Volunteer of the Month for November 2020

The RGD thanks Ashley Tomlinson Provisional RGD, Freelance Graphic Designer, for her contributions to the community.


"Ashley has been an advocate for the RGD ever since she was a student at Humber College. I have always been struck by her inquisitiveness, thoughtfulness and enthusiasm. The RGD is so lucky to have her active involvement now that she is a Provisional RGD working in the industry.
I was excited when she made the suggestion, during an Education Committee Meeting, that we offer virtual Studio Tours as part of this year's Virtual DesignThinkers Conference, but I also realized the amount of work that would be involved, in identifying, contacting and coordinating the participation of studios, to make this happen. When Ashley volunteered to take the lead, I knew, not surprisingly given my experience with her, that this addition to our DesignThinkers Program was guaranteed for success.
Ashley is a pleasure to work with and, as with so many of the RGD's active Members, I look forward to following her career in the Canadian design industry and collaborating with her on many amazing RGD initiatives as part of her involvement in the Association!"
    - Hilary Ashworth, Executive Director, The RGD
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?
I started volunteering in January 2020 on the RGD's Education Committee and now I’m on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. I also helped organize the Studio Tours for DesignThinkers 2020 Virtual during the fall.
What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?
Having the crazy idea to have virtual tours of studios from around the world and seeing it through was a wild experience. I was shocked that anyone agreed to do it and was blown away by the end result. 
What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
I didn’t expect there to be a global pandemic this year (did anyone?). Volunteering has made me feel more connected to the design community as a whole. It’s been a weird year and it’s  helped to remind me that there are other designers out there going through similar experiences and emotions. 

From Designathon 2018

What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
I’ve learned that the industry is always changing and evolving and that it’s made up of designers from many different backgrounds. Also, that it’s smart to stay relevant throughout your career, never stop learning and growing.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
I think the RGD helps to connect designers to a larger community, sets standards for design/work practices and provides designers with resources to help them expand their design careers.
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?
I have gained confidence in myself as a solo designer because there’s this large organization and community that I’m part of. My involvement with the RGD shows that I have certain standards in my work and my business. Getting to collaborate, connect and have conversations with fellow RGD volunteers is really worth it. 
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
I want to continue to volunteer on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and find ways to make the design industry more inclusive and a safe place for everyone. As a Black woman, I am aware of both my privileges and disadvantages and want to use my perspective/experience to help build a more equitable design community.

Ashley is a multidisciplinary graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. Recently, she was the junior designer at Studio Wyse where she worked on editorial projects for the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and the Creative Destruction Lab. She’s also a cofounder of Cove Collective, a community that centres the voices of BIPOC womxn through events, workshops and podcasts