Bagels, Donuts and Tequila: An AIGA Jacksonville Local Board Retreat

With each passing year comes a set of goal-initiated challenges, both new and familiar, that are systematically taken in, completely deconstructed and reassembled with a uniquely fresh outlook. This rejuvenating perspective is the product of a group of motivated individuals from different walks of life and experience linked together by an unwavering dedication to design, and brought together to make up the AIGA Jacksonville Board.

Over the past year, the board worked with relentless aspirations of igniting the excitement within its membership while placing an emphasis on community impact and awareness through design thinking and action. After a notable year of diversely expanded and meticulously assembled programming events and series, the board reconvened for its annual Local Board Retreat to prepare for new goals, challenges and an overall intention to make the most out of the upcoming 2011 calendar year.

On July 31, 2010, there was no sleeping in for this group following a night of fun, excitement and Krung Fu action where Stephanie “Iron Sketch” Soden eloquently pulled through, moving on to the next round in the competition, with a hard fought and nerve battling victory over Patrick “The Blend Swordsman” Carter in the intense 45 minute design duel. On this, the following morning, the board, comprised of leadership veterans and some brand new faces, came together over bagels, donuts and a jumpstart shot of tequila to assess the road ahead for design’s role in Jacksonville and how AIGA is going to be the force that strengthens that role. After having sleeplessly prepared for this annual event, our local chapter President, Varick Rosete, with a wide smile across his face, took the helm of the conference table deep within the aesthetically pleasing offices of Renaissance Creative, and introductions were underway kicking off the tone for the full day of dialogue, planning and preparation.

Energy was high, and everyone’s passion was evident. Coupled with some comically entertaining icebreaker moments, everyone laid down what they felt they could give/get from working within the leadership of the AIGA chapter. A few things were consistent across the board. One thing that everyone seemed to receive was a feeling of belonging and inspiration brought on by those that surrounded them. The deeply rooted connections and genuine respect for one another was evident as, one by one, members credited the impact that AIGA has made in their lives—each determined to make a difference by giving complete dedication toward the continued betterment of the local chapter and the Jacksonville community as a whole. Chapter vets, Karen Kurycki, Patrick Carter and Ashley Hazen then led the dialogue to the primary focus of the upcoming year, getting further involved with the community through cross-pollination of design thinking in the many different aspects of the business community throughout Jacksonville, by speaking on their inspired accounts from a recent trip to Chattanooga, TN for the AIGA National Leadership Retreat.

It was game time from this moment on. The intention was planted and drive toward action was underway. The board teamed up into groups to do a complete deconstruction of individual events, analyzing their many aspects, pitfalls and potential to be utilized as tools toward the 2011 initiative. Each group presented a detailed overview from these dynamic brainstorming sessions that continued to energize and excite the room, as well as the dialogue. Everyone was intently engaged. The multitude of creative perspectives coming together brought about a directional evolution to each of the staple programs discussed. It was clear at this point that design thinking could easily transcend the boundaries and challenges that lay ahead in the upcoming year. When passion for something such as design finds a vehicle, like AIGA and it’s like-minded members, to drive it in a direction for positive and progressive impact, all obstacles become opportunities.

Like with any creative development, work became play. Ideas and propositions became intertwined with jokes and friendly conversation. Things were getting done, and they were getting done well. Everyone was there because we wanted to be. This organization had become a staple in every one of our lives, and camaraderie within the board is the resulting lovechild of such a combination. The mood of the room was comfortable, as everyone felt good about the seeds planted for the upcoming year. Our 10am – 4pm, Saturday session was coming to a close, but the energy was only building from a full day together, and the dialogue continued on at The European St. Café.

Afterwards, many came out and let loose in what somehow became a 6-hour karaoke session at Austin Karaoke. If this day is the precursor to the rest of the year, and the years to come, it’s going to be chalk full of inspiration, impact and many great and unforgettable times.

– Jim, membership co-director

By aigajacksonville
Published August 13, 2010