IDSA's Women in Design Deep Dive 2022, held March 31-April 1, marked the 6th consecutive Women in Design event hosted by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). With attendees gathering in person at the Vue in Columbus, OH and virtually around the world, this 2-day experience focused on the challenges, successes, and initiatives of women in industrial design and related fields.
"There's something about the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Women in Design conferences that creates this special alchemy between inspiring speakers, engaged and passionate attendees, and a totally safe and welcoming space. It was truly an honor to get to be a part of shaping this conference and a part of this conversation. Emceeing with the incredible Miranda Degg made the whole experience feel like hanging out with a few hundred of my favorite friends... which in so many ways, it was.
There were so many threads connecting the speakers' presentations, weaving in our identities, histories, and cultures into our work. We learned about a cross-continental design practice anchored in making and repair from Hazal Gümüş Çiftçi, Ph.D., which tied together beautifully with ebere agwuncha's practice at the intersection of design, art, and making. Deborah Lalush pushed us to shift from 'designing with' to 'designing for' as we create an industry that better empowers disabled designers, while Emily Kokenge built on that by encouraging us to challenge ourselves to grow our confidence, showing up to our fullest potential. Betsy Barnhart, IDSA, and Lea Stewart, IDSA, called us to become your own champion and create a community of peers to support us as we grow in our leadership. And Romina Barrera Enciso, IDSA, gave us a framework for mentorship that builds a team of supporters who are cheerleaders, visionaries, connectors, confidants, and more.
Anne H. Berry, Jennifer Rittner, and Kelly Walters shared the process of creating the The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection—the qualitative call-to-action for a more diverse and joyful space for black folks to design, echoed by Jacinda Walker, IDSA's quantitative breakdown—that there are so many more of us out there than we think (even if it's still not enough). And that's how it felt, surrounded by a group of bright sparks, women and allies united in a celebration of what we can achieve, together.
Creating this conference with the IDSA team was a joy. Austin Del Gallo is an event-coordinating magician, and Korie Twiggs' energy and love of community is beyond inspiring. Chris Livaudais, IDSA, and Jason P. Belaire, IDSA, bring the vision, constantly pushing us to dream bigger and do better.
I could not have done it without the incredible support and cheerleading from Benjamin Ko, Karl Vanderbeek, IDSA, and the team at Kaleidoscope Innovation and Product Design. Thank you for being my sounding board and my sanity. 'Till next year!”
- Caterina Rizzoni, IDSA, co-emcee and IDSA's Director of Conferences
Here's what some of our virtual and in-person attendees had to say:
"I had the distinct privilege of being able to spend the last couple of days with the ladies of IDSA for the Women in Design conference. And let me tell you the attendees did not disappoint. They were absolutely amazing and inspiring. Myself and my fellow ladies from GPG Design traveled down to Columbus, Ohio and shared stories, bonded over meals...All in all, a wonderful trip.
Here are a few takeaways:
- Burnout is indeed a thing and you need to recognize the signs. Take proper time to practice self-care.
- People with disabilities are just as capable of being designers. Stop gatekeeping. And on the flip side of that, designers that are in the industry: Let’s make a conscious effort to design products for users that are appealing to everyone. For example: Just because a rollator is used predominantly by older adults doesn’t mean that a young person might not need to use it. Or that older adults might be young at heart or have a sense of fashion.
- Confidence is a skill, not a trait.
- You can always shut up the naysayers when you have data to back it up.
So many other gems were dropped but honestly you had to be there. I’m so glad that I had a seat at that table. So amazing.”
- Danielle Carr, in-person attendee
“One of my favorite IDSA events that I've ever attended. Insightful speakers and stories with amazing people. I enjoyed the intimate venue as it seemed much easier to meet new designers. The whole event was very well organized and given that it was a combined virtual and in-person event, that made it even more impressive. I look forward to more IDSA events that are inspired by this one. Thank you all!”
- Karl Vanderbeek, IDSA, in-person attendee
“I had the fortune of attending the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Women in Design conference...I was able to meet and learn from so many amazing women and I am excited to join them in the amazing field of design! Thank you to my professors at Western Michigan University for making our participation in this event possible. And thank you to IDSA for my prize pack—I will be taking my new tote everywhere.”
- Ava Hansen, S/IDSA, in-person attendee
“What better way to end Women’s History Month than at an IDSA Deep Dive! One of my goals has been to understand more about the work of my colleagues in design, and this conference provided that plus inspiration and tools to succeed as a woman in industry.”
- Catie Brown, in-person attendee
"It is amazing to see this incredible community coming together, talk about our realities and challenges, and reflect on how to address them.”
- Eveline Simard, IDSA, virtual attendee
“Super excited to be participating virtually from Memphis, TN. Lots of insights into fellow designers processes, how to find mentors and how to build those relationships, and how to not experience imposter syndrome as a woman in design.”
- Julia Shaffer, virtual attendee
“The Women in Design Deep Dive delivered such motivating and relatable content! All the presenters across the two days did such an amazing job. You are an inspiration to us all!”
- Neon Carrot, design studio
“Grateful for the chance to join the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) for their Deep Dive, Women in Design, remotely! It's encouraging to hear and learn from a variety of speakers.”
- Paige Huntress-Parr, virtual attendee
“I attended the IDSA Women in Design conference with my classmates and professor. Thanks to WMU for the opportunity to meet inspiring women! Feeling motivated to work on my senior thesis.”
- Bridget Dahlinghaus, S/IDSA, in-person attendee
“Cheers to a really great Women in Design Deep Dive 2022. Lots of insightful takeaways and fabulous change makers shaping the upward trajectory, mindset, and life of design.”
- Delano Ellis, IDSA, in-person attendee
"We had an amazing time at IDSA's Women in Design Deep Dive! This event was filled with passion, creative energy, and amazing insight from all who attended. What a beautifully conducted event to get us all back in person again! Thank you to those who planned and pulled this off. We learned so much, made a lot of new connections, and walked out feeling overwhelmed with inspiration.”
- IDSA Cleveland
“Wow! What an incredible conference! So grateful to be part of the amazing IDSA Women in Design community! It was great to meet so many new amazing humans and continue to share stories that lift each other up and continue to build a more equitable future in design! Special shout-out and cheers to the rest of the IDSA content creation team, Austin Del Gallo, Korie Twiggs, and the flawless emcees Caterina Rizzoni and Miranda Degg! So well done!"
- Monica Tournoux, IDSA, event content team member
“Have to say, I had the best time at the Women in Design Deep Dive with IDSA in Columbus...it couldn’t have been more inspiring or motivating, and I got to meet and hang out with some pretty amazing people! Can’t wait for next year!”
- Joanna Celestina, IDSA, in-person attendee
“Thank you IDSA for a fantastic Women in Industrial Design conference! Thank you to all the wonderful and powerful women who shared their knowledge and experience through inspiring presentations. Thank you to all the remarkable women I was fortunate to spend the last 2 days networking with in Columbus. Y’all are incredible.”
- Kiki Redhead, IDSA, in-person attendee
"I have to share what a blast I had attending and speaking at the IDSA Women in Design Deep Dive conference! I met the coolest women, took tons of notes, and got to share a big part of myself with everyone in attendance. Thank you so much to IDSA for hosting such an amazing event, and to all my new friends and connections for welcoming me in with more open arms than I could have hoped for. Spending my 25th birthday today feeling refreshed and re-energized about my own potential, as well as the overall future of design with these incredible women leading it forward!”
- Deborah Lalush, speaker
“So glad to be part of the IDSA Women in Design conference, AND to be in person! Inspiring speakers, engaged attendees, energizing topics.”
- Maureen Carroll, IDSA, in-person attendee