In-House Panel: Playing Nice with Others

Join our panel of in-house design leaders as we discuss how to build collaborative relationships with other departments such as finance, HR and IT. We’ll explore the importance of cross-disciplinary relationships and why designers are ideally suited to be conduits for collaboration enterprise-wide.


Key takeaways include: identifying who on your team is best suited to foster cross-functional relationships, how to overcome objections to working with other departments and how to leverage new-found partnerships to impact everything from positioning to product development.



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.



Leland Maschmeyer, Chobani

Leland is the Chief Creative Officer of Chobani. Fast Company twice ranked Chobani as one of the most innovative companies in the world. Fortune cited it as a "Brand that Matters" and selected it for its "Brands Changing the World" list.

Adweek recognized Leland as a "Young Influential;" Campaign Magazine honored him as a "Global 30 Under 30;" HOW Magazine named him one of the "Most Influential Designers" working today; Graphic Design USA selected him to its "People to Watch" list. In 2016, Forbes named COLLINS — the design consultancy Leland co-founded and ran as CCO — as an agency defining the future of brand building. That same year, Fast Company chose his team's global redesign of Instagram as the year's best. The previous year, Fast Company, Wired, and Design Week also named his global redesign of Spotify as the year's best. In 2015, Forbes praised his team's music video for Azealia Banks as "the future of music videos." In 2008, he worked with ​US Vice President Al Gore to launch ​WE, the climate change campaign that influenced US Federal policy. His work has earned honors from Cannes, D&AD, One Show, Art Directors Club, Type Directors Club, Webbys, Fast Company, AICP, Effies, 4As, Graphis, Communication Arts, among others. His algorithm-derived typographic work is also included in the MoMA's permanent collection. 

A sought-out speaker, Leland frequently speaks across the globe: Adobe Summit, Adobe Max, Mexico's Ministry of Economics, SXSW, Yale School of Architecture, Princeton, The New York Times, IBM, Mattel, Museum of Art & Design, HOW-Dieline, Design Management Institute, RGD, AIGA, and the New Zealand CEO Summit, among others. 

A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts MFA program, Leland teaches “Systems Design” and “Designer as Entrepreneur.” He also serves on the advisory board of NOMI Network—an organization dedicated to ending modern slavery.


Kelly Nicoll, PwC Canada

As the Senior Creative Lead of PwC Canada, Kelly focuses on creating and facilitating objectives-driven design that tells stories, engages viewers and drives business. She preaches the idea of brand as more than a series of elements or a system of creation, but as a tool to establish identity, make connections and set the tone before we even enter a room.
Kelly has been with the firm for 18 years and, over that time, she's seen the design approach shift from paper-based, regionally-focussed one-off deliverables to nationally integrated, digitally-delivered multi-channel projects. Kelly works with a team of four talented designers and a UX specialist (also talented) to develop and execute creative across multiple channels for all external marketing campaigns in Canada. They take a team-based, collaborative approach; working alongside writers, digital channel managers, social media specialists, video producers, sales drivers and marketers, to develop consistent, engaging and impactful issues-based content, delivering it in whichever channel the target prefers.
Kelly lives with her cat in Vancouver's Chinatown and enjoys travel, snowboarding, karaoke and photography. She has a degree in Economics, if you want to talk about marginal cost structures—but she'd rather discuss the personality of typefaces and the joys of public transit.


Mark CohenTD Wealth

Mark is the Senior Manager of Creative, Production & Digital for the Strategic and Editorial Content group in the TD Wealth division of TD Bank. With his guidance, TD became the first Canadian bank to use video on the web in 1998.

Mark manages an in-house team that delivers digital content, content used both internally by staff and externally by clients. Recent projects he has led include the creation of an in-house video production studio, a market news video website,, and the launch of MoneyTalk Life, a new digital personal finance publication.


Emineh Babayan RGD, Ipsos Canada

Emineh currently leads the design team at Ipsos Canada. She is involved in the organizational planning of the in-house design team at Ipsos and is helping create and implement a design process for the client services teams on how to work with creatives. Emineh regularly takes part in ideation sessions, working with internal clients to deliver outstanding communications and design to external clients.


Emineh has been specializing in the Market Research industry for over 9 years, mainly focusing on information and experience design, corporate branding, identity and editorial design. Previously, she has worked as an Art Director at In-sync Consumer Insights Corp.