HeadStart 2013 - First Hires, Junior Designers and How to Advance Your Career


The annual conference offers three types of experiences: Portfolio Reviews, Panel Discussions and Presentations. Participants can get their portfolios reviewed by senior designers and creative directors; pose questions to our panel of industry experts, and listen in on presentations on key career-related topics

The panels centered upon what it's like to be a new employee and offered tips on how to advance your career.

For Getting a Job, our panelists were Karen Satok RGD, Creative Director/Owner at Sputnik; Gilbert Li RGD, Creative Director & Owner of The Office of Gilbert Li; Karen Simpson, Creative Director at Azure, Wendy Gray RGD, Creative Director at Gravity Inc. and David Gee, Director of Creative Services at the Toronto International Film Festival.

These panelists reflected on what it was like for them starting out as Junior Designers and how they found their places in the design industry. One of the key messages here was to offer something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Emerging designers need to demonstrate their ability to create unique, genuine and thoughtful work. Speaking with confidence, showing love for your work and being a team player are all things firms look for in prospective employees.

The Advancing Your Career panelists included Deanne Loft RGD, Senior Designer at Context Creative; Victor Szeto RGD, Senior Designer at Green Living Enterprises; and Joel Derksen Prov. RGD, Designer at Lowe Roche. The panel was moderated by Mandy Gilbert, founder and CEO of Creative Niche.

The advice to getting ahead here was don’t be afraid of hard work. If there is a deadline looming or work on a project that needs to be done, do it. These qualities are what firm owners look for; if you can’t explain your ideas clearly, have a poor work ethic and attitude – you’re not going to get very far.

Other panel discussions included Creativity and Inspiration where Creative Directors shared thoughts on the sources and methods for finding inspiration, and Beyond Design which discussed opportunities outside the traditional roster of design jobs.

To see photos of the event, visit the RGD flickr here.

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