From the Desk: Lead by Collaboration
I stood behind a skirted folding table as a student volunteer manning the pop-up-bar at an AIGA event. Creatives of all levels filed through the (then) Modis building, eagerly awaiting Rich Roat (of House Industries) to take the stage. That night, I got my first taste of the experience to come.

This wasn’t my first AIGA Jacksonville event. No, that would have been months prior for the annual bowling edition of Cocktails and Creatives (C&C), followed by a number of others, including the second annual Always Summer Poster Show and the first annual Designers in Toyland. Not my first AIGA experience by several months but my first glimpse behind the curtain of these creative events and the team putting them all together, the board of directors. It was inconceivable that volunteering as a college student just to cover the price of admission would lead me where I find myself today, five years later accepting the roll of chapter president, passed-down from Karen Kuryki.

It should be noted, an undeniable theme leading to this point for me, one I’m sure past presidents from this and all chapters alike might share, is the inability to successfully champion the word, no. (But, I call into question anyone in a position of leadership that makes claim to have never said yes without reserve when confronted by request or offering to take on a new challenge.)

Progressing to a position of leadership was never the intention or goal, it just panned out that way. For me, a student turned in-house designer, the intention remained that of collaboration. Being a board member is being a part of a team. A like-minded group of people just looking for the next project or creative muse to work toward, bringing ideas to light that would have otherwise been simply labeled ambitious and placed on the back-burner indefinitely. The ventures weren’t self-indulgent or a prospect of financial incentive … no, the intention has remained that of creating an experience for all those willing and curious to take part.

The people that find themselves on the board are a particular type of driven. Between work, freelance, friends and family, these volunteers make time to support those beside them in an effort to serve those in the industry they love. The projects created by this group tackle a range of initiatives from social and professional to community based and even charitable. It’s humbling being a part of this team first started and maintained since 1989. It’s no easy task, and following so many that have continuously raised the bar over the years, but it’s rewarding in many ways and a challenge for those driven to take it on.

It’s a great thing to have had so many continue to join on board for the ride, and certainly and honor to work along side so many great local talents

Get familiar with the 2013-2014 team representing your AIGA chapter at

We welcome all to reach out with ideas, feedback, and to get directly involved in our events and initiatives. For those interested in contributing, volunteering, or just interested in the idea of getting involved and looking for more information, these are your points of contact. As the current president of the local chapter, I also invite questions and feedback alike to me directly and will be glad to hear from you—reach out at

I hope to help facilitate in the continued traditions of this chapter like all of those whom have served on the board with and before me. See you at the next event!

With respect,

Jim Ward, President AIGA Jacksonville

By Jim Ward, Chapter President
Published December 12, 2013