Volunteer of the Month for June 2022

The RGD thanks Rupsha Mutsuddi Provisional RGD for her contributions to the RGD community. 


In a short time, Rupsha has made so many valuable contributions to the RGD — from leading the Student Committee to her hands-on participation on the DesignThinkers 2021 Steering Committee to her involvement with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Rupsha's willingness to thoughtfully share her own experiences and perspectives has helped shape many student and Member initiatives. She is an absolute dream to work with and might be one of the most remarkable student volunteers I've ever encountered. I am so thrilled to have her continuing to volunteer with the RGD as a Provisional RGD Member and can’t wait to watch her career unfold." — Nicola Hamilton RGD, RGD President 


"Rupsha has provided a tremendous amount of support to the RGD, way beyond her publicly-listed official roles. She is always there to provide fresh insights or helpful resources and offer support to various teams whenever needed. She has been wonderful to work with on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and in starting up the BIPOC Designers virtual community. We are very grateful for her tireless efforts and contributions to the RGD." — Xandr Sutjiadi RGD, Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee


How long have you been volunteering with the RGD, and in what capacity?

I’ve been volunteering with the RGD since Fall 2019. I was a Member of the Student Committee as a first-year design student. In my second year, I became Co-Chair of the Student Committee and a Member of the RGD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

I was also part of the 2020 DesignThinkers Steering Committee and helped with programming for the conference. Currently, I’m transitioning into the Co-Chair role for the Provisional Committee following graduation.


What contribution are you most proud of?

My very first initiative as Co-Chair of the Student Committee was the #HeyRGD initiative. It was a mammoth of a project to organize and lead but it taught me many important lessons and allowed me to become comfortable with thinking of myself as a leader (something I’ve always struggled with being an introvert). I’m also really proud of the work we did, it’s opened up avenues for emerging designers across the country to connect with industry professionals. 


What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?

As a student, there’s a lot of focus on technical skills and portfolio building. Which, don’t get me wrong are really important. But I’ve always believed design is a team sport. So soft skills like taking initiative, working with other people and communicating effectively are just as important in my mind as having a really good portfolio. This is what the RGD helped me hone. Working on volunteer projects helped me develop these soft skills and this became an asset as I take my first steps as a professional in the design industry.


What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?

I’ve learned so much, that it’s difficult to sum it up into words but I’ll do my best. On the practical side I learned a lot of information that helped bolster my early design practice. Being a part of the Student Committee, we had guest speakers that shared their early design journey as well as helpful tips for emerging designers. I’ve tried to follow this advice and I’m grateful we were given this one-on-one time with senior professionals.


On the more idealistic side, I’ve really been inspired by everyone I’ve come across through my RGD connections; whether that be speakers at conferences, mentors through the mentorship program or even fellow volunteers. I have a notebook filled with all of these influences and I always refer back to it anytime I need a shot of inspiration.

Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?

At its core, the RGD is about community. There are so many ways the RGD strives to foster connection amongst designers from all walks of life and experience levels. I also admire the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. There have been many positive changes that I’ve been excited to see in that realm and the RGD has always been at the forefront of championing and celebrating those.


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’m sure other volunteers will have said this too but you get so much more than what you put in. I know as an emerging designer time is scarce and the idea of becoming involved in a professional organization may seem scary, but it is 100% worth it. Besides all the great things I mentioned, it also just made me very comfortable with networking. I don’t think networking has to be a scary thing; it can just be as simple as having a conversation and asking questions. Volunteering with the RGD really helped me connect with people who gave me great advice and took a genuine interest in my career. Because this was my second career, I wanted to make sure I did my research and found my own niche within the industry. As a junior designer, obviously I don’t have all the answers, yet. But I know as I grow throughout my career my involvement with the RGD will bolster my growth and allow me to connect with people and keep searching for those answers.


Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?

I’m very excited to be a part of the Provisional Committee and look forward to helping support programs that will be beneficial to emerging designers. I’m also entering grad school at York in the Fall of ‘22 and look forward to hopefully being able to teach someday. Therefore, I just have a vested interest in helping the next generation of designers and “paying it forward.” I would love to be involved in any programs, initiatives, etc. that help me achieve that goal.


Rupsha Mutsuddi Provisional RGD is a multidisciplinary graphic designer who is passionate about branding, editorial design, design for social good and UI/UX. Her work is driven by a strong focus on storytelling and a holistic research methodology. She holds an Honours Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto and will be pursuing a Master of Design at York University in Fall 2022.