RGD In-House Conference
Vancouver 2019 Conference

Whether you're an in-house design department of one or part of a creative team that spans multiple offices around the world, RGD's In-House Design Conference has much to offer you. Through workshops, presentations and networking opportunities, the conference is designed to enhance your skills, build your value to your team and provide you with tactics to advance the strategic role of design within your organization.


Date: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Location: Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings St, Vancouver

View the Conference schedule here!


Gold Sponsor

Mitchell Press logo






Silver Sponsor

FunctionFox logo









  • Price includes full day of programming, continental breakfast, buffet lunch with optional roundtable discussions and 2 coffee breaks.

    *Pricing is in Canadian dollars. Click here for the US exchange rate.


    Regular (after Nov. 8)

    RGD Member: $245

    Non-Member: $330.75

    Group (per person)*: $294


    Non-Member Special

    $420 (includes Affiliate Membership for 12 months & access to video recordings of presentations)


    *Group registrant is defined as a Non-Member attending the Conference as part of a group of three or more individuals from the same organization.



    The St. Regis Hotel

    602 Dunsmuir St (approx. 5 minute walk to Conference)

    Queen: $209 | 2 Doubles: $229 | King: $239

    *rates are valid for December 2 and 3 only. Reservations must be made by Nov 2 to qualify for rate.


    Call 604.681.1135 (toll-free 1.800.770.7929 or email , use "RGD GROUP RATE" when making reservation.


  • Presentation Session: The Art & Science of Pitching the Business Value of Design

    Presented by Patañjali Chary, Head of Product & Service Design at TriNet

    How do you pitch the business value of design not only to your CEO but also to your clients?  How can you successfully describe to them the value that great design can bring not only to their current projects, but also to their overall business?  In this session you will learn how to quantify and pitch the value of design in improving overall business value.


    Takeaways include:

    • How to quantify the business value of design beyond typical ROI measures
    • How to pitch the value of great design so business leaders will just grasp it
    • Some simple checklists, and techniques that you can use in this process


    About Patañjali

    Patañjali has several decades of experience as an experience design lead and executive design leader in several leading enterprise software firms large and small.  His main interests today are around bringing design, capital and data science together in innovative ways.  He gained his B.Sc. Hons from the University of Toronto in Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence, and is an HCI alumni of the Dynamic Graphics Projects Lab.  He holds dual-MBAs from Columbia Business School, and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.  He's also a Certified Natural Chef who in his spare time conducts unique pop-up food experiences throughout the world - just for fun!

  • Presentation Session: Exist Loudly: Building an Empowered In-House Culture

    Presented by Stephen Gates, Host, The Crazy One podcast, International keynote speaker

    Let’s be honest, your company is dysfunctional, you aren’t sure where your career is going and you never admit to any of those problems in public. Creative people have the opportunity to affect business in ways we haven’t seen since the Industrial Revolution yet too many of us don’t know how to get our voice heard, demonstrate the value of our teams or get a seat at the leadership table. In this session, Stephen Gates will share the challenges, insights, and solutions he has seen as part of the world’s largest study of design maturity done by InVision and has implemented with some of the world’s best design teams as the Head Design Evangelist.


    Takeaways include:

    • A look at the psychological trends that keep people from being more creative
    • How to spot and confront the cultural barriers that exist in every company
    • Actionable insights that will help you and your team elevate the impact of the design in your company


    About Stephen

    Stephen is currently the Head Design Evangelist at InVision where he works as a strategic partner to 100% of the world’s Fortune 100 brands to elevate the business impact of design through education, coaching and thought leadership. He previously worked at McCann Erickson, Citi and Starwood Hotels building teams that created award-winning global advertising campaigns, multiple Fortune 100 brands, and innovative digital experiences. His app design has been named as one of the World's 100 Greatest Apps, HOW Magazine named him #17 on the 100 of the most talented and influential creatives working today, Apple has featured his work in 10 keynotes and more. He shares what he has learned through his speaking engagements and The Crazy One podcast which is an in-depth exploration of issues that matter to creatives including leadership, creativity, career development, innovation and more.

  • Design is about humans. We are taught to solve problems and be human-centric in our thinking and execution. Design can be so much more than just the physical product of art, product and creation – it can inform how one sees problems in seemingly unrelated spaces such as commerce and leadership. In her talk, Charmaine describes her journey from art direction to Executive Leadership and what she learned about herself and design along the way.


    Takeaways include:

    • Providing a perspective on how to manage career growth into leadership or a new industry
    • Recognizing how the fundamentals of design are applicable outside of the creative field
    • Understanding the role of design thinking leadership within an agency or in-house environment and how it can inform consumer-centric strategies


    About Charmaine

    For 17 years, Charmaine has worked across advertising, in-house design and transitioned into Brand Management, Marketing Management and Executive Leadership of Marketing and E-commerce where she has led high performing teams of all sizes. She has had the privilege to forge and lead brand partnerships with some of the world’s major brands, including Nike, adidas, New Balance, Converse, Reebok, Arcteryx, The North Face, Patagonia, Black Diamond and Garmin. She hails from South Africa having recently moved to Canada with her family. Charmaine is a big advocate of coaching and mentoring and runs a Mentorship Circle for Women which includes individuals who live across the world and actively coaches individuals looking to grow in their careers. She is still a designer at heart with a great love for David Carson, Ferran Adria, Bjarke Ingels, Paula Scher and ampersands.


  • With each technological advancement throughout history, the role of the designer has changed. One of the biggest questions facing the design industry today is whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) will serve to augment our skill as designers, or just replace our role within companies. In his talk, John explores how in-house designers can utilize AI to maximize efficiency, creativity and learning.


    Takeaways include:

    • Providing you with an understanding of how AI based platforms could affect your job in the coming years
    • Breaking through both the hype and the hysteria about what AI can (and cannot) do
    • Understanding what areas of your job need to adapt to this new technology


    About John

    For 30 years, John has worked closely with organizations of all sizes – from entrepreneurial start-ups to global leaders. His experience spans a broad range of brand image and identity programs, as well as the communications and marketing initiatives that bring brands to life. Prior to founding Projektor, John held executive creative leadership positions at some of Canada’s leading design consultancies including Karacters Design Group and Ove Brand | Design. He has overseen branding initiatives for BMO, Milestones Grill + Bar, Purolator, Stratford Festival, Queen’s University and Shoppers Drug Mart.

  • Roundtable discussions, moderated by senior professionals, are an opportunity to meet other attendees while discussing issues and topics that are of interest to you as an in-house creative.


    Discussion topics include:

    • Communicating your value in-house
    • Leading in-house teams
    • Tips for productivity and project management

    and more!

  • In small groups, you'll discuss relevant in-house problems and explore their potential solutions. Solutions will be analyzed with the larger Conference group to encourage further learning, problem solving and knowledge sharing. 


    Case studies will cover:

    • Ethical concerns
    • Teamwork/delegation issues
    • Difficult internal clients
    • Managing large teams/workloads
    • Approaching unique or challenging briefs
    • Feeling uninspired or burnout
  • Workshop Session: Are you Tragically Competent?

    Presented by Robert Smith RGD, Owner & Creative Director at Greenmelon

    Stuck in a rut. Is everything you do familiar? In this busy world of communications, we are constantly scrambling for a great solution in a short amount of time. We tend to default to a comfortable solution that won't offend anyone and will get approved easily. I call these solutions "Tragically Competent." They are so familiar that they are ignored; there's nothing wrong with them, but there is nothing right.

    In this engaging presentation, Robert breaks down the creative process into simple steps to ensure that you can achieve an interesting solution in an easily tracked period of time.


    Takeaways include:

    • How to approach every new project with a fresh perspective
    • How to lead instead of follow on a project
    • How to embrace the "pencils before pixels" principle

    About Robert

    Owner and creative director of Ottawa-based branding agency Greenmelon Inc., industry leader Robert Smith RGD is a respected author, professor and a founding member of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD). Described as equal parts stand-up comedian, teacher and preacher, he is a popular speaker for such events as DesignThinkers, in-house design conferences, design workshops, webinars and podcasts. During his more than 25 years in the industry, his clients have included the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Warner Brothers, DC Comics and the Royal Canadian Mint. In 2017, he published his first book, The Frankenstein Condition, which deals with self-awareness and self-esteem in the world of social media. His soon to be released second book, Stop Looking for Zebras, is an exploration of the creative process in business.

  • Kick off the Conference by coming out for a drink with fellow attendees and speakers!


    Date: Monday, December 2, 2019

    Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

    Location: 131 Water Kitchen & Bar, Vancouver, V6B 4M3

    Pricing: RGD Member: $7.00 + tax; Non-Member: $10.00 + tax

    *Tickets for this event can be purchased during Conference registration.

  • Robert Smith RGD delivers two insightful and engaging workshops on honing your creative process.


    Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2019

    Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Location: TBA, Vancouver

    Full details available here.

    *Tickets for these workshops can be purchased during Conference registration.

  • "I left the conference with a renewed excitement for what I do for a living, and better sense of what I want for the future."

    "I feel seen and heard, and for the first time, appreciated and supported."

    "It was easy to demonstrate the relevance of this conference to my employer and get their support on attending."

    "I liked the opportunity to meet others in similar design teams. It was great to talk about the similar challenges we face."