associates in the creation of design and marketing programs, as well as digital and interactive initiatives, for a diverse roster of clients, including: Harley-Davidson, IBM, General Electric, Bloomberg, Anheuser Busch, and Google.

Over the course of his 30 years in the field, Arnett and the firm have been globally recognized by numerous prestigious competitions. In 2014, Arnett was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest citation honoring lifetime achievement and contribution to the industry. He was a 1999 inductee into the Alliance Graphique Internationale, and holds the honor of being named to the ID40—who cited him as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally.

Arnett is a former member of the AIGA national board of directors, is an AIGA Fellow, and he currently serves as a board member of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Children’s Theater, and Project &.

Arnett is also active as an advisory member of the Cueball Collective, a private equity consortium that funds and incubates consumer and socially-driven ventures. These current and past accomplishments continue to grow Arnett’s reputation as one the world’s leading design and marketing practitioners.

President Elect
Ashleigh Axios
Ashleigh Axios
Chief Experience Officer, &Partners

Term: July 1, 2016–June 30, 2023

Committees: Executive Committee (chair), Finance Committee, Governance Committee

Ashleigh Axios is an international speaker, strategic creative, and an advocate for design's ability to break barriers and create positive social and cultural change. She is the Chief Experience Officer and Partner at &Partners, a digital consultancy and design studio that understands that technology, policy, and a critical eye to society’s challenges can help bring about equality and improve ways of life. Axios is serving in her fourth year on the national board of AIGA, the professional association of design, and is President Elect with a presidency starting July 2020.

Prior to her role at &Partners, Axios formed and led the in-house creative agency for marketing, communications, and brand identity solutions at Automattic, a technology company on a mission to democratize publishing and commerce. Axios previously served as the creative director and a digital strategist for the Obama White House, bridging two presidential terms in the Office of Digital Strategy. She is also a past president of AIGA Washington D.C., where she formed DotGovDesign, an initiative connecting and empowering government designers with regular meetings, a yearly conference, and online course.

Axios and her work have been featured in Print, Essence, How, Net, GDUSA, and Offscreen magazines as well as various online publications. She was named one of GDUSA’s People to Watch, featured in Essence Magazine as one of the 29 most powerful black women in the Obama administration, and received the DCFemTech Award for being a powerful woman designer on multiple occasions. Axios is a graduate from Rhode Island School of Design. She lives and works in Washington, DC with her husband, Nathaniel Axios.

Terry Marks
Terry Marks
Principal, TMarks

Term: July 1, 2018–June 30, 2021

Committees: Executive Committee, Finance Committee (chair)

Terry Marks is principal of TMarks, a creative firm in Seattle. His work has been recognized by Print MagazineCommunication ArtsCritique MagazineHOW, Neenah, Potlatch and more. Marks is an AIGA Fellow, wrote and illustrated Mr. Crumbly Dreams A Tiger for Rule29, and authored Color Harmony: Layout, 3 Feasts, and Good Design.

He serves on the AIGA Seattle Chapter’s Link Leadership Team, having helped found the outreach program in Seattle 20+ years ago. Link serves high school students by hosting art workshops and scholarships to edify and encourage self-esteem and self-expression. Marks was a board member and vice-president for AIGA Seattle for eight years. He co-chaired the Oodles of Doodles For Your Noodle project: an award-winning activity book for hospitalized and seriously ill children for the nonprofit foundation Art with Heart. With AIGA Seattle, he helped lead SoulFood, feeding homeless teens at the Orion Center.

Marks has worked with Powerful Voices, ASTAR for Autism, the Experimental Education Unit and was awarded a SAPPI Ideas That Matter Grant on behalf of ASTAR and the YES! Foundation of White Center. Marks has spoken on creativity and inspiration across the country, including the HOW Design Conference three consecutive years. He has judged numerous regional and national design competitions is co-creator of Design Family Reunion, a bi-annual conclave of creatives.

Helen Armstrong
Helen Armstrong
Associate Professor of Graphic Design, North Carolina State University

Term: July 1, 2017–June 30, 2020

Committees: Membership Committee

Helen Armstrong
 views design from across the spectrum of a practicing designer, a college professor, and a published author. She is an associate professor of graphic design at North Carolina State University. In addition to teaching, Armstrong works as principal of her company, Strong Design. Her clients have included Johns Hopkins, T. Rowe Price, and Euler ACI. Her work has been recognized by Print and HOW Magazine, and included in numerous publications in the U.S. and the UK. From 2013–2015 she served as co-chair of the AIGA Design Educators Community Steering Committee, striving to build up AIGA communities of students and educators, and is currently on the editorial board of Design and Culture.

Armstrong designed and authored Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field and co-authored Participate: Designing with User-Generated Content with Zvezdana Stojmirovic. Over the last few years Armstrong’s practice focused on building communities through user participation. Her most recent book, Digital Design Theory builds upon these experiences as she explores the effect of computation upon the methodologies of design from the 1960s to present.

Currently, Armstrong is combining her knowledge of participatory practice with computational thinking to explore the potential of intelligent interfaces to address the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Lisa Babb
Lisa Babb
Lecturer, School of Industrial Design, Georgia Institute of Technology

Term: July 1, 2019–June 30, 2022

Committees: Corporate Relations Committee

Lisa Babb comes from a rich history of activism and social justice through engaging citizens. She has worked in the Graphic Design field for more than twenty years and in Graphic Design education at the collegiate level for more than eighteen years. Lisa came from Brooklyn (before it became the brand that it is now) and has lived in Atlanta for thirteen years. She has a Master’s from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor’s from Baruch College. The same year she finished Pratt she became a graphic design professor after September 11 changed the world for everybody.

She started at a Corporate Design firm specializing in Award winning Annual reports. Some stops along the way include a commercial catalog company, a marketing group for Seagrams, two sizeable pharmaceutical advertising agencies and a commercial magazine in advertising. She has designed things a small as a button, a vast as a congressional campaign and as big as a billboard for Captain Morgan. She has also designed things as unconventional as a float for Bud Billiken parade and as functional as a point of purchase displays for a hair company.

Within design education specifically, she has created a Graphic Design department from the ground up and has made a point of teaching in places that encourage diversity in demographics, ideologies, and models. She started teaching Design at schools in New York City, the last one being PACE University in the Master's program, before coming to Atlanta and teaching at SCAD and now Georgia Tech. She lives by the mantra “if you want a better world, make one” and truly believes that design and especially design education is one of the few things that can change lives, for better or for worse.


Sarah Brooks
Sarah Brooks
Program Director, Design & Government, Studio Leader DC, IBM

Term: July 1, 2017–June 30, 2020

Committees: Membership Committee

Sarah Brooks is a service designer, researcher, strategist, and advocate for social change. Brooks’ work includes practice, teaching, writing and large-scale systems thinking about interventions for a better world. For the past 15 years, she has led multi-disciplinary teams creating products and services ranging from food systems, healthcare, media, education, finance, civic innovation, and worked with a broad range of Fortune 500, startup, nonprofit, and foundation clients.

Brooks has taught at Stanford University’s Change Labs, California College of the Arts, and Centro Diseño. In her role as AIGA SF sustainability board chair, Brooks produced the Compost Modern13 Resilienceconference that brought together over 500 attendees and 24 international design leaders at this edge of practice.

Brooks served as a 2014–2015 Presidential Innovation Fellow at Veterans Affairs with the V.A. Center for Innovation, and went on to co-found the Customer Experience Office at Veterans Affairs, ending her tenure there as the chief design officer. She is the author of the chapter “Shifting Systems,” in the book Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond, and the essay “Collective Strength And Greater Understanding Through Co-Design” in the book Leap Dialogues.

Sara Frisk
Sara Frisk
Ignite Incubation Partner, Salesforce

Term: July 1, 2017–June 30, 2020

Committees: Corporate Relations Committee

Sara Frisk believes everything can be made better through design. It’s this belief that has fueled her career, with the goal of creating deeper impact on her clients' brands and businesses.

From the starry-eyed student who landed her dream job at Pentagram under Michael Bierut, Frisk ventured through design, advertising, and brand strategy before landing at IDEO Chicago in 2005. There she grew communication design into a mature discipline, team, and portfolio of work, moving on to portfolio director to round out her nine-year IDEO tenure. A firm believer in the power of a first impression, her award-winning work across disparate industries has proven that an interactive, intuitive, and lovable brand experience is the key to customer success and loyalty.

In 2015 Frisk signed on as chief creative officer at Uptake, a Chicago-based startup whose goal is to harness the power of underutilized data. Combining her knowledge of human centered design with the power of data, Frisk currently leads a product incubator for Ignite, a special ops team tasked with visioning and building transformational experiences with key customers. Ignite was recently deemed by Forbes as “Salesforce’s secret weapon.”

An excellence freak with a wicked sense of humor, Frisk is an avid traveler, sure-footed runner, and no-holds-barred color addict. A long-time vocal advocate for all-things design, she served as AIGA Chicago’s president from 2012–2015 and is honored to be considered for AIGA's national board of directors.

Richard Hollant
Richard Hollant
Principal, Strategist, and Design Director, CO:LAB

Term: July 1, 2016–June 30, 2020

Committees: Executive Committee, Governance Committee (chair)

Richard Hollant is the principal, strategist, and design director at CO:LAB, a firm he started In 1988. After nearly two decades developing brand and product launches for Fortune 500 corporations, he now works exclusively on community empowerment initiatives. With an interdisciplinary degree from Boston University and a degree in media from the Museum School of Fine Arts, Hollant’s approach blends comprehensive strategic thinking with tightly orchestrated execution.

Hollant and his firm have received numerous awards from AIGA, CADC, PrintHowGraphis, Cause/Affect, CXD, and Best of New England. His design work has appeared in trade publications and design books. Additionally, Hollant has been featured in Business Weekly and Communications Arts, and was named one of GDUSA’s 20 People to Watch, and one of the top 11 designers creating social value by Fast Company.

Hollant has lectured and conducted workshops on ethics, business models, design for good, diversity/equity/inclusion, and outreach for socially conscious organizations. He has juried competitions including the Strathmore Paper Show, American Graphic Design Awards, Say Something Posters, Start-Up CT, Flux, and Sappi Ideas that Matter. He’s a co-founder of the teen volunteer workforce Giv2, founder of the artist residency and mentorship program Parkville Studios, and past president of AIGA Connecticut. Hollant is the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Hartford.

Marty Maxwell Lane
Marty Maxwell Lane
Associate Professor of Graphic Design, School of Art, University of Arkansas

Term: July 1, 2019–June 30, 2022

Committees: Membership Committee

Marty Maxwell Lane is a graphic design educator, researcher and writer. Her research focuses on design that facilitates learning, empowerment, and social change, often through the lens of pedagogy and participatory design. An Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Arkansas, Marty worked with colleagues to establish the first BFA in Graphic Design. Marty is currently serving as the Associate Director of The School of Art.

Marty’s active role in the design community has led her to speak in Cyprus, Berlin, London, Rome, Toronto and across the U.S. Her newest book (co-authored with Rebecca Tegtmeyer) Collaboration in Design Education. Case Studies and Methodologies, will be released in 2020 (Bloomsbury).  As a long time AIGA member, Marty has served on numerous boards, including Board Co-Chair of the AIGA Design Educators Community (2017–2019) and Advisory Board of AIGA Northwest Arkansas (2017–present).

Previously, Marty taught at The Kansas City Art Institute and Kent State University. Marty received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University’s College of Design. Before returning to school to obtain her Masters degree, Marty worked as a designer in Chicago, where her work was recognized by AIGA, The Type Director’s Club and Print’s Regional Design Annual. As a mother of two young kids, Marty aims to be a mentor and supporter for other new moms navigating the world of design, academia, and tenure.

Jamie Myrold
Jamie Myrold
Vice President, Adobe Design

Term: July 1, 2018–June 30, 2021

Committees: Membership Committee

Jamie Myrold is the Vice President of Adobe Design, where she has led large-scale design efforts at Adobe for 13 years, leading the company’s development of the next generation of design tools. Myrold’s experience goes beyond restructuring and redesigning applications, but to redefining Adobe’s design business as well. In her role, Myrold aims to inspire the next wave of design leaders, encouraging her teams to push boundaries and develop leadership skills to define guidelines that help with all aspects of business strategy and product creation.

Christine Taylor
Christine Taylor
Creative Account Manager, Licensing, Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Term: July 1, 2016–June 30, 2021

Committees: Executive Committee, Corporate Relations Committee (chair)

Christine Taylor is a multidisciplinary creative with a degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and graduate studies in design from Portfolio Center in Atlanta. After several roles in both the psychology and design fields, she landed at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, where she works as a creative account manager in the Licensing Studio, managing the creative product development and relations between Hallmark’s internal development teams and outside movie and TV studio licenses like Warner Bros., DC Comics, FOX, NBC/Universal, Star WarsStar Trek, and AMC’s The Walking Dead. Previously at Hallmark, she worked as a designer in several areas of the company including gift books, the internal branding studio, and the B2B emotion marketing studio that created content for brands like State Farm and Target. Taylor has also worked as a freelance art director and designer for local theaters, bars, restaurants, and nonprofit organizations, and helped start Bungalow Creative, a prolific but short-lived Kansas City design collective.

Before serving as president and advisory board member of AIGA Kansas City, Taylor helped revive the membership as the chapter’s programming director, launching the city’s first annual design awards. She has spoken at the Brand New Conference and has been recognized by many award shows and publications.

Richard Ting
Richard Ting
EVP, Global Chief Experience Officer and Partner, R/GA Ventures

Term: July 1, 2017–June 30, 2020

Committees: Corporate Relations Committee

Richard Ting leads R/GA’s global Experience Design (XD) team as EVP, global chief experience officer. The XD team is responsible for the overall user experiences of all communications, products, and services that R/GA launches into the marketplace. During more than 15 years with R/GA, Ting worked on a wide range of clients, including Nike, Samsung, Google, and Johnson & Johnson. Ting has received nearly every major industry award, including the Cannes Titanium Lion, the Grand CLIO, the International ANDY Awards GRANDY, and the D&AD Black Pencil.

Ting is a sought-after digital thought leader and has served on a number of award show juries, such as The One Show, the International CLIO Awards, the London International Awards, the Effies, and the Webby Awards. He has also spoken at numerous conferences, including SXSW, Advertising Week, The One Club, and the Mobile Marketing Forum. In recent years, Ting has published articles in Harvard Business ReviewThe AtlanticAdvertising AgeAdweek, and Digiday.

An avid follower of startups and emerging digital trends, Ting founded R/GA’s FutureVision program and is a co-founder of the critically acclaimed R/GA Venture Studio program. Ting has strong ties to the academic world. He taught “Designing the Future of TV” at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and has been a guest lecturer at Brown University, Parsons School of Design, Miami Ad School, and Howard University. In recent years, Business Insider ranked Richard as “third” in its annual “Most Creative People in Mobile Advertising” survey, and Adweekhonored him as a top 25 “ad voice” on Twitter. You can learn more about Ting and his sneaker collection by following him on Twitter, @flytip

Hugh Weber
Hugh Weber
Managing Director, The Great Discontent

Term: July 1, 2017–June 30, 2020

Committees: Executive Committee, Membership Committee (chair)

Hugh Weber is a researcher, network theorist, storyteller, community organizer, design advocate, and small town kid.

With clients and partners ranging from Fortune 10 to mom-and-pop bait & tackle shops, Weber uses a variety of emergent research techniques and innovative community building skills as CEO and curator of the Institute of Possibility to reveal the rich stories, vibrant cultures, thriving networks, and infinite possibility that often lays hidden in the communities, organizations and people that we love most.

Weber founded OTA, a for-purpose organization focused on sparking transformation through creative connections and collisions in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. OTA has convened 11 large-scale events, hosted over 150 national thought leaders, commissioned 35 micro-documentaries and a full-length feature, and invested approximately $2 million in the creatives who call the region home.

Weber is creator of The Potluck Society, a public radio podcast that celebrates ordinary people who are building extraordinary communities. He also recently co-created Leading Good, a learning platform and podcast that exists to inspire and equip leaders of nonprofits, social enterprises, and social impact brands.

Forest Young
Forest Young
Global Principal, Wolff Olins

Term: July 1, 2019–June 30, 2022

Committees: Membership Committee

Forest Young is a design leader, educator and speaker. He is a Global Principal at Wolff Olins—which was recently named the Most Innovative Company for Design by Fast Company. Here, he leads initiatives for the world’s influential companies and cultural institutions, working between San Francisco and New York. Select clients include Apple, Uber, Microsoft and Modern Fertility. Prior to joining Wolff Olins, Forest was the Executive Creative Director at West, leading design across a portfolio of early stage companies.

Forest is an MFA critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art, where he is also a distinguished alumnus and recipient of the Mark Whistler Prize. He recently served on the Board of Directors for AIGA NY, and his work has been exhibited at MoMA, the Royal College of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and at international biennials. He has received the industry's highest design accolades including the Gold Design Lion at Cannes and the Art Directors Club Black Cube.

His passion lies at the intersection of storytelling, universal design and futurism. He was invited by the California College of the Arts to envision and teach the inaugural MFA course in Future Design. Forest has delivered keynote lectures and master classes on behalf of the AIGA, Adobe 99U, Walker Art Center, Yale School of Art, SXSW, RISD, Typographics, and DesignThinkers. Forest holds a BS in Human Development from Cornell University.

Presidents Council Representative
Andy Rich
Andy Rich

Term: July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020

2020 Board Nominations

The call for nominations for the 2020 National Board slate has now closed. Consistent with AIGA's by-laws, the proposed slate is submitted to the voting membership for ratification. Professional-level members at the Trustee, Design Leader, and Sustaining levels should vote either for or against the entire slate via the proxy ballot. Ballots must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, May 24, 2020, in order to be counted. Ballots will be counted at a special virtual meeting on Monday, May 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern in New York City. (No members are required or expected to attend). 

The Board Nominating Committee was tasked with selecting a slate of five individuals for open seats on the national board of directors for the term beginning July 1, 2020, and unique to this year, was also tasked with filling three vacant board seats. 

The nomination process is designed to identify, encourage, and enlist the active participation of dedicated professionals in the service of AIGA at a leadership level. The procedures outlined below assist the nominating committee in conducting a fair and equitable evaluation, deliberation, and recommendation process for all nominated candidates.

Nominating committee

The committee, co-chaired by Helen Armstrong and Lisa Babb, consists primarily of individuals who are not on the board to make sure member interests are represented in the new nominations and that the national board retains a fresh and diverse perspective. This process is an open, inclusive one; anyone who completes the nomination form is considered.

The 2020 nominating committee:

  • Helen Armstrong, North Carolina State University (co-chair)
  • Lisa Babb, Georgia Institute of Technology (co-chair)
  • Roy Austin, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
  • Graham Engebretsen, Goods & Services
  • Karin Hibma, : : CRONAN : :
  • Oen Michael Hammonds, IBM
  • Dian Holton, AARP
  • Katrin Loss, BestBuy

Selection criteria given to the 2020 nominating committee

Open number of board seats
There are five core three-year seats that are filled annually, with a term through 2023. Additionally, unique to this year, there are three partial-term board seat vacancies that the committee will be filling this year, which include one two-year seat with a term through 2022 and two one-year seats with a term through 2021.

For the board to effectively govern, it is essential for directors to represent a variety of skills, experience, perspectives and expertise. Considering the roles and contributions of departing and continuing board members, the incoming slate of directors should consist of individuals with Board-level leadership experience outside of AIGA who can best support four standing board committees that oversee the key functional areas of finance, governance, corporate relations, and member and chapter community.

Additionally, the board as a whole should embody the diversity that is reflective and representational of our national community as well as exemplary of and supportive to the changes we’re striving to make as a community.

Ideal attributes for 2020
AIGA seeks directors with demonstrated background / expertise in one or more of the following functional areas:

  • Adjacent industry organization experience
  • Business owner
  • Corporate leadership
  • Design Education
  • Design practitioner
  • Development experience
  • Entrepreneur / new venture
  • Expertise in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion / talent management
  • Financial management or acumen
  • Legal professional
  • Nonprofit or association management
  • Technology management

Attributes of diversity
This category of criteria consists of general attributes that should be considered in order to advance the diversity of points of view and stakeholder awareness. Nominees are not required to reveal personal information about themselves. The nomination form does however provide board candidates with the opportunity to share any different points of view they feel they might bring to the board should they wish to. A representative board would reflect a diverse range of the following attributes:

  • Age
  • Disability Status
  • Discipline (note: this is not limited to disciplines within the design profession)
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socio-economic background
  • Workplace

A Treasurer elect position must be filled in 2020. This position will shadow the outgoing Treasurer for one year, and may be filled by a sitting member of the board or by a new member recruited for this position. This person should have experience reviewing financial statements and budgets.

The Treasurer will chair the Board Finance Committee, and work directly with the Executive Director and CFO to monitor the finances of the association and to communicate to the board about the association’s overall financial health.

The primary role of the Finance Committee is to help the board fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to provide shrewd financial oversight, keep complete, current, and accurate financial records, and to ensure that the organization manages and invests its funds responsibly—in accordance with all legal requirements as well as the mission of the organization.

Specific duties include:

Financial Oversight

  • Ensure the records of the association are accurate and complete
  • Help the board understand the organization’s finances
  • Act as the board’s eyes and ears in the financial operation
  • Protect the association from actual or apparent conflicts of interest


  • Review the draft audit and 990
  • Present the audit report to the full board (if auditor does not)
  • Recommend the hiring, retention, or firing of outside auditor
  • Review the management recommendation letter and ensure follow up on any issues


  • Investment policy with objectives of the investment portfolio and guidelines on asset allocation
  • Ensure provisions of the policy are followed
  • Review investment policy and update as necessary
  • Hire and evaluate the investment managers

Time commitment required: monthly

  • Orchestrate and facilitate remote, monthly Finance Committee meetings; preparation required
  • Attendance, leadership, and participation in remote and in-person Board meetings; preparation required
  • Attendance, leadership, and participation in remote Executive Committee meetings

Time commitment required: quarterly

  • Review quarterly financials and investment results

Time commitment required: annually

  • Participate in the strategic budget planning process with senior staff
  • Review and approve annual budget. Recommend annual budget to the full board
  • Meet with outside auditor and investment advisor
  • Review and approve the audited financials
  • Review the federal informational return (IRS Form 990) that is prepared for management by the outside auditors
  • Report on investment performance to other members of the executive committee
  • Participate in the annual performance review of the executive director that is conducted by the Executive committee

Other considerations

Board member participation
As leaders of a professional membership association, every member of the board is expected to participate in AIGA as an active member for the duration of their board service. Board members are strongly encouraged to join at the highest membership level that they are able, and to cover their own travel expenses and registration fees for AIGA meetings or events to the extent possible.

Representation from formal education sector
In each board cohort, the committee will aim to ensure that one member of the board is a full-time educator working design or a related field, a candidate with an expressed and principal interest in design education (pedagogy, curricula, theory, research) and demonstrated leadership in that community, or a candidate willing to be an active and accessible advocate for the Design Educators Community (DEC) Steering Committee, the DEC general membership, student group advisors, and education chairs within chapters.

Conflict of interest
We understand from time to time topics can arise over the course of board service that may provide the appearance of a conflict of interest. Each National Board member is expected to review and sign a statement of ethical conduct at the start of their board service. Conflict of interest exceptions can be noted at any point during a board member’s term as board discussions arise or professional affiliations or relationships evolve or emerge. In such cases the board member must excuse themself from board discussion pertaining to any exceptions noted.

Policy on serving on national and chapter boards simultaneously
There is no reason that chapter board members should not be nominated and selected for service on the national board. This is not necessarily a conflict of interest. However, every national board member is expected to represent members as a whole throughout their service on the national board; and to respect both confidentiality and solidarity with national board deliberations and decisions. For this reason, and to ensure that all national board members can meet the expectations, norms, and ethical considerations of the national board, any nominee selected to serve on the national board while still serving on a chapter board, must resign one of the positions. This is not to say that the national board role is predominant; it simply means that it is not acceptable for any national board member to compromise the ethical and principled expectations of the national board position knowingly or unintentionally, as a result of conflicting responsibilities of other boards or positions.

Nominating candidates to the AIGA National Board is essentially succession planning. As such, each slate must be considered within the following contexts:

  • Does each candidate individually meet the requisite criteria? Does the slate as a whole represent a balance of expertise, experience, and point of view that AIGA is proud to stand behind?
  • How well does the slate represent the broader community, its concerns and interests?
  • Does the slate result in an overall board that meets the necessary attributes

Completing the nomination form

Any individual willing to participate and to fulfill the obligations of board membership may self-nominate by completing the nomination form by April 8, 2020. The nominee need not be a member at the time of nomination, but will be expected to become a member if approved. Each nominee is expected to complete the online form so that the nominating committee may consider the credentials of all candidates individually, as well as comparatively. Read the Board Responsibilities and the Board statement of ethical conduct to better understand the responsibilities of elected board members. If you have questions about the form or the nomination process, please contact the chairperson of this year's nominating committee.

The nomination form is designed to help the nominee prepare and present his or her qualifications in a consistent manner, and assures that the committee has the same information on all candidates.

Board Responsiblities

The board of directors is an elected body that holds the institution in trust for AIGA members past, present, and future, with a guiding principle of leaving the institution stronger at the end of each director's term than it was at the beginning.

The Board's special responsibility is to see that the Executive Director, who serves as CEO, is managing the association in a manner that responds to the expressed needs of members, and anticipated needs of the future profession. AIGA's Board is a working board, actively participating in leadership and governance, however, the Board does not serve in an operational or managerial role.

Board members of AIGA are committed to a variety of obligations and responsibilities. Most of these are traditional in nature and are listed here. However, one obligation warrants special attention. Each board member is expected to maintain an AIGA membership at the highest level they are able for the duration of their term.

Primary activities of national Board members:

The national Board helps to define and redefine AIGA's evolving vision, reviews and approves operational policies from year-to-year, and reviews and approves the annual budget.

National Board members are expected to act as brand ambassadors for AIGA during their term of service, and after their service. In general terms this means:

  • Supporting the organization's vision of a community of design advocates and practitioners that advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force by connecting practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons; advocating for the value of designers and design in business, government, media and the public; enhancing professional development; defining standards and ethical practices; inspiring designers and the public; establishing criteria for design education that meets the needs of the profession; making powerful tools and resources available and accessible; celebrating and enhancing the value of design; and upholding and strengthening our values of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Balancing future orientation with appreciation of AIGA’s past legacy and evolving vision
  • Developing and maintaining active communication with the design community, acting as an advocate for AIGA and the organization’s vision, policies, and programs
  • Attending national and local AIGA events and being accessible at those events: listening to members, supporting and encouraging dialogue with the chapters, regions, councils and task forces
  • Keeping Board leadership and professional management informed of any issues raised by members or chapter leaders, while retaining an objective role in representing the Board and management's positions in conversations with members and chapter leaders
  • Encouraging colleagues to become active members of AIGA, and encouraging AIGA membership whenever possible
  • Setting an example for other professionals by giving through the fundraising options available to the AIGA membership
  • Actively participating in Board Committee work to support AIGA's goals and objectives: Committees have clear charters tied to the strategic plan and are key elements of the Board’s structure, providing all members with focused work and responsibilities
  • Board Committee Chairs work in coordination with each other through the Executive Committee and support full board participation in decision-making
  • In addition to Board Committee work, Board members are also called on to help secure adequate resources for the activities of the organization, which may mean assisting AIGA staff with sales outreach or fundraising, contributing money or time to AIGA events or programs, or making valuable introductions between AIGA staff and personal contacts to leverage larger sponsor relationships

Board members must:

  • Review and approve fiscal policy and boundaries, including budgets, and financial controls, and approve operational policies for AIGA's general course from year to year
  • Know the provisions of the organization's charter, Constitution and Bylaws, and policies, and ensure that they are being followed
  • Select, evaluate, appoint and, if necessary, terminate the Executive Director
  • Assist in raising adequate resources for the activities of the organization

Board members should not:

  • Engage in the day-to-day operation of the organizationor make detailed programmatic decisions more appropriately left to staff
  • Direct, evaluate or hire staff other than the Executive Director
  • Make any commitment of AIGA staff or financial resources except with the prior authorization of the full Board and the Executive Director
  • Make any offer or commitment to allow exceptions to AIGA policies

Time and travel commitments of national board members

The national board has a monthly conference call that typically ranges from one to two hours. While not all monthly calls are designated as official board meetings, for which attendance is required, board members are encouraged to participate in every call and meeting.

For both the calls and the official meetings, board members should schedule sufficient time in advance to review the call agenda and supporting materials to assure active, informed participation. Supporting materials can often be substantial, consistent with the fiduciary and governing responsibilities of a board of an established national institution. Whenever possible, materials will be provided no later than a week before the scheduled meeting.

The national board holds regular in-person meetings three to four times each year. While participation by conference call is possible, in-person attendance is preferred. Board members are expected to make their own travel and lodging arrangements, and to cover their own travel and event registration costs to the extent possible. In order to encourage a diverse Board, some members' participation at in-person meetings may be subsidized from time to time.

Incoming Board members will participate in either an in-person or virtual orientation session in early July. The session provides new directors with an overview of the organization, board work and responsibilities, and Board Committee activities and participation, and is designed to encourage their full engagement in the board.

The board typically schedules in-person meetings to take place adjacent to any national events. In such cases, Board members should schedule time to attend both the board meeting and the events one of which is the AIGA Leadership Retreat. Occasionally, but not always, the board will schedule additional in-person meetings,  in which case the date and location will be determined.

If a board member misses actively participating in two consecutive official board meetings, the Board President and Board may ask them to step down.

Financial obligations of board members

Each national board member is expected to maintain an active AIGA membership at the highest level that they are able for the duration of their board service.

As stated above, Board members usually cover their own travel and accommodations costs for all in-person board meetings (typically three to four per year). While AIGA may be able to offer preferential hotel rates for some of these meetings, it will be up to board members to book their own rooms and cover all hotel costs as well as flights, and travel expenses to the extent possible.

National board members are expected to attend and support national AIGA events by purchasing an event registration and actively participating in the event and its promotion. 

Accountability guidelines

In general, the following guidelines are recommended for nonprofit organizations to reduce liability by strengthening the accountability of the board—board members should:

  • Attend all in-person Board meetings and participate in monthly Board calls
  • Support the organization's goals, objectives, and programs
  • Read Board agenda and supporting materials prior to each Board meeting to assure active, informed participation
  • Ensure the organization keeps permanent records of all board minutes and official actions
  • Be certain the organization is fulfilling all aspects of its nonprofit and tax exempt status
  • Know the budget, budget process, and financial situation of the organization
  • Pursue the warning signs that something is wrong, and inquire if there is something you do not understand, or if something comes to your attention that causes you to question a policy or practice. Leadership is often defined as having answers, or taking charge, however, one of the most important forms of leadership that Board members undertake is simply to ask substantive questions
  • Insist on meaningful Board meetings with full disclosure of operating results
  • Communication and transparency: good communication is a key to effectiveness. Board members are encouraged to ask hard questions and get honest and complete answers
  • Know and build relationships with the directors and officers of the organization and Board colleagues: Boards are social groups and each has its own distinctive culture. Boards that work well have incorporated governance and personal initiative into their organizational culture. They have enthusiasm, momentum, and flexibility. Effective leadership boards foster environments where directors trust and respect one another, communicate clearly and often, know their organizations well, care deeply about mission, and understand their legal and moral responsibilities, respect is crucial. Respect among the current Board for each other and for the Executive Director comes from acknowledging and honoring their mutual responsibilities for their work and for the organization. The AIGA Board should be a group that each member is proud to be part of
  • Learn from conflict and constructive debate: willingness and ability to work through conflict strengthens the Board and the organization. The ability to disagree productively is one sign of a strong board culture. Constructive debate and dialogue results in decisions that are more fully thought out; diverse perspectives are encouraged
  • Require the organization to engage competent legal counsel
  • See that the organization maintains good credit and financial standing
  • Review the organization’s insurance program
  • Review and authorize appropriate indebtedness for major programs and contracts
  • Adopt and follow sound business policies and practices
  • Avoid conflicts of interest for the organization and its members
  • Build high expectations into the culture; there are clear expectations that service to the board is a serious and demanding job

Board Statement of Ethical Conduct

AIGA's National Board members must each review and sign a statement of ethical conduct at the beginning of their board service and reveal any financial or other relationships with the organization or with other members of the board that could be or could be perceived as a potential conflict of interest. The statement serves as a non disclosure agreement as well in that it includes a provision prohibiting the use or sharing of information gained through board service that is not open to the public:

Statement of Ethical Conduct
AIGA Directors (i.e., members of the AIGA Board of Directors) have special responsibilities for the stewardship of AIGA funds, property, and interests.

By acceptance of election to the AIGA board, each director acknowledges these responsibilities and agrees to regulate his or her personal conduct in a manner that assures AIGA, its members and his or her AIGA colleagues of loyalty to these responsibilities and uncompromised integrity in their discharge.

Each AIGA director has a continuing obligation to protect and conserve all AIGA money, property, and other resources, expending them in the best interests of AIGA strictly in accordance with policies adopted by the Board of Directors and authority and guidelines established by AIGA. Except by virtue of good reputation derived from service to AIGA, no AIGA director shall seek to use his or her relationship to AIGA for his or her personal benefit or professional advancement.

No AIGA director shall solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, anything of substantial monetary value (including any gift, gratuity, favor, loan, or other consideration) from any person, corporation, chapter, or other entity that has, or is seeking, a contractual, employment, financial or other beneficial relationship with AIGA, which relationship may be substantially affected by that director’s performance of his or her duties to AIGA.

AIGA shall not provide loans (or the equivalent, such as loan guarantees, purchasing or transferring ownership of a residence or office, or relieving a debt or lease obligation) to directors, officers, or trustees.

Each AIGA officer shall avoid any conduct that might result in the loss of public confidence in the responsible performance of AIGA functions, the impairment of AIGA efficiency or economy, or might reasonably give the appearance of:

  • The extension of preferential treatment to any person, group, organization, or other entity
  • The compromise or loss of complete impartiality of judgment and action
  • The making or implementation of an AIGA decision outside of standard AIGA policies and guidelines

No AIGA director shall make use of, or permit others to make use of, any information obtained as a result of his or her relationship with AIGA, which information is not generally available to the public, whether for direct personal gain or for advice to others with whom he or she has family, business, financial or professional ties.

AIGA is effective only as long as it maintains the design community’s trust. All directors are required to perform in a manner that is consistent with these principles. Failure to do so may, in the interest of AIGA, be grounds for a request for resignation from the board.

I have read the AIGA statement of ethical conduct and agree to abide by its provisions and have reported any necessary exceptions below.