I have been involved with RGD at some level since 2001 and have seen it grow into the amazing association that it is today. Being a member of the association — as a student, then provisional and now a newly minted and certified RGD — brings me a great sense of pride as it is a community that allows all of us to grow both our personal and professional networks as well as our skill sets. As a result, I have participated in many events and forged important relationships through RGD's Mentorship program, portfolio reviews, awards judging and conference panels. It provides a solid network to learn and give back to the design community.
As the solo designer of an in-house communications team it can be difficult to connect with my peers on a regular basis. The LinkedIn discussion forums and webinars are a fantastic resource and avenue for participation within the community. RGD’s efforts demonstrate that they care deeply about the field of design and its connected industries. Additionally, studying for my RGD Certification instantly became easier when I joined a study group supported by RGD’s staff and volunteers. We were all able to tackle the material together, making the certification process much less daunting and much more fulfilling.
RGD continues to support its designers through fulfilling programs such as the In-House Design Awards that launched in 2016. These programs draw attention to the vast talent that exists within the in-house community. In November 2016, I was honoured as a solo in-house designer to be the recipient of an In-House Design Award with Distinction. The 2016 program featured many other incredibly talented in-house design teams and I felt privileged to be among this group.
The most satisfying experience I continue to have as an RGD is as a member of their Accessibility Advisory Committee, which enables me to combine my two passions of disability advocacy and design. It was with great pleasure that I was able to contribute and participate in the development of RGD's AccessAbility: A Practical Handbook on Accessible Web Design. Writing a case study for the handbook allowed me to explain how a solo in-house designer with a small working budget might create pdfs that are more accessible. While awareness is improving throughout the design community, addressing disability-related issues and advocacy is an area that continues to require a great deal of work and education. RGD continues to grow and support this effort through guidelines and information sharing, in addition to hosting speakers with knowledge tailored specifically to disability and design.
Being an RGD adds to every designer’s skill set — it means being respected, striving to do better, and most importantly it connects you to other talented designers with the same determination, drive, and passion for the field of design.