AIGA Event & Workshop Options

AIGA  designers are the heart, soul, and cornerstone for all of my work.

Those who commit to our professional association represents the best of the best about this industry. You are leaders committed to design at its highest value, and deserve to be the most generously compensated and prosperously thriving. I want to help make that a greater reality.


My involvement in AIGA began as a design student at Auburn when I was the founding Treasurer of a student group before there were official ones. I've had the honor of serving as a leader for AIGA Atlanta since 2002, including Membership Chair, Sponsorship Chair, Vice President, President (2005-2007) and the 2011 SEED Awards Chair. I've continued to advise and support our board through the years with consistent involvement in the Rise Up Mentorship Program both as a mentor and as part of the matching process. I currently serve as the Education Chair and Advisor to the AIGA Atlanta Student Board I created in 2006 and look forward to sharing that model with other chapters in the year ahead. I also served two terms on the National Nominating Committee from 2007-2009.


As BFA degreed designer first, I've used my design training and skills to differentiate myself as a creative recruiter turned business coach and speaker/trainer. I first transitioned to helping solopreneurs and business owners with sales during the downturn of 2001 when I discovered that even the most established agencies didn't have a proactive sales process to support their sustainability. We've experienced The Great Recession since and others will most certainly cycle through other downturns again, so my mission in life is to make my clients resiliently recession-proof.


I also apply my Masters in diversity and social change (officially Justice and Peace Studies) as an advocate for equity and diversity among designers, believing that the best skills I can help anyone learn are the ability to position intelligently and negotiate her/his/their value to the right buyers. It has been my experience that 99% of the designers I know struggle with selling themselves. However, I've also seen first-hand how the privilege that creates the reality where most of our leading studio owners are still white men contributes to women, non-binary individuals, people of color, people with disabilities, and others from financially disadvantaged backgrounds struggling a bit more. My other mission in life is to expand the pie/raise the tide for all boats/level playing fields as much as possible for all designers, so I remain active in both of Atlanta's D&I and Women Lead initiatives and supportive of Path to Impact.


Throughout the rest of 2019 and the first half of 2020, I'm available 8-19 days per month for travel to AIGA chapters to share my signature keynote, The Intention to Prosper. This talk is the next evolution of TheIntention to Profit which evolved from Name Your Niche. It is about inspiring designers to lose the angst and awkwardness about money and profit but building confidence and skill around selling value, whether to prospects and clients or employers and colleagues. It can be delivered either as a presentation/main event talk or as a limited attendance workshop...or, ideally, both because each event has proven to attract a slightly different audience.


Keynote: This 45-min interactive/conversational presentation addresses the challenges most designers face around believing in and negotiating profitable offers. It provides industry and market-specific research around average annual income and basic principles for rethinking the value of design conversation. It is useful for any designer from students to seasoned leaders, whether freelance, business owners, or employees. Everyone will take something away that can immediately enhance their very next value negotiation.


Investment & Revenue: There is no required speaker fee though chapters typically pay for travel, accommodations, and communal meals...$500-750, depending on distance, length of stay, and lead time for airline discounts (Southwest is usually the best option from Atlanta). The goal of this event is to cover all travel and venue expenses as at least a break-even. Suggested pricing for this event is $10-$20 for members and $25-50 for non-members.


27 x $20 = $500 / 41 x $20 = $750 breakeven with processing fees.


Workshop:  These intimate interactions are a mix of training and laser coaching, where participants get 20-30 minutes to address one specific issue for their business. For the first hour, participants will get an overview training on positioning, pricing, sourcing, research, and sales conversation techniques for prospecting new clients. For the remaining time,  individual participants will pick one business problem related to the overviews to solve. Hot-seat participation is optional and prioritized in registration order. Time typically allows for 8-10 hot-seats per workshop. When there are more than ten attendees, we address the most common problems in the room and then use follow-up calls to discuss specifics for individuals.


Depending on existing experience and clarity, ideas for this might include:

  • identifying an ideal niche or complementary collection of niches
  • identifying a most profitable project type, including pricing recommendations for market testing
  • sourcing actual prospective sales or recruiting leads in real-time
  • constructing and practicing a discovery sales conversation around ideal prospect and project
  • outlining a speaker presentation around expertise and niche

All participants will observe the other hot-seat experiences for collective learning and lead sharing. The goal of this work is to help individuals define how they are unique enough in the market to replace any sense of competition with collaboration for greater collective success.


For added value, each participant will leave the workshop with a 30-minutes individual coaching session scheduled by phone or ZOOM as a post-event follow-up.


Investment & Revenue: When the non-shared revenue of the keynote event covers expenses, these workshops work best as a 50/50 profit split at negotiable prices of $147 members and $297 non-members. Because time constraints limit attendance, these prices are recommended to ensure your most ambitious and invested business owners attend while also encouraging Supporter membership growth.


$147 x 10 = $1447 - estimated hard costs with no venue fees ($50 in online fees + $150 for communal lunch) =


$1227 / 2 = $623.50 profit split


Attendance and the preferred length of a workshop dictate one another as well as whether hot-seats are 20 or 30 minutes and if any are left out of hot-seat opportunities:

  • 9am - 1pm /10am - 2pm = 4 x 30 - 6 x 20
  • 9am - 2pm/10am - 3pm = 6 x 30 - 9 x 20
  • 9am - 3pm / 10am - 4pm = 8 x 30 - 12 x 20
  • 9am - 4pm / 10am - 5pm = 10 x 30 - 15 x 20
  • 9am - 5pm / 10am - 6pm = 14 x 30 - 18 x 20

Additional Opportunities: My goal is to visit every AIGA location possible before the next retreat. When time and space allow, a morning workshop can follow an evening presentation, or for small chapters, we can offer only the workshop. Below are explanations of both. There are a few other ways to expand the value of my travel to you at no/minimal additional cost. If booked as stand-alone events, then the chapter would cover travel, accommodations, and communal meals.


Intending a More Profitable AIGA, an event pricing and membership value workshop: The value conversation starts and ends with how AIGA as a professional organization leads its members around money conversations. Not all events have to be free, and few members should be making minimal membership investments. But we must be able to communicate enough value to justify their investment. As with clients, if you've been giving away value, you will need a strategy to retrain your attendees and members. When failing to charge for valuable content or communicate the value of membership, the chapter unintentionally reinforces perspectives of lack in the community.


If your chapter leaders struggle with selling value, let's add a 90-minute workshop on pricing and value conversations with chapter leaders while I'm there. I am also available for free phone consults with any chapter President, Treasurer, or Membership and Programming chairs/committees, as well as Conference and Contest leads.


Student Board Information Session: As presented at the 2019 Leadership Retreat, Atlanta has a unique and proven formula for engaging with the students, student groups/clubs (official and otherwise), faculty, and staff of our diverse mix of schools. Atlanta students run their board and plan their events, with support and oversight.



Through our Student Board, we also centralize communication and encourage collaboration while developing the skills and confidence of future leaders. I'm on a mission to share this model with any interested chapter, especially those where students comprise 30% or more of the chapter membership. Schedule a day or evening event in conjunction with my visit or a working meeting to help plan, promote, or launch your Student Board.


Student-Specific Job Search Presentation: If you have a significant student membership, we can also offer something very tailored for students during my visit, and I am available to keynote design school events, portfolio reviews, or mentorship events if you want to align a presentation with one of those.


*Content and promotion material templates for all standard AIGA promotion channels are available via DropBox to make hosting events quick and easy. I also have a WeWork Membership that allows for daytime room rentals when needed and available, but a design studio conference room also easily accommodates the workshop.


Planning & Lead Time: While more time to attract an audience is always better, don't rule out quick-turn events that fill blanks your programming calendar. We've had 20-30 attendees, many of them non-members, show up at past events with as little as 10-days to promote when I reached out to chapters announcing last-minute trips to their area.


CAC Collaborations: We can feasibly reduce expenses for smaller chapters by


scheduling in some variation of Tuesday PM/Wednesday AM, Wednesday PM/Thursday AM, Thursday PM/Friday AM across 2-3 geographically closely situated chapters.


Smaller, Newer, Struggling, and Remote Chapters: Don't let not having the numbers to create profitable events deter you. Let's get on a call and figure it out. I'll put on my Sponsorship hat to help you find the money, identify collaborators, and get creative with you in some other way about making it work.

Contact me at sb@sherrabell.com/404-575-4111 to discuss details and potential dates.


Dates Currenty Available: 
  • January 28-31 (tentatively scheduled for Florida chapters)
  • February 10-13, 19-21, 25-28
  • March 10-13, 16-20, 24-27, 30-31
  • April 8-10, 16-17, 20-24, 28-30
  • May 1, 5-8, 12-15, 18-22, 26-29
  • June 2-5, 9-12, 15-19, 23-26, 29-30
  • July 1-2, 7-10, 14-17, 20-24, 28-31


Already on my schedule:

  • January 23-26, Atlanta hosting PROFECTUS, sales and self-promotion event
  • February 4-7, Nassau Bahamas
  • February 8, AIGA Atlanta Pin-Up Show Exhibition
  • March 4-5, Raleigh for another event so going early for THRIVE on February 29
  • April 2-4, Columbus, GA for CREATIVE SOUTH
  • End of April/Early May, Orlando (dates announced in November)


Where I've already presented:
  • August 24, 2019 - Next Gen Leaders Leading Now, AIGA Leadership Retreat

(presentation on Atlanta's Student Board)

 

Image Source: https://www.aiga.org/start-a-new-chapter
Image Credit: Keir DuBois