Valerie Craig • Instagram: @valeriejcraig

Valerie Craig is a designer and leader who brings brands to life through collaboration, curiosity, storytelling, and excellent design. Her passion is in building and shaping brands through design that is intentional, raises awareness, and delivers remarkable results. Valerie is the Creative Director at Customer Experience Automation leader ActiveCampaign. In this role, she leads strategic communication design that is impactful and beautiful to tell the ActiveCampaign story. Prior to ActiveCampaign, she led design at the industrial software company Uptake as Brand Director.

A passionate advocate of the design community, she serves as the President of the AIGA Chicago Board of Directors. Valerie lives in Chicago with her husband, Grant, and two tiny children, Jonah and Lucy.

Vice-President of Communications

Bianca Smith  • Instagram and Twitter: @biancapsmith

Bianca is a writer who marries personal anecdotes and colorful language to communicate compelling brand messages. As a trained journalist and editor, she is passionate about the entire scope of the creative process—from pitching a story idea through to creating a piece’s social media posts, she is invested in all facets of the projects she’s a part of. Bianca is currently a copywriter at One Design Company. Most recently, she edited Mouthwash magazine and was the managing editor of Echo Magazine—a nationally award-winning student-run publication—while she completed her BA in Magazine Journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

Vice-President of Community Engagement

Mary Foyder  • Instagram and Twitter: @milktummy

Mary loves to partner with clients to plan, envision and bring content to life. An award-winning interdisciplinary designer, brand strategist and IDEO alumnus with over 15 years of experience, Mary is versatile communication design leader who has worked with dozens of clients, from fortune 500 brands to top nonprofits. Her experience includes a diverse range of projects—from microfinance banking in rural Kenya to the creation and branding of a birth control support network for women. She has worked with a broad range of clients including, The Trust for Public Land, The University of Chicago, The Chicago Department of Public Health, American Express, Nike, Sara Lee, Bank of America, and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy.

No matter what the project, Mary believes in a Human Centered Design approach—great design starts with understanding the needs of individuals as well as organizations. Among the press and accolades Mary’s work has received, her work with Bedsider garnered an IDEA gold for service design and bronze for both research and design strategy, as well as a Core77 strategy and research award. Her work was also featured in the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

Vice-President of Diversity & Inclusion

Dave Pabellon

Dave Pabellon is a graphic designer. He constantly pursues endeavors that connect his graphic design practice with social empowerment through the studio and classroom environment. He has mentored and instructed in the non-profit sector, has taught at the university level, and lectures infrequently for professional design institutions and organizations.

Pabellon is currently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Dominican University and a design consultant under the moniker It is Just Dave LLC, with a focus on partnerships with cultural institutions and contemporary artists/organizations.

Vice-President of Education

Jo-Nell Sieren  • Instagram and Twitter: @jonellsieren

Jo-Nell Sieren is a photographer, designer, educator, and advisor. Currently she is an Internship and Career Advisor for the Career Center at Columbia College Chicago. She advises students majoring in Photography, Design, Art, Art History and Interactive Arts Media (IAM). In addition to this role, she is Adjunct Faculty for both Design and Photography departments. Jo-Nell also mentors and directs a small group of students each semester who create Frank Magazine, a digital publication available from the Apple App Store and created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). A graduate of the School of Visual Art in New York City, Jo-Nell’s professional background includes; working as a Photographer, Designer, Assistant Gallery Director, Curriculum Director and Instructor for a children’s art program.

Vice-President of Programming

Jen Lemerand • Instagram: @upsidedwnglsses

Jen is an idea generator with an infectious passion for design, who builds and motivates dynamic teams to solve design problems in unexpected, original ways. When it comes to smart design, Jen sees things differently, so she does things differently. She believes in taking a fresh look at creative, which is why people always ask if her glasses are upside-down. That’s what it takes to stand out – and leave a lasting impression. Her background includes roles leading designers, developers and writers as Creative Director with companies large and small, including Vis-à-vis Creative and Revelry Agency.

In 2012, Jen founded the Chicago chapter of SheSays, providing mentoring opportunities and educational / networking events for women in the creative industry. She’s also been known to break the ice at conferences such as HOW Design Live by inviting attendees to turn her into a “walking typography” experiment. When she is not being a crazy creative, you can find Jen biking the streets of Chicago, playing and writing original songs (often about her bike), or simply melting into the couch watching Netflix.

Co-Vice-President of the Mentor Program

Nicholas Daniel Phillips

Nick leads design research and experience design at Studio 2133 with his co-founder Sergio Marquina. He strives to approach every problem with empathy and humility making sure to always put the users’ needs first. As a result, he strives to translate human behavior into design decisions leveraging them as the framework to shape products and experiences that are both valuable and viable in the market. Nick received a Master of Science in Engineering Design Innovation from Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

He is very interested in the many methods and techniques of design research and how to utilize them to gain valuable insights. He is always open to discussing where the industry is headed and potential career paths with other designers from non-traditional backgrounds and career paths. After hours, Nick enjoys starting new hobbies and finding innovative ways to make sure the neighborhood rabbits don’t vandalize his garden.

Co-Vice-President of the Mentor Program

Leslie Presto

Chair of Education

Kelli Evans

Kelli Evans is a designer and educator with extensive experience working in Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and New York. Her work includes corporate identities, annual reports, brochures, packaging, point of purchase displays, signage, exhibits, mobile event design, web site design and animation. She received a BS in Graphic Design from the University of Cincinnati, an MFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and has two certificates from the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Basel, Switzerland.

Kelli has been teaching since 2008 and has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Lake Forest College, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at Loyola University Chicago.

Her ongoing areas of emphasis and research are: promoting interaction between the professional world and that of the student; the development of socially responsible graphic design; incorporating generative practices and devices in graphic design, which includes the tenets of movements such as the Oulipo, Surrealism, and the Situationists; and vernacular design of Punk flyers in the Midwest circa 1982–1988.

Programming Co-Chair

Buddy Boor • Instagram: @wpbpor

Buddy Boor is a designer with a passion for exploring the intersection of art and code. Curious about people and their environment, his favorite aspect of design is the requirement to dive deeply into outside disciplines. By day he runs Other Things Creative, a branding and interaction studio in Ravenswood.

Prior to starting Other Things, Buddy worked in interaction design at the agency Mightybytes and supported multiple publications at Tribune Interactive. He holds a BFA in Graphic Design and a BA in Advertising from Michigan State University. On the side he’s a passionate runner, illustrator, & podcast-listener.

rts. In her free time you’ll find her crafting, sketching, and reading.

Interactive Programming Co-Chair

Megan Jackson • Instagram: @megnicjack

Megan is a digital designer that utilizes their energized, organized mind to develop engaging solutions to creative problems. They create digital experiences at Mess while pursuing their passions in motion and package design whenever possible. Megan has experience designing for a variety of industries and mediums, as well as leading teams at the small-medium agencies they have worked.

Megan earned their Bachelor’s for their design chops back in 2014 with multiple honors and awards under their belt. Since college, Megan keeps those chops sharp regularly by participating in competitions, mentoring and volunteering with AIGA Chicago and discovering new tools to continue making better content and designs. The most notable competition they competed in was Pixels of Fury back in 2017 where they were first competitor to be selected from a small-sized agency.

Megan is Midwest born and raised on a healthy mixture of jokes, naturalistic hippie sh*t and emo music. Outside of design, they co-parent two squish-faced pups, Chowder and Flapjack. They can also be found traveling across the U.S. with their partner to tattoo conventions in their Plum Crazy Jeep Wrangler.

Interactive Programming Co-Chair

Michael Vaughn Green • Instagram & Twitter: @raptorsrevenge

Michael has been crafting digital experiences for over a decade. Passionate about design and FED, Micahel believes in empowering users with delight and discovery. He currently works on the internal design systems team at Conversant Media. There he leads the motion design practice and helps craft the visual experiences for the company’s web application offerings. You can find out more by visiting: Michael also teaches FED design and development at Columbia College and is co-founder of Night City Games; a small shop focused on designing experimental indie games. 

Michael has a background in leading the design and creative direction for web & app design interactive digital experiences, games and FED. Michael earned his Master’s degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2007. Since then he has worked for Disney Interactive, Salesforce and created a small “indie-darling” called GetClose, for the Nintendo Wii U. 

In his spare time, Michael loves “attempting” to draw on his iPad, obsess over horror films and practice his abysmal pinball skills at Logan Arcade. He has way too many Mondo posters.


Kelly Knaga • Instagram and Twitter: @kellyknaga

Kelly is an artist, designer, teacher, and always up for a great adventure.  After spending time on both coasts she believes Chicago’s creative community is one of the best. Kelly thinks that the small everyday moments are more incredible than the every once-in-awhile spectacular moments. And she believes that ordinary people can make extraordinary differences in the world.

You can often find Kelly in Andersonville or on an acre of land just outside of Chicago where she designs, paints and is building a small urban farm. When she’s not teaching at IU Northwest in Gary, Indiana, Kelly is busy advocating for Chicago’s creative community and arts education.