Julie Anixter becomes the new executive director for AIGA, the professional association for design, on Jan. 4, 2016. She will succeed Richard Grefé, who has held the position for 20 years. The announcement was made by AIGA Board of Directors’ President Su Matthews Hale.
A vocal advocate for the power of design for more than 20 years, Anixter’s career has spanned business, education and the public sector. She boasts global experience working with world class brands and institutions, including Chanel, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, GE, P&G, Roche and the US Military—and utilizing design, business strategy and technology to activate and realize transformation and growth.
“I am truly excited to work with the AIGA board, staff, chapters, members and all designers to continue to amplify our thought leadership and influence on the profession of design and society-at-large, so that design is recognized as the force for good that it is, ensuring that the craft of design is valued, the discipline is taught more broadly and the expert use of design helps us all navigate our information-laden world with greater ease,” Anixter says.
Anixter has attended IDSA events and holds longtime affection and respect for the profession. “Many of my closest friends are industrial designers,” she told her counterpart at IDSA—Executive Director Daniel Martinage, CAE, when he congratulated Anixter on her new role. “The most memorable projects, client work and experiences I have are when all the disciplines have been at the table making great work happen in an integrated spirit and practice.”
Most recently, Anixter served as principal at Think Remarkable consultancy, which she also founded; co-founder and managing partner of Innovation Excellence, the largest crowd-sourced innovation blog and learning community; and executive-in-residence at the Disruptor Foundation.
Anixter will join the AIGA national headquarters which recently moved to a new location in the historic Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan, New York City.
“AIGA is poised to play a leading role in advancing irreversibly the role of design in business, culture and social change,” says Grefé. “Julie brings precisely the skills needed to lead the crusade: smart, articulate, thoughtful, a careful listener, experienced in designing for organizational change and impact, and the ability to communicate convincingly to networks of influential people.”