Volunteer of the Month for November 2022

The RGD thanks Lionel Gadoury RGD for his contributions to the RGD community.


"Volunteering alongside Lionel at the RGD was a big inspiration for me when I first started my design career 15 years ago. He has a wonderful, infectious optimism and seemingly boundless energy. His latest accomplishment with the RGD (shared with the fantastic team at Context) is the great work being done on our new website. I can’t wait to share it with our Members." — Julian Brown RGD, Chair, RGD Design Committee. 


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

Industry colleagues inspired me to volunteer with the RGD more than 15 years ago. I was elected to the Board and took on the role of Treasurer in 2006. In 2009, I became the President and served for 5 rewarding years in that capacity. I was also honoured to serve as the President of the RGD Exam Board (predecessor to the RGD’s Certification Committee). Most recently, volunteering has become a team endeavour for Context Creative, as we are currently working diligently and creatively with the RGD staff and the Board to evolve the RGD website design and user experience.


What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?

There is a saying “teamwork makes the dream work” and it’s the way that the Association continues to advance, year after year, while always staying true to its mandate that shines brightest. The RGD’s success is a reflection of its deeply committed staff and countless Member volunteers who step up at every level, including the elected Board and Directors who donate time, expertise and leadership that then becomes the groundwork for others to build upon.


For me, beyond the thrill of participating in the annual DesignThinkers Conferences, highlights of my tenure include the first-ever RGD Accessible Design Conference which resulted in the Accessability Handbook in 2010; representing the RGD internationally at the 2011 IDA Congress in Taipei; and the evolution of the RGD Certification Process, including establishing the evaluation model that is based upon statistical analytics of practising industry peers who have previously completed Certification.


What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
The openness to ideas, collaborative spirit and commitment to professionalism that I’ve seen and experienced, in addition to just how inspiring it is to be a part of a community that brings together creative thinkers and doers from around the world is amazing.


What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
Not everyone has been as welcoming of the RGD, nor as willing to make way for new ideas or to find common ground for doing good. However, through positive actions and perseverance, we continue to grow support for shared values, policies and programs that are beneficial to our industry across Canada and internationally.


Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
The RGD is not just about professional certification, nor is it a club for elites. It’s about working hard for the collective good, having an impact and achieving results. The RGD is also a reflection of Canada — highly diverse and focused on getting things done. Giving voice to passions and inspirations, raising awareness and gaining respect for professional standards and accreditation are hallmarks of the RGD and its Members.


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?
In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew”. Our industry of communications and design unites skills of creativity, curiosity, strategic thinking and story-telling with abilities to reach and engage others through ever-changing media and technologies. And yet, despite the immense power and need for responsible and effective design and communications, our profession is less understood or acknowledged than architecture, engineering, law or accounting. As creative thinkers and doers, we can help each other, our clients, society and the planet by being the best possible crew members on spaceship earth. Volunteering with the RGD feeds a bigger mission and being involved is the reward.


Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
After stepping back somewhat and appreciating how the RGD continuously progresses by making way for new leadership, I haven’t given much thought as to how I might contribute further in the future. Perhaps, as my own career and business demands allow me to transition, there might be new opportunities for me to bring together my love of travel with doing more to represent the RGD and the goals of professional certification beyond the Canadian borders.