Alexandra Harcha-Montes

Alexandra Harcha-Montes is a multidisciplinary design professional, born and raised in Lima, Peru, and based in Chicago. She is a Principal of Design at Newell Brands, a consumer goods global corporation. She joined Newell Brands in 2017 as a Creative Manager, leading a team of graphic designers focused on packaging design in the Outdoor and Recreation division with brands such as Coleman, Contigo, Puddle Jumper, amongst others. Today, she is a Principal in the Advanced Design team, leading omnichannel design projects for all brands across the Newell portfolio including Prismacolor, Oster, Rubbermaid, Crockpot, Yankee Candle, Breville, Calphalon, etc. She is deeply invested in D&I initiatives, and chairs committees in three different employee resource groups.

Prior to joining Newell Brands, Alexandra has held roles as Art and Creative Director, in organizations ranging from award-winning advertising agencies, universities, start-ups, publishers, newsrooms, and her own independent design studio. Her expertise crafted in different design paths from digital, environmental, to print and everything in between.

Previous company roles include Texas Tech University, Curiosity Advertising, GoSun, The Amarillo Globe-News, Cincinnati State, with clients such as P&G, CINTAS, Lenscrafters, Dean’s Foods, Luxottica, TruMoo, Mayfield Creamery, MedVet, amongst others.

Volunteering, social justice initiatives, sustainability, and contemporary art take a very important space in her life. She has been a board member of AIGA Cincinnati chapter, a mentor in the AIGA mentoring program, and has served in the boards of several arts and community centered non-profit organizations over the years, including the Contemporary Art Center (Cincinnati) and Pones. She has deep passion for teaching
and mentoring, which she has fulfilled for 11 years as a museum docent at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, where she chaired the Docent Council.

Other personal passions include food making, food styling, traveling extensively and as  often as she can, fashion, documenting life, Peruvian hairless dogs, performance art…none of these in any particular order. She dreams of being a chef and opening a tiny restaurant in a faraway beach.

hybrid strategy and design leadership role and was mentored by Dawn Hancock. Earlier in his career, he held in-house positions such as Art Director in a leading publication house, and Designer in a renown Chicago hospitality organization. His BFA from 2003 is in Visual Communications from the Illinois Institute of Art, (formerly known as the Ray Vogue School of Art). During the final year of his BFA, Nick held a full-time position as a designer for the school’s department of admissions while he also waited tables at a biome-themed restaurant. Nick Adam is still paying the loans on both of these degrees. Chicago’s underground punk, rave, and graffiti-writing subcultures of the 1990’s pointed Nick to a life in design.

His work is archived in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, the Newberry Library, The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Fleet Library at RISD, Design Museum of Chicago, and the Chicago Design Archive.

Vice-President of Community Engagement

Nacho Montiel (she/her) 

Bio coming soon!


Community Engagment Chair

Irina Goldman
Instagram: @igdesignspace

Irina switched careers from dance to design and graduated (for the second time) from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Graphic Design. While studying there, she had the opportunity to work with a variety of industries as a designer, from musical theater to tech companies. Irina also found her love for AIGA’s community while at Columbia and became a part of the AIGA Columbia leadership team as Social Media Director.

Utilizing her vastly different experiences, Irina is now a multifaceted graphic designer that thrives in creating brand materials ranging anywhere from print to animation. She loves how motion, layering, and composition can come together to form one distinct idea. With her background in dance performance, she aims to bring designs to life in a dynamic and unexpected way. She currently works as a Creative Studio Designer at Cramer-Krasselt, owner of the home bakery Catto’s Kitchen, and is a board member of the Chicago Graphic Design Club.”

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Chair

Judith Mayer (she/her)
Instagram: @judithmayercreative

Judith Mayer is a designer and illustrator—born and raised in the Midwest and the daughter of an immigrant. After working at several Chicago design firms, she started her own practice in 1998.

Judith’s work is influenced by her love of mid-century modern and pop art and has been published in over 40 books and magazines, including Communication Arts, Uppercase Magazine, HOW Magazine, Graphic Design USA, and LogoLounge. She’s also a member of Crush Illustration Collective.

Creating fine art is a part of her practice. Recent projects include painting a mural at a residency in Costa Rica and representing Illinois in a collaborative 19th Amendment flag design, displayed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C.

Judith earned a BFA from Ball State University; has served as Vice President of Marketing for South Shore Arts for 18 years; served as Professional Programs Director for Society of Typographic Arts; and served 6 years as a Plan Commissioner for the Town of Highland.

Education Chair

Ola Kapustka

Ola is an academic advisor, instructor, and Visual Communication student at Loyola University Chicago. Though new to the design industry, her work with undergraduate students has ignited her creativity to find captivating, efficient ways to communicate information through the lens of accessibility and inclusion.

She earned a BA in Applied Psychology with a Gender and Women Studies minor from University of Illinois at Chicago and an MA in School Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University.

Before joining First and Second Year Advising at Loyola University Chicago in 2019, Ola worked as a Career Coordinator where she was able to assist students in surveying different majors, careers, and opportunities through the lens of self-exploration.

When she is not advising, she is mocking up a new design or taking care of her ever-growing collection of plants.