Welcome Letter from SEGD’s New Board President, Traci Sym

As we take our first steps into 2024, I am honored to begin my term as Board President alongside our new Board VP, Bosco Hernández. I’ve been a member of SEGD since 2014 and a member of the Board of Directors since 2019. 

I’m so grateful to take on this role by following in the footsteps of Kathy Fry. It’s been an absolute pleasure serving as her VP over the last two years— chairing the annual conference in our hometown of Portland, OR with her and Alper Yurtseven, introducing our updated brand through the generosity of our friends at Pentagram, launching our new website with our partners at Wide Eye, Glueup, Room for Magic, and the unending dedication of CEO Cybelle Jones, SEGD staff, with support from our Board members, and finally, celebrating the 50th anniversary of SEGD last August in Washington, DC with an unbelievable turn out from our members, fellows, partners, presenters, sponsors, and so many new faces. 

When I first joined SEGD I wasn’t sure this was a place I fit. SEGD had only just transitioned that E from “Environmental” to “Experiential.” Remember that? I was new to the world of Environmental graphics, having started my career in the performing arts and choreography before moving into Interactive Media and Exhibition Design. Sometimes I would feel a bit like an outsider looking in. I didn’t know where to even start, how to connect, how to see my own experience and discipline (one that I was still trying to figure out) reflected in the voices of others. But each time I would attend an event, be it Xlab, or E+E, or my first annual conference, there was something about the generosity of members that bowled me over. And the more time I spent at the back of the room, the more people started to slowly join me back there, inviting me in, creating a link. 

And now all these years later, SEGD has started to feel like a home. An organization that always surprises me, offers strangeness, experimental concepts, new to me practitioners,  unfamiliar places, alternate ways of seeing and experiencing the world. 

SEGD seems to be that rare place in design where members leave their egos at the door. The more I’ve attended and met other members, the more impassioned I feel about this organization. 

So what’s next? We keep looking forward, we keep inviting others in. 

Over the next year we will continue to put our strategic plan into action. We will roll out new content and materials to our website to support our current members and welcome new ones. We will continue to deliver impactful programming– at events that look familiar and events that are new for us. And as we welcome a new board member, and watch SEGD’s newest staff members thrive, we seek to continue to listen, to learn, and to strengthen this community, together. 

I truly can’t wait. 

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