In-House Panel: What makes an efficient/organized in-house design team?


Moderated by Wendy Millard RGD with panelists Lindsay Robertson, Gordon McLean RGD and Mirela Zdjelaric RGD


Join our panelists as they discuss the internal and external processes an in-house team needs to be successful and how to effectively invest in strategic relationships and your team.


The panelists will answer questions that include:
- How is an effective in-house design team structured? Do you have different roles/job profiles?

- What is your biggest pain point as an in-house team with keeping things efficient and organized and what are you doing about it? How do you ensure you maintain communication with your colleagues across internal and external teams?

- How do you approach the ideation process when facing a new project? Can you describe how you determine roles and responsibilities of a project in its early stages?

- Has the type of in-house work changed enough that you feel you need to change the roles and responsibilities of your within your design team? Do you plan or wish to expand and create new roles to manage the work?

- How does establishing strategic relationships strengthen and motivate your team?



Moderated by:

Wendy Millard RGD, Empire Life

Wendy has an extensive background in design and design management. She thrives on pushing for change, adopting new tools and designing the process in which to engage and collaborate with in-house graphic designers. She's not afraid to identify gaps and promote better ways of working in order for her team to do their best work. Being responsible for a massive to do list can either be complete chaos or a a well run machine and she actively promotes ways to to keep things running smoothly! With over 20 years of experience, she has led several design rebrands in the technology and financial services sectors. She is an advisory board member  for St. Lawrence College Graphic Design Program and currently manages the Empire Life Design Services team. Wendy’s formula for successful in-house design is to build a collaborative process with our business partners to deliver high quality, timely and award-winning work.



Lindsay Robertson, WestJet

Like many people, Lindsay wasn’t quite sure how to approach the task of writing a bio–go for a whimsical tone, or just the facts? She scanned the web to see how others had approached it (call this her bio-curious phase), and then remembered, “I manage WestJet’s Creative Services team”, so she got one of her writers to do it. Fully aware of how his professional bread gets buttered, that writer would like you to know that Lindsay manages WestJet’s Creative Services team with a rare and fine combination of skill, panache and humanity–all rendered on brand, and always with the right amount of teal.


Gordon McLean RGD, Husky

Gordon studied Graphic Design, Computer Graphics and Photography at Sheridan Collage. With over 20 years of experience practicing design, Gordon began his career with several Toronto design firms before joining the internal team at Husky Injection Molding, a global industrial company specializing in advanced engineered solutions for the injection molding industry.


Today he is responsible for the global brand and creative direction for the organization. His work encompasses a wide range of design disciplines from the nuances of brand positioning to the creative overview of tradeshow environments as large as 12,000 sq. ft. plus all of the political navigation in between.


Mirela Zdjelaric RGD, MirelaZ

Mirela is a creative dynamo with more than 17 years of graphic design experience, including 12 years working as an in-house designer. In her corporate roles, Mirela has worked for big companies and small, public and privately-owned, global and Canadian. She previously worked as a Senior Graphic Designer at Sentry Investments where she won an Award of Distinction for her work on their Employee Welcome Book as part of RGD's 2016 In-House Design Awards. Through her wide range of experiences, Mirela has learned what it takes to create an effective design team and has gained a real appreciation for how the structure of clear and well-defined processes can help…without taking the “creative” out of design.