Why am I an AIGA Member?

I did a little research into long-standing AIGA Members in the Houston area. When I looked at our current members by the date they joined, I get this list of the ten most tenured members (just showing years, not actual dates here):

1984 – Paula Savage Hansen

1984 – Lana Rigsby

1985 – Hal Kantner

1986 – Craig Minor

1987 – Cheryl Beckett

1991 – Kenny Ragland

1992 – Jim Mousner

1993 – Robin Tooms

1997 – Suzanne Powney

1997 – Thomas Hull

Yep, that’s me at number eight above. I’ve benefited from being involved in AIGA, and think this does make me a good person to talk to you about the value of membership (which is now my role on the local AIGA Houston Board of Directors).

First, let me say that it’s nice to be in such a great company of names. Many of the people here have worked hard to provide resources and kickstart great conversations around design. In fact, it would be difficult to mention everyone who’s played a major part in AIGA as that would be a very long list. Most of you might know that it truly takes some dedicated people to provide support for our community, and we are grateful for every one of them.

In looking back, I can see that AIGA helped me at every part of my career. From making that jump from student to professional, to learning more about strategy and business, and everything in between, with AIGA I was able to either get the resources or connect with people that would help me navigate the way.

I often hear people ask why they should join a professional organization when they can just attend the events. I would answer that by saying that you are prompted to get more involved in the design community when you are invested in its success, and the community in return gives back as well. I’ve seen many instances of AIGA members helping other members, me included. Another reason is that it’s a lot more fulfilling to be part of a solution than just watching it happen around you (see below).

So, back in 1993, I joined AIGA because I wanted to know the design community in Houston better (as a student, I really didn’t know anybody!) and discover ways to improve my design skills. Today, I’m still a member because I’m excited about ways design is changing conversations everywhere – from boardrooms to lecture halls – and I want to be a part of that change.

You could say that both sides of my career are sharper today because of AIGA.

Tell us. Why are you a member?

By Robin Tooms
Published July 12, 2010
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