Inspiring Change

IDSA's First Women+Design Summit Set for San Diego

The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)'s first Women+Design Summit (#IDSAWomenDesign)—focusing on the unique challenges and accomplishments of women in design—will be held on May 12, 2017 at the Renaissance San Diego. All are welcome! See the schedule and sessions and register onsite on May 12 for great professional and student rates. A reception, sponsored by PepsiCo, will be held on the evening of May 11 at the hotel's rooftop lounge.

"I'm looking forward to working with women across the Society to elevate our voices in the industry," says Megan Neese, IDSA, of Renault-Nissan Alliance, who—on May 1—becomes the fourth woman to assume the role of chair of IDSA's Board of Director's in the Society's 50+ year history. "My colleagues and collaborators lead IDSA’s Women in Design Special Interest Section and a rare, all-female slate of officers is rejuvenating one of IDSA’s largest communities—the San Francisco Chapter. Now, we hope to bring discussions about women in design to a national audience at the first Women+Design Summit."

Through speakers, sessions, panels, workshops and a networking lunch—the summit will delve into personal stories, experiences and ever evolving topics. Morning keynote Maaike Evers, who has spearheaded an alternative design studio formula in San Francisco, will share how she's guided by her passion and energy for design. Afternoon keynote Erica Eden, director of global innovation at PepsiCo, will explain why "Women Are Not Robots" as she reveals "A Case for a Human Approach to Innovation."

Go behind the wheel with Diane Allen of Nissan Design America in "Driving Design: Women in Automotive Design." Emma Segal of Disrupt Design will deliver the "Gender Equity Toolkit" workshop. Andrea Small, director of product and portfolio strategy at Herman Miller, shares "Untold Stories" of the women behind some of the most iconic designs of our time.

Rebecca Alvord, IDSA, of GE Appliances and a member of the IDSA Board, takes the helm of the "Inspiring Leadership" workshop. "Prepare to be challenged!" she declares. IDSA San Francisco Chapter Chair and IDSA Women in Design Section Vice Chair Ti Chang, IDSA, of Crave, will take attendees from "Industrial Designer to Entrepreneur." 

Educators are also taking the podium: Assistant Professor Raja Schaar of Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Art & Design is an industrial designer and STEAM evangelist. She finds women make up half of the design student population in higher education but only fill about 25 percent of the practicing design industry and college-level design faculty. in "From the #First2 Rows to Binders of Women," Schaar will outline ways in which women in industry can help address the lack of diversity in design program faculty, and keep women in the game.

Professor Katherine Bennett, IDSA, of Art Center College of Design, will lead the "Communicating the Value of Collaborative Leadership" workshop. "Unconscious bias toward traditional modes of leadership prevents many women’s worth from being recognized and rewarded," says Bennett. "In this workshop, participants in small groups will... gain a better understanding of how to communicate the value of collaboration and emotional intelligence within organizations."

"Together we will dive into the journey of being a woman in design. We will look at how far we’ve come and how we arrived here, then push forward to see how far we still have to go," says Neese. "Several generations will weigh in as we discuss, debate and attempt to solve real world issues."

And of course, come early, stay late to experience all that San Diego has to offer: arts and culture; attractions; beaches and bays; coastal cuisine; parks and gardens; shopping; spas and wellness; sports and recreation; sightseeing and more. San Diego is ranked by Conde Nast Traveler as one of The Best Big Cities in the United States and by JD Power among top Destination Experiences.

Follow the conversation on Twitter @IDSA; Instagram @IDSAdesign; and Industrial Designers Society of America on Facebook and LinkedIn using #IDSAWomenDesign. Join IDSA's Women in Design LinkedIn group.