February 2, 2012

To our members,

On a sunny Saturday, January 21, the AIGA Minnesota board of directors spent the day developing, agreeing upon, and ultimately adopting the official strategic, tactical, and financial plans that will guide the operation, planning, and vision of the chapter for the duration of 2012 and beyond.

Driven principally by responses from the recent AIGA Minnesota annual survey, the strategic goals came down to the slight revision of a set of eight concise statements initially developed by the board in 2011. From there, chapter leaders developed nearly 50 unique and actionable tactical plans to improve chapter programming and operations over the course of the next year. We finished our annual planning retreat by establishing financial priorities and allocating funds for programming, chapter, and leadership development.

Members will begin to see these efforts manifest in the member experience as early as this spring, when key programs like Portfolio 1-on-1, Design Show, and the Insights Lecture Series are already being planned and improved. And members will continue to see our chapter’s investment in new programming for new audiences, such as programming for in-house designers, UX designers, and solopreneurs.

One central question was held in front of all chapter leaders when making preparations for 2012: What can we do to improve the AIGA experience and increase the value for our members? We challenged each other to look at age-old problems in new ways and to leave the idea of “we’ve always done it this way” at the door.

We’re proud of the work we do on your behalf, and we’re sure you’ll swiftly begin to see the effort we’ve put in—making AIGA Minnesota work harder and be more relevant than ever to your career, your community, and your profession.

The big-picture strategic goals for AIGA Minnesota in 2012 are to:

Embrace new and external audiences for our communication channels.

With a newly re-designed Distiller email blast that reaches 3400 member and nonmember subscribers and a Twitter following of more than 3200, we want to build on our successes by broadening our communications to include other audiences and channels beyond the expected to ensure our members and other audiences know, well in advance, what AIGA Minnesota is up to.

Enrich and prove the value of AIGA to our members, as well as future members and other external audiences.

A goal that achieved significant success last year, it’s one that we continue to work on. Your AIGA membership is an investment in your career and your profession, and it’s our responsibility to provide you with opportunities to take advantage of the value it offers, as well as to be certain everybody who comes in contact with AIGA Minnesota realizes the importance and the value of being a member.

Redefine with whom AIGA Minnesota serves, partners, and collaborates.

Design is no longer narrowly defined, and neither is AIGA. We will look outside of our expected areas of discipline to find new areas of inspiration and to broaden our horizons in everything we do, be it programming, governance, membership, communication, or sponsorship.

Demonstrate the value of design to business and community leaders.

We will produce our own programming and support national AIGA efforts to demonstrate how design improves businesses, organizations, brands, and communities. We’re taking a very strong leadership position in bringing the AIGA Design for Good initiative here to Minnesota which will empower members of the design community to become effective agents of change, to harness a collective commitment to improve social and economic conditions locally, and to enhance understanding of design thinking as a problem-solving tool.

Attract, retain, empower, and reward chapter volunteers and leaders.

AIGA Minnesota is 100% volunteer-run—the only chapter of its size to be so. Without our volunteers, we’d get nowhere. As such, we’re always seeking new volunteers and we will continue to develop ways to empower, recognize, and reward the importance of their dedication. Many of our volunteers eventually ascend to leadership positions within the organization, gaining valuable leadership skills and experience not regularly available in the course of their employment; this is yet another benefit of membership that we wish to foster and encourage.

Enable greater access by offering programs available to new communities and in new delivery formats.

From broadening our geographic reach to serving new communities to looking at new media, there are any number of ways that our programming can be made available to a wider audience and we are committed to doing so.

Provide programs, resources, and opportunities for professional, leadership, and community development.

Developing yourself professionally is a career-long pursuit—there’s a fine line between a groove and a rut, and AIGA Minnesota will be a resource to make sure your career path stays in the former. This year, our chapter will specifically make progress in building the national Design for Good initiative here in Minnesota, enabling our members to develop their skill sets in community leadership.

Maintain our leadership role within AIGA.

AIGA Minnesota continues to be the fourth-largest of 66 AIGA chapters in the country. Whether it’s superlative programming, hard-working volunteers, careful chapter management, or simply good-ol’ midwestern work ethic, AIGA Minnesota knows a thing or two that can help further the organization as a whole, and we continue to share our knowledge and expertise with other AIGA chapters who look to us for ideas, solutions, and guidance.

If you have ideas or inspirations that you’d like to share, we welcome your input. If you’d like to volunteer, we’ll welcome your support. And we’d love to see your presence at the upcoming Members’ Meeting this March. More than anything, though, we thank you for your membership, enthusiasm, and for making Minnesota one of the greatest design communities in the world.

—the AIGA Minnesota board of directors

View more photos of the 2012 AIGA Minnesota board retreat on Flickr »

Contact Leadership

Brent Larson
Brent Larson
Brent is an award winning Motion, 3D, and Graphic designer with 20 years of experience working in the architectural, manufacturing, legal, corporate, and film industries as a solopreneur, agency, and in-house designer. He has experience in illustration, graphic design, product design, 3D modeling & animation, motion graphics, video production, live & virtual event production, presentation design, art direction, and project management. He currently works as a corporate in-house Principal Motion and Graphic Designer in the MedTech industry.

Before becoming AIGA Minnesota President, Brent served as Vice President from 2022-2023 and Chair of the In-House Designers Committee from 2019 - 2023.

Brent volunteers as a mentor for emerging designers and is a member of the AIGA Minnesota Mind to Mind Mentorship Program Committee.

His interests include history, film, design, animation, illustration, 3D printing, model making, woodworking, golf, bowling, fishing, and restoring things.