Rewind: Advancement for Women in Design

The “Advancement for Women in ID” panel discussion was held at TEAMS Design’s new studio space. Collectively hosted by IDSA’s Diversity Section, Houswares Section, and Chicago Chapter, this panel featured women in leadership roles including, Jill Solberg, Rachael Powers, Alice Jandrisits, Marianne Grisdale, Nancy Perkins, and Ellen Carnahan.

Although most of the audience was women, much of the discussion was applicable to designers of both genders. Topics ranged from limitations designers put on themselves, to pursuing advanced degrees, to balancing one’s work life and family life.

The panelists discussed key factors that had the most impact on their careers, including passion and enjoyment from work, self-honesty, and networking. All the panelists indicated the importance of meeting people, keeping up relationships, and returning favors. The IDSA has been an important source to help making and keeping these connections in the industry.

Finding a mentor was a recommendation the panelists shared, although not all have had a mentor during their careers. Those who did said it is helpful to have a long-term relationship with a mentor over time, since they have a longitudinal view of your life / career and get to know you well.

Finally, there was a lot of discussion around learning to speak the language of business by considering books, business courses, and even an advanced degree. After the panel discussion, the panelists created a list of suggested readings for women in design, many applying designers in general.

  1. The High Price of Motherhood, Anne Crittenden
  2. When Everything Changed, The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, Gail Collins
  3. Harvard Business Review article, “Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership” Alice Eagly and Linda Carli (attached to this e-mail)
  4. Change by Design by Tim Brown(Design Thinking, business + design strategy)
  5. The Game-Changer by A.G. Lafley (Innovation in business)
  6. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (2000- a bit dated, but interesting regarding trends and the reasons behind them. Blink + Outliers- other books by the author)
  7. Connected by Nicholas Christakis (the power of social networking)
  8. The Design of Things to Come + Creating Breakthrough Products by Cagan + Craig Vogel (MPD course books - interesting reads)