2022 AIGA Design Leadership + Advocacy

Advocate for the value of design.

As the professional association for design, we advocate for the value and impact of design in our contemporary world. Join us for three days of design leadership development, advocacy, and design industry expansion.

March 20–22, 2022
Washington, D.C.
In Person and Virtual Tickets Available

About the 2022 Design Leadership and Advocacy Conference

We are elated to welcome our community to our first in-person conference since 2019! This conference provides the opportunity to amplify and extend your impact as a designer through leadership and advocacy. It is time to convene, lead, and make large-scale change within the design industry.

Along with design and design adjacent leaders, you will explore the power and influence of small businesses, design-first organizations, and industry expansion. Arrive with a desire to create change and leave with the capacity to initiate change at home and on a national level.

Top off your conference experience with legislative training and a trip to Capitol Hill to meet with representatives and begin the foundational work of highlighting the value of design and championing the profession at the federal, state and local levels. 

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Attendees at a previous AIGA Conference (masks will be required at the 2022 AIGA Design Leadership and Advocacy Conference). Photo courtesy of Frank Aymami Photography.


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Photo by Hester Qiang on Unsplash

Grow Your Leadership Skills

At this conference, we’ll convene speakers and leaders from a range of industries and government to talk about how design is key to advancing business goals across the following topics:

  • Local Economies and the Role of Small Business
  • The Gig Economy
  • The Future of Jobs 
  • Systemic Problems
  • The Human Experience
  • Media and Information 
  • Design as a Cultural Force 

Schedule Overview


Session Feature: U.S. Small Business Administration

Empowering Designers to Start, Grow and Scale Small Businesses

Associate Administrator for the SBA Mark Madrid and AIGA Executive Director Bennie F. Johnson sit down for a fireside chat to discuss how customer-centric design principles are enabling the SBA to better assist design small businesses start, grow, and scale. 

Manu Raju Headshot

Session Feature: National Endowment for the Arts

The Case for Quality Data in Research    

AIGA's Chief Learning and Insights Officer Rubens Pessanha sits down with the Director of the Office of Research & Analysis for the National Endowment for the Arts, Sunil Iyegnar. Pessanha and Iyengar discuss some of the more recent research iniatives at the NEA, including the report on America's Creative Economy. They'll also explore the importance of quality industry data for improving reporting capabilities. 

View the full 2022 agenda

Explore sessions and speakers for the in-person and virtual experience at the Design Leadership and Advocacy Conference.


Speaker Focus: Manu Raju, CNN

Manu Raju is CNN's chief congressional correspondent, covering Capitol Hill and campaign politics. Raju is a veteran reporter in Washington, having previously served as a top Capitol Hill correspondent at Politico for seven years. Prior to his time at Politico, Raju reported for The Hill newspaper, Congressional Quarterly and Inside Washington Publishers. He has long been a frequent guest on political talk shows on TV and radio.

Manu Raju Headshot
Cheryl Heller Headshot

Speaker Focus: Cheryl Heller

Cheryl Heller is President of the Measured Lab, and Founding Partner of the design lab CommonWise. Most recently, she was the Director of Design Integration and Professor of Practice in Innovation Design at Arizona State University, a joint position in the W.P. Carey School of business, the Ira. A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She advises leaders and teaches innovation through CommonWise.design.

Heller is a recipient of the AIGA Medal for her contribution to the field of design and a Rockefeller Bellagio Fellow. Her book, The Intergalactic Design Guide: Harnessing the Universal Creative Energy of Social Design, was published in 2018.