Volunteer of the Month for January 2019

RGD thanks Founder Rod Nash RGD for his contributions to our community for over 25 years.

Rod, one of the founders of RGD, has been an RGD volunteer for 25 years. He has worked as a designer for 57 years. In the 60s and 70s, before starting Nash+Nash, Rod, and his wife and partner, Liz Nash worked at two of the largest ad agencies in the world back then; J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. Over the years Rod and Liz have seen the positive effect the work of their firm has brought to companies and organizations both large and small. 


Q: How long have you been volunteering with RGD, and in what capacity?
I first got seriously involved with the idea of RGD back in the beginnings of the organization after I heard consultant Joanne Radford speak in 1994. Once I was “signed up” I was asked to grow the membership numbers so that the government could be convinced our organization really represented our profession. 



After the Act was passed recognizing the role of the Association in governing and granting members the right to the professional designation of RGD, we didn’t stop. Getting the Act really helped as I continued personally contacting designers, convincing them to join in what we were doing. I was Vice President (in charge of Membership) on the original RGD Board. 



I’m still an active advisor on the Board. I enjoyed speaking at events like the HeadStart Conference for Emerging Designers and reviewing student portfolios. I’ve enjoyed meeting and introducing speakers at DesignThinkers Conferences. Apart from working on many RGD committees, I’ve worked with the Certification Board (almost from its beginning) doing many Portfolio Interviews, noting people with skills who could really help RGD and then getting them involved. I love being part of the development and evolution of the RGD certification process and how it has allowed me insights into our profession.



Q: What made you want to get involved and stay involved with RGD?
In the early 1990s, other fields of design such as Architects, Interior Designers, Industrial Designers and Landscape Architects each had organizations with Legislated Acts giving them the right to regulate and govern their professions. I’d noted examples of how it seemed to give their professions better leverage with business and government than we as Graphic Designers had. Attempts by Graphic Designers to get an Act had been unsuccessful. But then Toronto designer Albert Ng was able to convince a retired consultant, Joanne Radford, to help steer us through the Government’s process. Joanne had previously helped the Interior Designers do the same. I was convinced that with Joanne’s experience and guidance we could do it. And we did. It took a few years working almost full time with a small, dedicated group of Graphic Designers…but I believe it was worth every minute.


For Graphic Designers it proved to be a once in a lifetime opportunity…and we rose to the challenge. 


From that unique foundation we’ve built something worthwhile: a viable structure where we can test new ideas that continue to create an ever better organization for designers. And most importantly, that’s only been possible because RGD has attracted years of support from so many volunteers and a great professional staff. 


Q: Of the RGD initiatives you have contributed to, what are you most proud of?
Seeing RGD continually evolve into an ever more amazing organization. 


Q: What is your most memorable experience as an RGD volunteer?
Sitting in the member’s gallery at Queen’s Park watching the MPPs approving a reading of our Act for Graphic Designers.


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?
When I was a little kid in Australia I grew up in a wonderfully supportive neighbourhood, a community where people cared, shared and grew together. It’s a value system I’ve modelled my life on. It’s a value system that’s proven to work for RGD too. Today more than ever, Canadian designers need to continue building a strong, supportive community; to exchange ideas, educate and inspire each other and set professional standards. For me it feels good to work with a community of extraordinary designers dedicated to advocating for the value of design and designers.



You too can help make ideas for positive changes become a reality. RGD has the structures in place where designers like you are doing this. With its pool of volunteers, professional staff and committees, RGD has a proven track record for making things happen.


So get the feel-good feeling. Get involved. 


Interested in getting involved with RGD? Fill out our online form