Mira Azarm is the founder of GoodJinn, a micro-design-lab of mysterious origins and curious propensities, where she serves as creative instigator, social designer, and inventive educator. Mira consults with organizations dedicated to creating or invigorating an internal culture biased toward innovation. She facilitates Design Thinking at the University of Maryland's Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, teaches emerging business leaders at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and serves as a Design Coach in a climate change technology initiative at The World Bank. She’s known for developing interdisciplinary, experiential coursework, and bringing design methodologies to undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, and global financial experts. Lately, she’s become a career coach of sorts to designers—and young people of all disciplines, helping them develop strategies for success through principles of entrepreneurship. She hopes to become a Futurist in her next career, a move that appeals to her worst-best instincts of embracing ambiguity.
Conservation International, Creative Director
Billy Candela is Creative Director at Conservation International (CI), a multi-national environmental non-profit based in Arlington, VA. With over six years at CI, Billy has become the organization’s de-facto chief brand ambassador by codifying CI’s brand into a comprehensive message, including implementing a style brand guide. He has grown a meager creative team from 1 staff to 5 in a few short years, by showing the value that strong creative can bring to furthering mission based work. Before CI, Billy worked as a graphic designer for an agency in Honolulu, HI. While there, he served as AIGA-DC Sustainability Chairperson, organizing events that aimed to encourage the adoption of green-graphic design practices within the design community. Billy continues to be passionate about empowering designers to find a seat at the table—and firmly believes that good design can change the world.
Colleen B. Kradel
Be Well, Owner
Colleen Kradel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over a decade of experience in a variety of settings. She enjoys teaching people how to feel relief from anxious thoughts and fears, and wants to help her clients live more bravely, love themselves more and live a more authentic life.
Colleen graduated from the University of Maryland, School of Social Work in 2003 and has been in private practice since 2009. She specializes in treating those with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and social phobia. Colleen serves on the Board of Girls on the Run of the Shenandoah Valley - a non-profit organization teaching young girls about self-love and empowerment. She is also on the Healthy Berkeley committee - a group that focuses on improving the health of Berkeley County.
Deloitte Digital, Creative Director
Justin Howard is Creative Director of Deloitte Digital DC, where he leads digital projects that transform clients’ businesses. He has over 15 years of experience as a creative professional, building brands and delivering strategic creative solutions to a diverse range of clients in the commercial, federal, and public sectors. Justin’s ethos is design, and he directs this passion to every project—whether he’s helping a client reimagine their digital customer experience or building a healthcare mobile app. When he’s not spending time collaborating with his team to create awesome digital experiences, Justin can most likely be found eating his way through the lively restaurant scene in MD/VA/DC. If you ever need a recommendation, he’s definitely your guy.
Justin is an alum of Virginia Tech and VCU, where he holds a BA in Graphic Design and an MFA in Design.
Nh.d. Studio, Art Director/Partner
Nathan Hill is a founding partner of Nh.d Studio, a graphic design and branding studio based in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. Nathan’s design skills and interests extend to woodworking, screen printing and illustration, which he regularly shares through a variety of creative, hands-on workshops. A current client project includes the creative direction and fabrication of custom fixtures and furniture designs to be used in an upcoming retail space. The studio is also creating a publication on experimental and experiential design. This forthcoming work will highlight a variety of both U.S.-based and international artists who are pushing boundaries within graphic design.
Nathan is a former Education Director for the AIGA DC chapter and is a current adjunct faculty member at George Washington University’s Corcoran College of the Arts & Design. He is a founding member of the Petworth Business Community and is the host of the monthly design podcast Design Intercourse.
Emcee, James Hersick
Native, Founder & Creative Director
James is a multi-discipline designer, brand strategist, facilitator, illustrator, and photographer. As a founding partner & the creative director of Native Communications, a branding and design agency, his work spans industries and helps businesses and organizations large and small communicate and design positive changes for people and communities.
He served with AIGA | the professional association for design’s national staff on the National Design for Good movement and is past president of the AIGA Blue Ridge Chapter. James is a graduate of Leadership Berkeley, organizer of the Martinsburg Farmers Market and What’s Next West Virginia Berkeley County, and serves on the boards of Healthy Berkeley County, The Berkeley County Backpack Program and The Burke Street Promise Neighborhood.
The Blue Ridge chapter's event is part of AIGA's nationwide EMERGE Awareness Week. EMERGE is a series of experiences tailored to help the emerging designer hone their skills, discover their talents, and grow their career. AIGA is kicking off the new EMERGE Initiative with a week’s worth of events and content, across a variety of chapters.
The EMERGE initiative offers customizable content, scalable to all chapters and their community needs, in the areas of Employment, Growth, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Life Skills, for designers who are just launching their careers and for those who have up to five years of experience in the field.
EMERGE Awareness Week is made possible through our collaboration with the following AIGA chapters across the country:
August 15, Monday: AIGA Wichita, 5 Rounds: Agency vs. Freelance
August 16, Tuesday: AIGA Minnesota, Designer as entrepreneur
August 17, Wednesday: AIGA St. Louis, Portfolio development
August 18, Thursday: AIGA Arizona, Talent is overrated: life skills for young designers
August 19, Friday: AIGA Seattle, EMERGE inspired: five speakers share experience & advice for early career success
August 20, Saturday: AIGA Blue Ridge, The game of life: EMERGE edition
To learn more about about all of the EMERGE Awareness Week activities and how to get involved click here to participate and attend the nationally shareable chapter events.
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