Volunteer of the Month for June 2020
"Stüssy's generosity with his time, wisdom and perspective have made our organization stronger. He's made enormous contributions over the years—from the big ones we'll credit to him forever to the small acts of kindness supporting our emerging community. Thank you Stüssy for all that you do!"
— Nicola Hamilton RGD, RGD President.
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?
I’ve been volunteering with the RGD since 2012. During the past 9 years, I was very fortunate to be involved in many different ways. After I was elected to the Board, I acted as Vice President of Membership and Ethics and then supported the Association as President of the Board for four years and most recently Past President for two years.
Beyond my official roles, I like to help out wherever I can, from doing portfolio reviews for students and young designers, to evaluating candidates hoping to become Certified RGDs. I’ve also participated in webinars, roundtable discussions, firm owner meet-ups and design socials and I have enjoyed being a part of the Mentorship program and sponsoring a Student Award for many years.
What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?
The thing I am most proud of is, that during my role as president, I was able to help the RGD develop a much more positive collaborative relationship with the other design associations in Canada. I was involved in the development of a unified Code of Ethics for all three associations (the RGD, GDC, SDGQ) and I have been continuing to work towards a unified certification process.
What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
It has been astonishing to me how much the RGD is doing and offering. Before getting more involved myself, I knew mostly about Certification and DesignThinkers. But being involved on various Committees and in various activities, I am always amazed how much the RGD does and that the relatively small staff can do so much in such a professional and large-scale fashion, with the assistance, of course, of so many volunteers.
What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
I’ve learned that we are stronger together. If we, as an Association, want to advocate on behalf of designers, it truly helps if the whole industry is united and works together for a common goal.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
As I’ve heard from many international speakers at DesignThinkers, the RGD is one of the best run and best organized design associations in the world. Many have made comments that they wish the organizations in their countries (many of them bigger than the RGD) could be as professional as ours.
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 got involved as a volunteer, I did it because I felt it was time to give back to the community. And while I still feel this is true and important, I’ve also learned how much I can gain from the experience. From getting to know more of my peers, to feeling good about the help I provided to young designers getting started in the industry, it is a very rewarding experience to be able to contribute to this Association.
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
While I am no longer on the RGD Board, I plan to stay involved in some capacity for the rest of my career. There is always help needed and I love to learn new things, meet new people and keep giving back where and when I can.
Learn more about contributing to the RGD's programs and initiatives as a Member.