Volunteer of the Month for June 2021
The RGD thanks Victor Szeto RGD, Creative Director, Green Living Enterprises, for his contributions to the RGD community.
"When Victor took over as Chair of the Certification Committee, I could see right from the beginning that he was going to be a great leader. He is a caring individual, highly organized and determined in getting everybody, including himself, to contribute their best."
— Stüssy Tschudin RGD, Principal at Forge Media + Design and RGD Past President.
"I've known Victor since joining a study group for RGD Certification. Since then, I've bumped into him at countless RGD events, where he's been a portfolio reviewer, presenter, Committee Member, panelist and emcee. In every role, he brings a warmth and brightness that is truly welcoming. His experience as a volunteer in all of these spaces makes him the perfect source of knowledge of power and impact of the RGD experience. RGD definitely benefits from his journey through the design industry!"
— Randal Boutilier RGD, Principal at 12thirteen & Creative Director at Openly
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD, and in what capacity?
I've been a Certified RGD since 2010 and have volunteered throughout the years participating in student portfolio reviews, contributing to articles and mentoring — whatever I could do to be involved but not feel over-extended. By 2018, I really wanted to make those annual dues count, so I joined the Certification Committee and then got elected to the Board. Last year, I became the Chair of the Certification Committee, so my volunteer hours definitely went up a notch. It's been an incredibly eye opening experience to bear witness to the plethora of activity at this level of involvement.
What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?
There's been many, so I'm going to cheat and give two. With contributions from the Members of the Certification Committee, I've been involved with producing the Freshly Certified webinar series. It features new Members as they talk about their work and how they put them together for their portfolio presentations for Certification, with the emphasis on the "how" and providing guidance and a roadmap to viewers so the process doesn't feel so nebulous and mysterious. My second stand out contribution is emceeing segments of DesignThinkers 2019 and 2020, with 2019 being the last in-person conference I participated in and 2020 being the first virtual one. The designers were not only inspirational to listen to, they were also really nice people to chat with!
What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
The reach that the RGD has to a global audience is remarkable. Being part of the Certification Committee makes you aware of who's applying to be part of the Association. When I first heard about the RGD way back in design school, it was only Ontario-based. Now, there are designers applying from all over the world. To me, it highlights how this Canadian Association knows no boundaries and its relevance and usefulness to the industry isn't limited to one region.
What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
There's multiple superhighways, lanes and avenues in the design industry that are ever-evolving. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, but is never boring. There's always an interesting niche or specialty you can tap into no matter where your interests are. I've learned to not stop learning because of that.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
In my volunteer experience, the RGD isn't a singular figurehead who dictates the role within the industry — it's influenced by active and outspoken Members. This includes evaluating and raising professional standards, providing a voice to under-represented communities and advocating for fair and transparent compensation, among many other issues. There's a sincerity to ensuring designers are proud of what they do and can make a living doing it.
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?
Speaking from my own experience, as I was progressing in my career and work, it was easy to become insular and operate in my own self-contained (and self-imposed) bubble. Being an RGD volunteer helped burst that bubble in a good way because it offered many more connections to people in my immediate field (and sometimes not) that I may have never met or had an association with before. The RGD has also provided several opportunities to volunteer at different capacities at different times, so as bad as I felt saying no to some things thinking they'll never ask me again, that was never true. That's my recommendation to other Members who might be thinking of getting involved — do what you can, when you can. Like anything, the more you contribute, the more you get out of it.
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
We had an AGM recently where I was re-elected to the Board, so in my immediate future, my goal is to steer a smooth sailing ship for the Certification Committee and ensure we're on top of the goals that serve the greater Association at large and to help prop other Members up for success. Beyond that, the future is so uncertain with this pandemic still ongoing and what this could mean to the industry and life in general. It's scary and exciting at the same time, so I'm trying not to plan too far ahead since it might make my head explode.
A graduate of York/Sheridan’s Design program and an RGD Member since his student days, Victor’s work spans experiential, print and digital media with a focus on corporate and social responsibility, cause marketing and sustainability with varied experiences within the studio, in-house and freelance spaces.
Click here for the past RGD Volunteers