IDSA's First Women+Design Summit Draws Rave Reviews

Feb 9 2018 - 3:16pm

IDSA's first Women+Design Summit (#IDSAWomenDesign)—focusing on the unique challenges and accomplishments of women in design—was held on May 12, 2017 at the Renaissance San Diego. A reception, sponsored by PepsiCo, was held on the evening of May 11 on the hotel's rooftop lounge. (Login to IDSA.org and let us know wha you thought of the Women+Design Summit in the ADD NEW COMMENT section below this article.)

"This was phenomenal. I just can't believe what a wonderful, useful event it was!” says IDSA San Francisco Chapter Chair and IDSA Women in Design Special Interest Section Vice Chair Ti Chang, IDSA, of Crave. “I believe supporting women is how we move forward as a whole—in our profession and in our society. I applaud IDSA for recognizing this opportunity and creating such a smart, content-rich and heartfelt event that was authentic and useful in every way. My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough. 

Julie Morgan, founder of designingwomensd.com and UX designer at Qualcomm, posted on Twitter: “Had a lovely time here and met some excellent people."

I enjoyed the talks a lot,” said Qin Li, IDSA, director of industrial design at fuseproject and at-large director on IDSA’s Board of Directors. “There was a nice mix of background, content and perspectives from different speakers. And it was a great opportunity to expand my network with many women in design.”

"An amazing day with some truly talented and inspirational women designers," said West District Chapter Representative Chris Livaudais, IDSA.

Megan Neese, IDSA, of Renault-Nissan Alliance, who—on May 1—became the fourth woman to assume the role of chair of IDSA's Board of Director's in the Society's 50+ year history, delivered the summit’s opening and closing remarks. The summit featured nine speakers and a networking lunch. Morning keynote Maaike Evers, who spearheaded an alternative design studio formula, shared how she's guided by her passion and energy for design. Afternoon keynote Erica Eden, director of global innovation at PepsiCo, explained why "Women Are Not Robots" as she revealed "A Case for a Human Approach to Innovation."

Diane Allen of Nissan Design America spoke on "Women in Automotive Design," while Emma Segal of Disrupt Design delivered the "Gender Equity Toolkit" workshop. Andrea Small, director of product and portfolio strategy at Herman Miller, shared "Untold Stories" of the women behind some of the most iconic designs of our time.

Rebecca Alvord, IDSA, of GE Appliances and chapter VP on the IDSA Board, took the helm of the "Inspiring Leadership" workshop. Educators also had their say: Assistant Professor Raja Schaar of Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Art & Design spoke on "From the #First2 Rows to Binders of Women”—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. Schaar outlined 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, led 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," reported Bennett. Groups gained a better understanding of how to communicate the value of collaboration and emotional intelligence within organizations.

Sponsors included Adidas, GE Healthcare, Pepsico, Àplat, Tactile, AstroStudios, GE Appliances, KeyShot, Nissan and Perkins Design Ltd.