2019 AIGA LA Board of Directors Information
Our goal is to inform you as to the potential new board members
Please Note: Some of the proposed board members have terms that end in June, but are also on the ballot to continue. Their bios can be found on our website. (Simrit Brar, Paul Elliston, Patrick Fredrickson, Josh Freeman, Amy Gustincic, Lars Hansson, Bern Irizarry, Keith Kuneven, Haven Lin-Kirk, Jim Nissen, Arturo Perez, Anthony Wiktor, Davina Wolter, Anastassia Zukova)
Incoming Board Member Bios:
Kelly Cousins, Secretary
Kelly’s egalitarian, user-focused sensibilities have been the signature of her decade-plus career as a creative project manager and graphic designer. She has worked in the art, fashion, and music industries but enjoys taking on projects outside of her comfort zone. She believes that harmonious, cohesive design elements should be both beautiful and utilitarian. In her free time, she enjoys playing table-tennis, traveling to roadside attractions, and visiting tiki bars.
Lauren Kusmierczak, Communications Director
Lauren is an entrepreneurial leader who believes great creative is rooted in strong strategy and is inclusive in its message. Her career has been spent adapting to an ever-changing creative landscape and is comfortable in the land of unknowns; while striving to create positive, collaborative and supportive environment for those around her. Lauren is currently an Associate Creative Director at Virtue, the creative agency by VICE.
Luis Farfán, Content Director
Experienced Creative Director with a demonstrated history of working with clients across Advertising,Tech, Music, and Entertainment industries. Skilled in leading teams in big picture conceptual thinking on projects leaning heavy on photography, film, art and design.
Michael Mondragon, Development Director
Michael Mondragon is a Los Angeles-based designer and Creative Director with a focus on medical, healthcare and fitness clients. Michael provides comprehensive design solutions for branding and identity with an emphasis on user experience, advertising, and marketing. Outcomes include strategies for print, web, mobile, and social media platforms. Additionally, he and his girlfriend Melissa founded a nonprofit called the International Support Fibromyalgia Network dedicated to bringing the fibromyalgia community together through education, awareness, research, and advocacy.
Sam Anvari, Education Director
Sam Anvari is a graphic designer and information architect with 18 years of direct hands-on experience in graphic and mobile/web design. Sam has MFA in Graphic Design from OTIS College of Art and Design where he worked on his research project under the supervision of Erik Spiekermann and Stuart Bailey. He also holds a bachelor of science in Bio-Medical Engineering (Bio-Electronics). Crossing over to Graphic Design with Engineering background has given Sam the ability to look at communication challenges from a unique perspective. Sam views graphic design as a multidisciplinary practice between “Art” and “System Engineering” plus “Linguistics” with the goal to establish a clear and universally understandable dialogue.
Jean Pongsai, Education Director
Vibrant, zealous and a touch of edgy best describes Jean Pongsai’s vibe. Jean has a passion for seeing people succeed and is even more passionate about creating the road for emerging creatives to be even more successful. Her past education outreach experience includes guest lecturing at colleges/universities in Los Angeles, hosting online portfolio reviews, creating design resources and chairing the previous Portfolio Days with the former Education Director. At her core, Jean aims to bridge the gap between “inspiration” and “execution” to the community touched by design.
Leon Rodriguez, Education Director
For over 10 years Leon has partnered with innovative institutions to authentically present their vision and communicate their mission through transformative three-dimensional storytelling experiences. Through excellence in creative leadership, team-building and diligent project management, he presents multi-sensory experiences that change public perceptions, elevate public knowledge and drive institutional and cultural transformation. Through his work as an educator, Leon shares the principles and philosophy that guide his work to inspire the next generation of creative professionals.
Hector Torres, Education Director
Hector is a Mexican American educator and designer. He received an MFA in Graphic Design from Otis College of Art and Design. He founded A Studio Named Desire as a space where he works on independent projects and with clients. In May he finished his first semester as an Adjunct Lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles where he taught Design Tools II. He can often be found at an AIGA event or Type Thursday meetup.
Eva Crawford, Marketing Director
With over 15 years of experience Eva Crawford is a true polymath operating most days as an art director, and senior designer. Her work revolves around design strategies based in research, and brand solutions that communicate focused messaging. A few of her notable clients include Cheech Marin whom she’s designed art volumes to accompany his celebrated art collections, The Melrose Trading Post and The Arts District Brewing Company rebrand developed with the great type artist Peter Greco.
Stephanie Player, Marketing Director
Stephanie Player is a Designer and Art Director based in Los Angeles. With over ten years of experience in the fashion and marketing world, Stephanie has expanded her work to include interactive activations, identity design and social media management. Her professional experience ranges from print to digital across all branding platforms. Clients include, PIAS Recordings, Parsons School of Design, Banana Republic and LVMH.
Matheo Cadena, Programming Director
Matheo is a community activist, UX designer, and multimedia artist. He engages with the design community to inspire creatives to use design as a tool for change. His curiosity for psychology, design, and technology led him onto the journey of user experience design; enhancing the world one experience at a time. Matheo also serves as the co-chair of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ youth community advisory board, designing solutions that engage the LGBTQIA community and programming events that help fight the HIV epidemic amongst youth.
Venessa Baez-Jones, Social Media Director
Venessa Baez-Jones is a self-taught digital designer with five years of experience in designing for finance and has recently pivoted to the beauty industry. New to the Los Angeles area, Venessa’s AIGA background includes two years as the chapter president of AIGA Tampa Bay. In her spare time, she enjoys learning improv at UCB, cosplaying at comic conventions, and singing show tunes karaoke. Her goals for the next few years include watching every Star Trek series and mastering parallel parking. She also loves a well-designed sticker.
Ali Filsoof, Advisory Board
Ali Filsoof is a Los Angeles based Design Director, currently working at Phenomenon. He works closely with cross-functional teams of strategists, experience innovators and writers to execute integrated design work for a roster of clientele including Amex, P&G, Michael Kors, St. Jane, Flywheel, and many startups.
Charles Hess, Advisory Board
Charles Hess is a Design Director and Photo Editor. First at Print Magazine in NYC back in the day when magazines ruled the world. Charles moved to LA to spend a year at Art Center and never left this beautiful, crazy city. Through the Art of Freelance he’s been walking LA. He also created a program for the Society of Publication Designers in LA that lasted for years and is a founding member of Big Sunday, the best non-profit in the world. His passion is community building, and he hopes to help AIGA grow in new ways, where we can take AIGA across the city. New adventures. Diverse programs that benefit everyone. And make it fun too.
Milka Broukhim, Advisory Board
Milka Broukhim is a visual communication designer, creative strategist, educator and mentor based in Santa Monica. She received her B.A. in Fine Arts and Design at UCLA, and her M.F.A. in Media Design at Art Center College of Design. She has taught at 15 different private and public universities throughout Southern California for 15 years (e.g. UCLA, LMU, Chapman, Art Center, and Otis, to name a few). Her passion is to inspire, enrich and empower others. She resumes to strive as an inspirational leader and experienced mentor cultivating creative cultures at organizations seeking innovation and creative growth offered to teams, leaders and high level executives.
Sam Cabrera, Advisory Board
Sam is an Associate Director of User Experience and culture lead at AMP Agency, a digital marketing agency. Formerly of SapientRazorfish and Gensler, she enjoys designing across a variety of touch points for clients such as MGM, Holland America, Riot Games, and Bright Horizons. She thinks often of how cool it would be if AIGA LA was the first chapter and community to reach 50% female creative directors and bridge the wage gap.
Chris Chandler, Advisory Board
Chris Chandler is Product Strategy Practice Lead at Philosophie. Previously, he worked as User Experience Director at Fandango and Disney. Chris is very active in the Southern California User Experience community. He is a co-founder of LA UX Meetup, the largest local meetup for UX Professionals in the country. He lectures on Information Architecture and User Centered Design at UCLA and Santa Monica College.