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Forging new connections during this time of COVID has proven to be challenging on many levels. But SEGD’s newly formed Membership Committee—including Kris Helmick, Zach Kotel, and Annelle Stotz—is working to increase SEGD membership, while striving to improve the overall member experience. Annelle Stotz explains more in this Committee update.
This past year reminds us that belonging to a community and gathering with purpose are significant concepts, both on a personal and professional level. The sudden void in our day-to-day lives—that is, the absence of in-person connections—helped us realize that we need to take better care of our members, our community, and our network, if we want to thrive as an organization. One way SEGD responded was to form a Membership Committee to better focus on our members and ensure that the value of being a member is visible, immediate, and has long term benefits.
The Committee is focused on three key initiatives:
- Improving how we welcome new members,
- Diversifying our membership,
- Growing our membership internationally.
Even before the pandemic, SEGD was seeking ways to build stronger connections with members. We knew we needed a high-touch experience that embraced new members—virtually right now, but also eventually in-person—to immediately boost their networks.
The “New Member Welcome” intends to provide access and help navigate the variety of different resources and benefits available to members through simple, actionable steps during the first few weeks of their membership. Organized into four topics, SEGD guides new members by helping them:
- get started,
- build a network,
- exploring resources, and
- add their voice to the conversation.
We’ve heard repeatedly from SEGD members that building a network is one of the most valued benefits of becoming an SEGD member. So, we added a new program called the Vanguard Roundtable which provides new members with opportunities to instantly expand their network with the vanguards of SEGD. Vanguards provide design leadership and make significant contributions to the field’s direction and growth. SEGD vanguards include Board Members, Fellows, Achievement Award recipients, and chapter leaders.
We held our first Vanguard Roundtable this past April, and eight Vanguards welcomed 22 of our newest members to the SEGD community. It was an incredibly diverse group with six different countries represented — Qatar, Latvia, India, Costa Rica, Canada, and the United States — as well as a diverse cross-section of industry practitioners, including artists, exhibit designers, lighting designers, sound designers, signage and EGD fabricators, product manufacturers, researchers and educators, journalists, business owners, and students. As our newest members were introducing themselves and sharing their stories, we simultaneously connected with one another on Linkedin. It was an inspiring and highly productive hour!
In partnership with the Racial Justice Commission (RJC) our 43 chapters, and the SEGD Board, the Membership Committee actively engages with the design community to invite diverse practitioners, thought leaders, and young professionals to contribute to the EGD field’s direction and growth. 546 members have joined SEGD since 2020!.
SEGD has long been an international organization; today, we celebrate members in over 31 countries and 14 active international chapters. It is essential to ensure that our international members have access to the same opportunities and resources as members here in the United States, and that we, as an organization, support the growth of the field globally. We are doing this by organizing more regional events, inviting global practitioners and thought leaders to present at each event, and developing tools and resources to help our international chapters build visibility within their respective markets in culturally appropriate ways.
Our goal is to ensure that the value of joining SEGD is immediately noticeable and is sustained year after year with ever-evolving resources and inspiration. We are excited to make our legacy, our passion, and our resources more accessible to the design community than ever before.
Not a member? Join us TODAY!