Volunteer of the Month for October

The RGD thanks Gopika Rajendran Provisional RGD for her contributions to the RGD community.


"From the moment she joined the Student Committee, Gopika has showed an amazing commitment to supporting the RGD and bettering the experience of the emerging designers. Her suggestions are always thoughtful, considered and backed up by a willingness to make them happen. We look forward to seeing her grow in her role as Co-chair of the Provisional Committee." — Hilary Ashworth, RGD Executive Director


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

I started volunteering with the RGD as a student in 2018 and later joined the Student Committee. After graduating, I became a Member of the Provisional Committee and am now transitioning to the role of Co-Chair for the Committee and representing Provisional Members on the RGD Board of Directors. I am also involved with other sub-committees as part of our initiatives for Provisional RGDs.


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

I have had many proud moments while volunteering with the RGD, but the one that stands out is my involvement with DesignThinkers 2022. I helped organize and conceptualize content for students and educators and moderated a few roundtables and panel discussions. Seeing how everything came together and participants found value in what we curated was definitely a proud moment. The whole process was a wonderful learning experience.


What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
An amazing recent surprise was being asked to Co-Chair the Provisional Committee. I have to say that when I started volunteering as a student, I was new to Canada and everything was so intimidating. I was genuinely amazed that every time I shared my ideas/suggestions/concerns, they were always valued regardless of my lack of experience and knowledge. I felt seen and welcomed thanks so many Members and the RGD staff. I knew then that I had made the right decision getting involved with the RGD.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
The RGD is an extensive and primary source for all things related to graphic design in Canada — advocacy, events, resources, inspiration and networking. The Association also champions creating an inclusive and diverse space for all, while setting industry standards to help designers be valued and treated fairly.
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?
Being new to Canada, volunteering with the RGD, most importantly, helped me develop a sense of belonging. The resources and mentorships helped me gain confidence and progress in my career. For anyone thinking about getting involved — do it! You will meet great people and make amazing connections, have your voice heard. And it's a great feeling to give back to the community.
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
I am really excited about taking on the role of Co-chair and am looking forward to helping out with future initiatives. I am currently helping with the upcoming DesignThinkers programming and I would love to get more involved with local events as those are coming back.
Gopika Rajendran Provisional RGD is a multi-disciplinary designer specializing in packaging and digital design with a keen interest in typography, illustration and motion. She currently works at Loblaw Companies Ltd. as a senior designer. Her curiosity and passion for visual storytelling have led her to work and train in various creative fields, from design to films.