Volunteer of the Month for May 2022

The RGD thanks Olivia Baker-Sullivan Provisional RGD, Designer at FEED/DEPT, for her contributions to the RGD community.

"Olivia has been an amazing teammate as we tackle all sorts of weird and wonderful RGD challenges. She's been a key member of the Membership Committee, leading the charge in arranging locations for the SoGood awards exhibition. Negotiating with venues from coast to coast is no easy task, but she took it on and made it a success. She's also a great partner in the RGD newsletter, working with me to dive into the archives and recommend interesting videos from RGD's past. A huge thank you to Olivia for always eagerly volunteering to help the RGD cause."
   - Kyle Schruder RGD, Co-Chair, Membership Committee
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?
I joined the RGD in the Fall of 2020 to connect with other designers and I have been volunteering since the beginning of 2021. I started out by , to ask if there was a need for volunteers. Zaria recommended me to the Membership Committee. Since then, my role has focused on working with the Committee on the upcoming So(cial) Good Design Awards Exhibition taking place across Canada.
What contribution are you most proud of? What experience/memory stands out for you?
I am most proud of the work I’ve been able to do with the SoGood Design Awards team. It has been amazing getting to work closely with fellow Committee Member, and now RGD Board Member, Kyle Schruder RGD and the RGD's Executive Director Hilary Ashworth, on figuring out how to get this exhibition started in its very first year. Getting to take on the job of scouting locations has helped me see what it takes to realize an exhibition. Even better, to have reserved locations enough now for the exhibit to travel coast to coast!
What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
Since joining the RGD, I have connected with designers in a variety of fields and at career stages beyond my own. It has also been super-fun getting to take on a more organizational role in helping lead the manifestation of the exhibition. Getting the experience of reaching out to library and museum coordinators and pitching the SoGood Awards exhibit is something I have never done before, and which I very much enjoyed doing.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
The RGD has been an ever-present part of my design career. Ever since I started studying design at NSCAD University, it was always evident how many resources the RGD had available for students and for those at all stages of their careers. The amount of support and community the RGD provides is unlike any other organization I’ve seen in similar and related fields.
What have you gained from being a volunteer for the RGD and why would you recommend it to other members who might be thinking of getting involved?
From being a part of the RGD, I have gotten to manifest skills through volunteering I would not have gotten out of my own work (at a junior level), including more direct project management and pitching. The designers I have connected with, the mentorship experiences I’ve had and the volunteer work I’ve done have all been exceptionally relevant and applicable in forwarding my career. I’d recommend it to anyone in design looking to connect with other designers. Try something new and make new and wonderful friends!
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
In the future, I’d be really interested in getting to work with the RGD on some of its archival work. We have an amazing database, and I would love to see how I could help the team work to make our database as accessible as possible. I also very much enjoy any chance to give more presentations/pitches/talks to other designers or for related RGD projects, so perhaps being a mentor myself down the road!