"This was the best event we had all year!"
"I didn't feel this special or honored even when I first recieved my Fellow Award."
"The pannel of speakers was fantastic!"
As the Membership Director, I was responsible for planning and executing our annual Membership Party. Because it was our Centennial, I decided to shake things up by combining the party with a Fellows Gala to present this year’s Fellow Award to Doug Wadden.
Using the Centennial theme of “past, present, and future,” I was thrilled when the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), the location of our very first chapter meeting, agreed to partner with us as our Hosting Sponsor. As an added bonus SAM let patrons view their recently opened exhibit Pop Departures, which included a fantastic interactive Photo Booth, during the reception.
Being such a historic evening, I felt it was important to spend some time reflecting on where our chapter had come from and where it was going. To address this, my co-emcee and local Chapter President, Gage Mitchell, and I kicked off the event with a short “state of the chapter” address including the story of how our chapter started exactly 27 years ago, to the day.
We then passed the microphone to Jenny Lam to moderate a short Fellows Panel Discussion with 6 of our previous Fellows. The discussion was focused on the state of Seattle’s design community and the crowd loved the friendly banter, humility, and the enormous wealth of knowledge and history that the panel shared.
Then came time to award our 2014 Fellow. Knowing that Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman was a former graduate student of Doug’s, I asked her to introduce Doug and to present the award. After a heartfelt intro, Doug gave a short talk about his work and involvement with the design community. We then presented Doug with his award and headed out to enjoy the reception.
During the reception, patrons enjoyed drinks and hor’ dourves by TASTE, along with some live chalk art by local designer and typographer Benjamin Watson Hubbard and Fellows History display. We also had half a dozen volunteers mingling with the crowd with iPhones, conducting candid interviews of the attendee’s thoughts about the evening and our design community.
To honor our speakers and our Design Leaders, besides the typical thank you gift, I designed and produced custom name tags using laser cut acrylic and a magnet clap. The custom name tags also helped our community easily recognize the leaders in the room and gave them an opportunity to rub elbows with some of the biggest names in the Seattle Area.
Finally, making sure that the Fellows didn’t over shadow the true essence of the evening, there was a digital Member’s Showcase that was played throughout the event, where roughly 160 members submitted a slide showcasing their work. This helped members connect work they have seen in the wild to the faces of their fellow designers and, hopefully, encouraged conversation.
Overall, the event was a huge success with 150-200 total attendees. I was complimented on the event multiple times and was told “this was the best event we had all year!” and that "The panel of speakers was fantastic!" When it was brought up that I had custom made the name tags, one of the Fellows even remarked that he hadn't felt this special or honored before, even when he got his own award.