At the end of 2013, I had no idea or inclinations, what 2014 would be like. Like everyone else going through life, I have had some major ups and downs. I’ve found someone who loves me and puts up with all of weirdness. I left from working in-house to go back to agency work. I’ve spoken at several Wordcamps and conferences for the first time. I revisited International House of Philadelphia, taking a trip back into the past. I had to say my last goodbyes to my grandfather. I’ve put myself out in the public more than I ever have before. I have taken that long, hard look in the mirror and asked myself tough, honest questions in an effort to align my thoughts and beliefs with my actions. This self-reflection and looking back has been good for me as I continue to progress, professionally and personally, in life.

One event, in particular, that has been extremely gratifying and challenging has been becoming chapter president of AIGA Central PA. In the short amount of time that I have been re-involved with the chapter, I have joined with some amazing people who volunteer their time and share the same passion for design as I do.

I have written about design, this community, and Central Pennsylvania in great detail in many of my past posts. For many of you reading my blog, my posts concerning Central Pennsylvania may have no interest to you. Some of my most popular and well-read posts have been reviews on design tools like Macaw and Affinity Designer or posts where I prod the bear and ask whether designers should know how to code. It’s true; many of my readers in Lancaster, England they couldn’t care less what is happening in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

When I made the resolution last year to blog once a week, I told myself that I would write about what is important regarding design, development, business, and marketing and my perspectives on those topics. I would share great examples of branding, reviews on design trends and tools, advocate for open source solutions and share thoughts and ideas about positions and perspectives on the creative industry. When I became chapter president, some of my posts shifted towards talking about community and I became very mission-driven.

Mission is something that I take very seriously. My friends and colleagues have told me that I take up causes with a load of passion, and to dissuade me from my goals is next to impossible. Many have cautioned me to slow my pace, to avoid burnout and focus my efforts on what is attainable. Their advice is sage and I appreciate having such wise friends who can make sure my balloon-like mind is floating away into the Ether.

Since I have taken up the responsibility of leadership, I have felt a strong sense of duty. I have felt that it is extremely important to empower and enrich the lives of the design community in my area. Usually when I hear or read those words, “empower” and “enrich”, I am usually turned off by them. They can easily become empty words that we see overused in other industries or mission-driven organizations. I want to make sure that my passion for design and our industry is wholly evident and sometimes in my zeal, I do go overboard. I can oversell an idea, I can talk too much, I try to share my view or perspective and hope to transplant that onto others. I can definitely benefit tempering my duty and zeal with more tranquility and accessibility. As my one good friend Derek has put it “Chill the Hell out man. Relax and focus, and it will all come together.”

So as I am learning and growing in my new role with the chapter, I absolutely value and appreciate my fellow board members who have dedicated so much of their time, energy and passion to also see this chapter progress. We are, currently, a small board and we have a lot of duties that overlap. Small is good and but as we grow, we will create best practices that will help the future board members pick up and go with new initiatives on a solid foundation.

I am excited to see what the future holds for AIGA Central PA. I’m also excited to see how we will all progress, and individuals and professionals. While the industry we work has changed immensely in some respects, in just as many others it have remained the same. A demand and appreciation for quality and thoughtful work has been at the core of everything we do; whether it is production work at an agency, meeting with department heads on new projects in-house, buried in thumbnails and CSS for a freelance client or volunteering on a committee to help run a speaking event. Good work is seen, valued and appreciated.

Next year, you’ll see a lot more blog posts from the chapter at AIGA Central PA, and I’ll get back to writing more reviews on tools and prodding the bear some more on this site, but once in a while I’ll some kick ass news about what’s happening in design in my neck of the woods. It’s going to be exciting.

December 26, 2014

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