Ottawa 2020 Conference

In an effort to ensure the health and safety of our community, this event has been postponed to September 21, 2020.

For more details, click here.


Location: Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa ON, K1N 0C5

NEW date: Monday, September 21, 2020


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.


Click here for pricing.

Click here for accommodation information.

Click here for the list of confirmed programming.

Have questions? Click here.


Register for the Conference here.

Looking for more professional development? Josh Silverman is offering a workshop on September 22.


Confirmed Programming & Info

  • Alana Ruoso headshot

    How to Elevate Your Value as an In-House Designer

    Presented by Alana Ruoso RGD; Graphics & Creative Manager at Benefit Cosmetics Canada, Success Coach for Designers & Creatives

    As in-house designers, we are not limited. But often we feel limited and question our value. We lose sight of our talents, how much we accomplish, and what we are capable of offering our workplace. It's crucial that we elevate both how we perceive in-house roles and how we present our roles to our coworkers and teams. Ultimately, it is up to us to clearly communicate the value of what we do in a way that is both empowering and authentic.

    In this talk, Alana will help you gain a new, positive perspective on the value you bring to the design community as an in-house designer.


    Takeaways include:

    • Practical tips for building confidence
    • How to effectively communicate what you do and your value to the people you work with daily
    • Clarity on how to use language to your advantage for internal communications, job interviews, resumés and more


    About Alana

    Alana is a Graphic Designer and Creative Strategist with over 20 years of experience in the design industry. Having worked both agency and client-side, and also full-time freelance, Alana brings a wealth of diverse, valuable industry knowledge to the table. Her portfolio includes work for the City of Mississauga, Sobeys, Jamie Oliver for Canada, Harlequin Enterprises, JUNO Awards, Umbra, Rogers Publishing, Mood Media and results-driven entrepreneurs.


    She is currently the Graphics & Creative Manager at Benefit Cosmetics Canada, working on Branding, Digital, PR Events and Visual Merchandising. Alana is also a certified Life & Executive Coach and is committed to helping creatives step into their untapped potential so they can feel confident in their careers.
  • Dawson Guilbeault headshot

    On the Utility of Strange People

    Presented by Dawson Guilbeault; VP, Head of Design at Scotiabank

    The honey bee hive has often been used as a metaphor for a well-managed company. We are envious of how hard-working, orderly, and efficient they are. However, these attributes can also make the hive inflexible and susceptible to disruption. Honey bees, it turns out, have a unique strategy to avoid this: specialized “creative” bees called scouts, who find new sources of food and places to live.


    Given the survival rate of Fortune 500 companies of late, we could learn a few tricks from the honey bee about innovation. In this talk, Dawson argues that designers (especially in-house designers) can play the role of scout bee for companies — and can be a key part of building resilience and securing new and future revenues streams.


    Takeaways include:

    • Arguments for why designers are uniquely positioned to play this role
    • Techniques on how to be great at driving innovation from within
    • How to measure if you’re getting it right


    About Dawson

    Dawson is a design thinker, strategist, and technologist with more than 15 years of experience building digital products. As Head of Design Canada at Scotiabank, he leads an immensely talented and vibrant team of multidisciplinary designers, focused on a human-centred approach to innovation and creating the world’s best financial experiences.


    His approach to design is an intermingling of creative problem solving and empirically driven decision making. In his spare time, he likes to tinker with the occasional algorithm, read (especially sci-fi), play games (especially strategy), and be in the woods with his family.

  • Time: 40-minutes during the lunch break


    At a table of approximately 8 people with one pre-selected discussion leader, roundtable discussions will hone in on certain topics that are relevant to in-house creatives. This is your chance to ask questions and connect with fellow designers.


    At a table of approximately 8 people, skillshares will feature a 25-minute presentation and 15-minute Q&A period, led by a pre-selected attendee, on a topic that is relevant to in-house designers. This is your chance to learn a new skill or gain additional knowledge.


    **Interested in leading a roundtable discussion or skillshare? Attendees can apply to lead either activity (apply on your registration form)! Selected attendees will be retroactively given 20% off their registration.

  • Kelly Rusk headshot

    Adaptability as Your Differentiator

    Presented by Kelly Rusk; Digital Consultant & Virtual Marketing Director

    How can you ensure you continually remain an asset to your organization while accelerating your own career and success? By making adaptability your key differentiator. Embracing change and becoming a change agent in your organization and contributing to a culture that sets your organization up for success.


    Kelly's talk will help you to:

    • Contribute to and create a culture that is performance driven and accountable
    • Adopt a growth mindset and apply it to your work
    • Focus on mentorship and knowledge sharing to grow your influence
    • Create a culture of transparency and openness around feedback to encourage healthy communication


    About Kelly

    As an expert in all forms of digital communication and with a wealth of experience that includes digital, social, advertising and communications, Kelly is an expert at understanding and directing modern marketing strategies that perform. This includes training and skills development and working directly with clients and teams to find the best marketing solutions for their business.


    Kelly brings a diverse background in marketing and communications with leadership track record in a marketing communications agency environment. Having worked on both the client and agency side, Kelly knows how to act as an extension of a marketing team and create strategies that provide actionable results.

    Kelly is also a sought-after digital marketing speaker and trainer and currently is an instructor in Digital Marketing Certificate program at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.

  • Kyle Schruder RGD headshot

    Intensify Your In-House Influence

    Presented by Kyle Schruder RGD; Director of Design at Coactuate

    An in-house career offers a chance to build a unique skill set that sets you apart from the pack. More and more companies today are looking to hire “unicorns” that are not only experts in design but can also work cross-functionally and provide value across their organization. By taking on challenges outside of your comfort zone, you can build capabilities that make you invaluable to your organization and beyond.


    Kyle’s talk will help you to:

    • See Identify career paths beyond the traditional “designer-to-art director”
    • Apply the design process to collaborate add value across your organization
    • Understand how being flexible with your role will set you up for success as you grow into a leader
    • Establish yourself as an in-house leader and have an impact far beyond a traditional designer role


    About Kyle

    Kyle Schruder RGD leads the design practice at Coactuate, a strategic consultancy focused on supporting healthcare leaders to navigate complex change. He has over a decade of editorial design experience and has made the transition from agency work to leading design in-house at strategic consultancies. As a member of the RGD, Kyle acts as a mentor to junior designers, an awards judge, and a reviewer in portfolio reviews.

  • 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
  • Josh Silverman headshot

    How to People

    Presented by Josh Silverman; Design Leader, Educator and Entrepreneur

    Modern corporate practices – from the interview & onboarding process to workplace design – don’t always allow individuals to flourish, and they can block interdisciplinary teams from collaborating. However, it’s still possible to achieve successful outcomes by focusing on relationships.

    In his talk, Josh will discuss the significance and persistence of relationships, and the power of collaboration. By sharing “war stories” and alternate takes (with better outcomes), he will unpack best practices for team configuration: how to best solve common problems and navigate team dynamics at various stages of business or organization.

    Takeaways include:

    • Understanding the importance and persistence of relationships, beyond projects and companies
    • Acknowledging what it means to practice creativity as a subjective, opinionated human
    • Means and methods to navigate conflict, and remain closest to co-creation and learning
    • Activities and behaviors to optimize fragmented relationships and teams


    About Josh

    For 25 years, Josh Silverman has created successful relationships through design. He speaks and hosts workshops globally, teaches and guest critiques nationally, and is always connecting people and communities. He is currently consulting in design operations, with clients such as NYU, Clockwise, Salesforce, and Blend, and coaching design leaders. Recently, he advised startups inside Sequoia Design Lab, served as Twitter’s first hire in design operations, and was one of the founding designers of the IBM Cloud Garage.

    In 1997 he founded Schwadesign where he managed diverse teams and scaled the business for 18 years. Together, their work was recognized by The Wall Street Journal,, The Boston Globe, and more.

  • Roy Levine headshot

    Improving Your In-House Experience

    Presented by Roy Levine, Managing Partner of Agency Inside

    In-housing is one of the hottest trends in marketing and communications. What challenges are facing creatives who work in-house? What do the bosses think about you?


    Roy shares the latest information relevant to the hands-on practitioners responsible for doing the work in-house. Roy provides the latest data around the growth of in-housing, its trajectory and how creative and design professionals can shape their in-house department so that it is both rewarding for themselves and their peers, and unstoppable for their organization.

    Takeaways include:

    • Learn comparative statistics to leverage improvements in your in-house agency
    • How to get more juicy projects on your plate, and manage the ones that scare you
    • Uncover five ideas that will improve your in-house experience starting tomorrow


    About Roy

    Roy started his career at powerhouse multi-national agencies Leo Burnett and BBDO. He launched some of Canada’s most successful new brands including Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Bars, Tostitos Chips and Salsa, Bridgestone Blizzak Tires and Cash For Life Lottery.


    Roy began his next chapter helping charities make the world a better place. He became a partner in a digital marketing firm to work exclusively with non-profits, before eventually starting-up again, now with his own “for good” agency called Purpose.

    In the past 3 years, he took a keen interest in the shift towards in-housing and started a consultancy called Agency Inside. He works with marketers on the process, technology and resourcing requirements that allow in-house agencies and design shops to thrive.

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


    RGD Member - Early Bird $195.00 (after March 13, $245)

    Non-Member - Early Bird $263.25 (after March 13, $330.75)

    Group Rate (per person) - Early Bird $234 (after March 13, $294)**

    Non-Member Special $420*** (includes Affiliate Membership for 12 months & access to video presentations)


    *Pricing is in Canadian dollars. Click here for the US exchange rate.
    **A Group registration is defined as a Non-Member attending In-House as part of a group of three or more individuals from the same company.

    ***Offer valid for new members only.

  • Novotel Ottawa


    18/03/20 — We are currently working with the Novotel Ottawa to secure new dates given the conference date change. The information below is inaccurate at this time.


    $169.00/night* for April 23 and 24

    Booking name: Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD)

    Booking code: 964452

    Book online here or by phone at 1-855-677-3033. *Offer valid until March 23.

  • Sponsor


    Green Power Supplier

    Bullfrog Power logo






    Photography Sponsor

    Peter de Gannes Design

  • Please email Rebecca at