2021 AIGA Town Hall Recap

Thank you to all who attended our first Town Hall of the year. We want to engage with the community, to share our message and allow your voices to be heard. For those who weren’t able to attend, here are the highlights of what you missed.

Our Mission and Non-profit status. AIGA Los Angeles is a volunteer-run, membership based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization for the design community. We are one of the largest amongst 75 sibling chapter organizations in the nation. AIGA LA was founded 38 years ago by influential designers who have shaped our industry, a legacy that we take very seriously — our city and community is the destination for anyone aspiring to create no matter where they came from.

We Reflect and Build on Community Diversity. The leadership of AIGA Los Angeles should work to reflect the community that it serves. We have been evolving and building upon past boards to break barriers, in fact, today our executive team highlights and celebrates this ideal with:

  • Sam Cabrera, first Latina woman of color AIGA LA President
  • Paola Mendoza-Yu, first Black, Latina AIGA LA Co-Vice President
  • Matheo Cadena, first Latino, gay AIGA LA Co-Vice President
  • Kelly Cousins, AIGA LA Secretary
  • Courtnie Cotillo, AIGA LA Treasurer

Together, our board brings unique backgrounds and experiences to contribute toward the fulfillment of our mission and to give back to our community.

Crisis Brought Us Together, Made Us Stronger. The world changed. Pandemic. Racial injustice. We were impacted by the bigger ask in the fight for racial justice within our profession. We came together and decided to tackle these challenges by reframing them as an opportunity and reimagine a new AIGA Los Angeles that reflects the community we serve and bring greater value to each and every member of the community.

Pause Leads to Refocus. We spent time training on non profit governance in order to rebuild with a lens of equity and access. Our team participated in workshops with leaders on how white supremacy shows up in our culture and has followed discussions on how we can shift our internal culture for better inclusion. We created spaces for deeper listening to our community and taken a broader look at the industry to find insights and trends for the future. Ultimately, we understood that in order to support the designers in this community and fulfill our mission we needed to do three things:

  • Help designers adapt and grow in our industry throughout the arc of their careers
  • Be an advocate for better practices in ethics and equity as we realize collective impact on society
  • Create greater access and inclusion into the profession.


All Voices for a Better Future. The potential of design to create a better future is only realized when we include all voices. Design can be powerful in improving the lives of people and, with that, we as an industry have a responsibility to ensure we are practicing ethical, equitable and inclusive design. Practitioners thrive when able to bring their whole selves into what they do. While our community loves the craft of design, we are more than just designers, we are people with unlimited potential when enabled.

Delivering on Designers Needs. Creating opportunities to learn and grow, cultivating brave spaces and an empowering a community of shared values supports designers at every stage of their life.

The Demand for Professional/Personal Development Programs. In the upcoming months, we will begin building/announcing accessible programs for continued education, workshops and events to fulfill the practice and skills needed by people in our community and industry to thrive. We will also look to emerging disciplines, expand on big ideas, hard and soft skills that can enable designers to grow and reach their full potential while stimulating their desire for experimentation and self-discovery.

Create Connection and be a Resource For Support. No matter where you are in your personal or professional life, we hope to be the beacon you can look to — from helping individuals join an emerging industry, improve their game or gain greater clarity for career & salary growth. This is your journey, but we never truly travel alone…if you’re looking to give back our chapter may be a good place to start. There is a place for you in AIGA LA. In the months to come, we are excited to continue to debut our new programs, initiatives and bring the support the community deserves.

Did You Know…Visa Assistance. AIGA Los Angeles can assist our international members in documenting the professional status requirements for designers in an application for US visas and work papers. As a peer group are able to offer advisory opinion letters in support of O-1 and H-1B petitions. This is FREE benefit of membership at any level of our chapter. If you need support and membership is a barrier, please do still contact us at Membership@aigala.org.

Elevating Accessibility. Barriers limit voices. We are committed to ensuring all AIGA LA events and resources are as accessible as possible. Any and all future events and content will allow for you to ask for accommodations so you can fully participate with either sign language interpreters provided and/or captioning.

Social Connection on MORE Social Channels. There are more ways to connect today than ever before, and we need to be apart of where our community spends their time…particularly during these trying times. In addition to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and twitter we have started a Discord for you to meet each other. Go to our #introductions channel and share your name, pronoun, place you identify with and your favorite piece of pandemic clothing! Everyone is welcome. You can also catch us on TikTok at TikTok.com/@aigalosangeles. If you’d like to get involved or submit content, just mention us to be considered.

That’s our recap. Please become involved with the AIGA LA community — we value your commitment and opinions. Feel free to reach out by using our social channels or email us at admin@aigalosangeles.org.

By AIGA Los Angeles
Published April 1, 2021
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