Wendy Millard RGD is the Creative Director at Empire Life, President of RGD.
An in-house designer for over 20 years, she has seen and been through all the challenges an in-house team can go through and still believes designers can make a huge impact on the inside.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with RGD, and in what capacity? What made you want to get involved?
I’ve been volunteering with the RGD for just over nine years now and I’ve had many great experiences from working on the committees, chairing and participating in board meetings, moderating sessions for in-house design, presenting webinars, judging and hosting many events such as DesignThinkers and our first ever InHouse Design Conference.
My choice to get involved came from changing jobs and feeling the need to be more connected to other designers and ensure my skills were competitive. I had been working successfully as an in-house designer/manager for many years and when the company I worked for restructured and offered me my position in another city, I chose to stay here in Kingston.The company I currently work for is very supportive of having staff pursue certification in their field and so I went through the process of becoming a certified RGD. What got me further involved was just being asked really. It was that simple.
Q: How would you describe the role of RGD within the design industry?
RGD’s role is to inspire, connect and promote designers. As volunteers, we truly take these words to heart in everything we do. The programs and initiatives RGD supports help designers stay relevant in their work and expand their professional networks.
I believe it’s crucial for any designer, from just starting out in their career to approaching retirement and beyond to have that network and connection and support from their peers. You definitely get back what you put into being part of the RGD.
It’s of great value to the design profession to also have a strong and united voice when it comes to speaking out against spec work, design contests and those who devalue the creative work that we do. RGD fulfills this role very well and we are lucky to have such a great association to support and represent Canadian 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?
On a personal level I am proud of the fact that the various roles I've held with RGD have led me to do things I never would have seen myself doing. Being a part of RGD and especially the board and committees, provides many opportunities to get outside your comfort zone and grow. It’s a great way to develop the confidence and leadership skills that you may not have the chance to develop in your day job.
Q: What can individual designers and organizations like RGD do to further improve the industry?
As designers we have a real opportunity to create change for the better, whether it’s within a business or for social good. Designers who are able to guide, encourage and facilitate the design process with a user-centred approach are highly valuable to society. We need the craft of design, but we also need the ability to understand and speak to strategy. We need more programs and initiatives that help designers improve their confidence in other relevant areas that go beyond design skills.
Interested in getting involved with RGD? Fill out our online form.