Volunteer of the Month for October 2017

RGD thanks Michael J. Young RGD for his contributions to our community.



Michael is a font-obsessed designer and developer working at the Government of Ontario. With over 10 years’ experience in the design industry, he creates attractive designs and campaigns that are AODA compliant and user-friendly.


Q: How long have you been volunteering with RGD, and in what capacity?

I've been volunteering with RGD for over five years. Leveraging my experience at the Government of Ontario, I've written articles and presented webinars about accessible design and WCAG compliance. I've been a part of several boards and committees such as the Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Membership Committee and as a Director on RGD's Certification Board. I'm also a portfolio evaluator for candidates going through RGD's certification process.


Q: What made you want to get involved with RGD?

When I was preparing for RGD certification, I was part of a fantastic and enthusiastic study group. I've kept in touch with the group members over the years and it's these personal connections that helped me network within the association early on. Working as an in-house designer, I appreciate how much RGD conferences and events keep me connected to a larger community of designers. Being involved in planning and supporting these events help me stay even more connected.


Q: Of the RGD initiatives you have contributed to, what are you most proud of?

Rod Nash, one of the founders of RGD, invited me to join the certification board in 2015. A new mandatory accessibility section was being developed for the certification test and Rod wanted me to help in the development and testing of the new questions. The questions we developed with RGD staff were then tested by RGDs and Provisional RGDs and the results were used to establish passing marks for the new section. Being able to witness and participate in this process was so rewarding. I've also created and presented four accessibility-related webinars to help students and designers adapt to this significant change in our industry.





Q: What is your most memorable experience as an RGD volunteer?

Helping the next generation of designers is really important to me as a professional. Not long after becoming an RGD, I volunteered to evaluate student portfolios at the Creative Directions conference for emerging designers. I remember being just as nervous as the students. I had watched a webinar about how to give a good portfolio review and I took lots of notes and studied them feverishly the night before the event. Despite all my fear and anxiety, the students were really grateful for the advice I gave them and I was blown away by their work and enthusiasm. Creative Directions continues to be one of my favourite events of the year and I've volunteered ever since.


Q: What have you gained from being an RGD volunteer, and why would you recommend it to other Members who might be thinking of getting involved?

Like so many things in life, what you get out is directly related to what you put in. Getting involved is such a fun and enriching experience; you'll have opportunities to meet other passionate creatives and make a positive impact for our industry.


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