The Challenges of In-House Design Management

A panel of in-house design managers discuss what their key responsibilities are and how to master the biggest creative management challenges.


Based on their knowledge and experiences in the workplace, our panelists share their insights on problems they have faced in the field of in-house design management and ways in which they have resolved them.


Questions that will be addressed:

  • Describe your job profile and key responsibilities as an in-house design manager? Do you believe your role as design manager is captured in your job profile and if not what would you change?
  • How would you break down your day? How much time do you spend on high level strategic work/meetings/managing and coaching staff and do you still wear the hat of the designer?
  • What's your biggest challenge in managing design inside a corporation?
  • Poor client behaviour is for many in-house designers a challenge because there is no accountability for misuse/abuse or delays on their part of the process . What is your advice for managing the in-house client/design relationship?
  • What do you see as the biggest disrupter/trend that is affecting in-house graphic design?


Moderated by: 


Michelle Hopgood RGD 

Michelle is the lead Graphic Designer at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. At MPI, Michelle focuses on tailoring graphic design to effectively convey information and brand identity. She specializes in the function, perception, and contextualization of visual information by the audience, and creates a visual identity for the Institute through info-graphics, data visualization, and design.




Wendy Millard RGD 

Wendy has an extensive background with in-house design management and designing the process in which to engage design. With over 20 years of experience, she has led several design rebrands in the technology and financial services sectors. She is an advisory board member and mentor for St. Lawrence College Graphic Design Program. Wendy’s formula for successful in-house design is to deliver high quality, award-winning work and exceptional partnership with internal stakeholders


Josh McInerney RGD 

Josh is the Manager of Design and Creative at Ryerson University. Previously, he was creative director and partner at Modu Design where he worked on design projects for BMWManulife FinancialThe University of Toronto and Cineplex. Josh has spoken on branding, design and creative thinking at the Schulich School of Business, at the RGD Design Thinkers Conference and has been interviewed for the Telus Small Business web series. He is also on the advisory board of NextCanada as well as the Association of Registered Graphic Designers. Josh has been recognized by HOW MagazineMarketing Magazine (“Great Canadian Creative Faceoff 2010”), the Web Marketing Awards and the Retail Advertising and Marketing Awards.


Nadine Kuhlkamp RGD 

Nadine is the AVP, Creative and Advertising at Invesco Canada. She has over 15 years of experience within financial services marketing and in-house design. Nadine was previously the Art Director at Wickware Communications, working with clients such as CIBC Asset Management, Russel Investments, Scotiabank and HSBC. Prior to that, she was an in-house Design Manager with AGF Funds Inc. Nadine takes pride in building strong working relationships with clients and business partners with a focus on collaboration, trust and innovation within the creative teams she leads. She is an active member of the Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD) and provides mentoring for students enrolled in college- and university-level design, corporate communication and advertising programs.


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