AIGA Executive Leadership Summit 2023

AIGA Executive Leadership Summit

March 12–14, 2023
Alexandria, VA

Join us for the inaugural AIGA Executive Leadership Summit, a place to convene with leaders in design to make lasting change for the profession while finding and strengthening your voice as a leader. This event will also provide an in-person testing opportunity for the AIGA Design Leader Certification (AIGA-DL). Limited slots available–register today!

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Invest In Your Leadership

Take your leadership to the next level with our new Executive Leadership Summit! This event, geared towards Director level and above, convenes design leaders in an intimate professional development-oriented setting. Learn from four experienced trainers on topics like mindset readiness, creative leadership, scaling design, and building customer experience practice. 

What's Included

Small Group Training

12 hours of Design Leadership Training

Hotel Stay

Three nights of accommodations at the Westin Alexandria

Select Meals

Breakfast on March 12, 13, and 14; Lunch on March 12 and 13


Networking reception on Sunday, March 12

Sightseeing Opportunity

Offsite excursions on Tuesday, March 14


Optional add on: AIGA Professional Portfolio Assessment for the AIGA Design Leader Certification (AIGA-DL)

AIGA Design Conference Attendees at Happy Hour in 2022

2022 Design Conference in Seattle, Washington. Photography by Jonathan Ystad.

2022 Conference Host Lee-Sean Huang

Lee-Sean Huang, Friday's Host at the 2022 AIGA Design Conference. Photography by Jonathan Ystad.

2023 Schedule Overview

Looking for a taste of what the AIGA Executive Leadership Summit has to offer? Explore our schedule overview below.

Offsite Excursions for Attendees (Included in Summit Registration!)

Cap off two days of learning with sightseeing excursions in Washington, D.C.! Both experiences included in registration fee.

National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian
A diverse and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. The NMAI cares for one of the world's most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.

Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral holds a unique place at the intersection of sacred and civic life. Filled with stories of our country's history from 1893 to today, this is a not-to-be missed architectural wonder that claims the title of the world’s sixth-largest Cathedral and boasts old-world artisanship in it's stunning wrought iron, stained glass, gargoyles and grotesques.

Meet the Instructors

Rama Gheerawo Headshot

Rama Gheerawo

Janice Chaka Headshot

Janice Chaka

Doug Powell Headshot

Doug Powell

Shelley Evenson Headshot

Shelley Evenson

Hugh Dubberly Headshot

Hugh Dubberly


Hal Wuertz

Sessions Offered at the 2023 Executive Leadership Summit

    Instructor: Janice Chaka

    Leading a design team can be daunting during times of uncertainty. Re-Design Your Mindset: How to Navigate Uncertainty as a Leader in Design is the perfect workshop to help you change your mindset and approach the situation with renewed confidence.

    Through guided exercises and interactive activities, this workshop will provide strategies and techniques which will help develop your capacity for leadership. Learn how to leverage adaptability and resilience, challenge assumptions, question mental habits, experiment with new approaches and create original solutions.

      Instructors: Hugh Dubberly, Partner, Dubberly Design Office and Lecturer, North Eastern University and Shelley Evenson, Managing Director, Accenture Song

      In the fall of 2022, OpenAI's release of ChatGPT created a flurry of news articles about AI algorithms that write coherent texts. This followed an earlier flurry of articles about AI algorithms such as DALL-E with its famous astronaut-riding-a-horse image and Midjourney which generated an image that won an art contest at the Colorado State Fair. Clearly the technology has reached an inflection point. That is, the size of the underlying databases is growing at 10x per year (at least), and the quantitative increase has led to a noticeable qualitative improvement.

      What do these developments mean for designers and designing?

      This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of generative AI and its potential for designing. No prior AI experience or programming knowledge is required —— that's an important factor in recent developments!

      During the workshop, participants will learn about a range of generative models, from text to chat to text to image and beyond. We will explore how these models can generate a wide variety of artifacts, such as texts, images, animations, 3D models, and more.

      The workshop will be interactive, with hands-on activities and plenty of opportunity for participants to ask questions and engage in discussions. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of online tools and receive feedback from the instructors and other participants. We’ll conclude with a discussion about how generative AI will change your design practice.

      By the end of the workshop, participants will have a solid understanding of generative AI today, and what it's good at and not so good at. We will see how design methods will evolve, how design practice will change and why it's important to start to work with these tools now.

        Instructor: Rama Gheerawo, Director, The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

        Creativity needs leadership and leadership needs creativity. The 21st century has shown us that traditional models of leadership have failed us. And with the current societal uncertainty, leaders are presented with dynamics that make it increasingly difficult to be competitively viable, to be impactful and to effectively lead. 

        Creative Leadership is a new form of leadership for the 21st century. Based on a new book by Rama Gheerawo (Creative Leadership: Born from Design) it is an inclusive design approach to leadership that aims to transform your individual and organizational practice. 

        It is based on three human values of empathy, clarity and creativity which have been used internationally with major companies. 
        ➔ Empathic leadership is on the rise, learn how to harness your natural strengths as creative leaders
        ➔ See how clarity can help sharpen your instincts and application
        ➔ Step beyond outdated leadership models and embrace creativity as part of daily practice
        Learn how to enable this in this session.
        There are many leadership programs that benefit corporations and companies.  Creative Leadership focuses on humans as well.

          Instructors: Doug Powell and Hal Wuertz

          Design is in the midst of a remarkable surge of growth, expansion, and influence in virtually every business sector and geographic region. Global companies and organizations are recognizing the potential for design as a business driver and differentiator by investing in internal design programs at a rate never before seen. With that investment comes the need to build our design teams and operations in a far more complex way than we ever have before, and the role of the executive design leader is essential to building programs and practices in a sustainable and enduring way.

          This workshop will focus on how design leaders understand the state of their program, plan for future growth, and align key stakeholders around that plan. Among the questions we will explore are:

          • What is the organizational model of the program, and is that the right one? 
          • What is the optimal size of the program, and how do we know that? 
          • What is the current health of the program, and how do we nurture and improve that?

          This workshop will be a very hands-on and interactive experience. Participants will leave with tangible takeaways including the draft of a Design Program Dashboard that they can continue to build and iterate following the Summit.

          Registration & Tickets

          Nonmember with Certification

          $3,249 /ticket

          Save $100 on full-price rates! Early rate available through February 24, 2023

          Member with Certification

          $2,499 /ticket

          Discounted rates are available to AIGA members. Your AIGA profile must match the category of membership to grant access to the corresponding price. Save $100 on full-price rates! Early rate available through February 24, 2023

          Nonmember Event Only

          $2,315 /ticket

          Save $100 on full-price rates! Early rate available through February 24, 2023

          Member Event Only

          $1,925 /ticket

          Discounted rates are available to AIGA members. Your AIGA profile must match the category of membership to grant access to the corresponding price. Save $100 on full-price rates! Early rate available through February 24, 2023

          Join AIGA for member pricing!

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          Get Certified!

          The AIGA Professional Design Certification program represents a commitment to the design profession and to lifelong learning. Enhance your skills to become a stronger leader for your design team. This event will also provide an in-person testing opportunity for the AIGA Design Leader Certification (AIGA-DL).

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          AIGA Professional Design Certification

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