When I'm not designing, I use my free time to volunteer with design organizations to foster community engagement and discuss design and its future.
In February 2021 I had the opportunity to share as a guest with Cells and Pixels about my work in the Claims Tech team and with the LGBTQ+ ERG at Lyft with collegues from Lyft's Product Team. You can listen to the podcast below, or watch the video on instagram with the link. Cells and Pixel's Interview on Instagram
Cells and Pixels podcast is extracted from a weekly talk show on Instagram Live hosted by Koji Pereira, first gen asian-latino immigrant, Head of Design, Lyft Business (ex-Google) in Silicon Valley. The guests are range of professionals, scholars and authors that talk about product, UX, UX research, product design, inclusion and diversity. Hear from people who create products that we love.
“All these brave and eloquent storytellers shared vulnerable stories, full of emotions and resolve. They shared how they overcame obstacles and got to be where they are today in their design careers. The stories were full of inspiration and encouragement. They were human, and relatable.”
From 2015 to 2019, I was the Branding & Operations Director for fresh2design, a Austin, TX based meetup group for up-and-coming designers. We had at the time over 3500 members and still growing. As the Branding Director I've worked on the new brand strategy that launched at our 3rd anniversary party in September 2018. As the Operations Director I've worked on defining processes to scale the organization as well as leading the new efforts and strategies that helped define the future of the organization. 
The massive reach of the fresh2design member platform also allowed me to host two very different types of event, a software education panel, and a storytelling event.
The following blog recaps highlight the content in more detail:
• Adobe XD’s event "Evolution of the Design Process" during the the week of SxSW Interactive
• LGBTQ Voices in Tech storytelling event
On December 2018 we hosted the Huracane Harvey’s Relief Pin Show to raise funds and help those affected in Houston, TX. Proceeds were sent to the Heart to Heart International foundation. 
Before the pandemic, we launched fresh2design SF - meetup here! An effort I hope to continue once things return to normal. I’m hopeful for 2021 and all of the new things that are coming for fresh2design SF. Stay tuned!
“I wanted to explore areas that are relevant to the current state of design and user experience in the digital world as we expand into new interfaces and gestural interactions beyond our phone screens.”
As the AIGA Austin Chair for the Small Talks series, I worked to elevate the program by partnering with industry leaders in the community, increasing attendance and interest, and keeping the content fresh and exciting.
UX for New Tech Series discussed the evolution of design as it moves away from phone screens.
The following blog recaps highlight the content in more detail:
• "Wearables" at Under Armor
• "Omni-Channel Design" at Mutual Mobile
• "Integrated Reality" at argodesign
My last event in 2018 focused on “Designing for Diversity” and was hosted by R/GA. We discussed initiatives within design for employees in cross-cultural teams working for global brands.
"What an incredible week and it was all due to your efforts. What you all pulled off was an exceptional year and I can't tell you how happy the community is about it, so congratulations!
~Candice Digby / ADW Co-Founder
In 2017 I was the Workshops and Education Programs lead coordinator for Austin Design Week. That year the conference ran on the week of November 6th to the 10th. 
My job was to coordinate 30+ events and manage their respective hosts to facilitate a smooth successful experience during the months leading up to, and during, the week of the event.
Austin Design Week's mission is to bring together all different verticals and sectors of Austin design - to showcase and celebrate their work, and invite everyone to participate. There were events happening all week, from early morning workshops, afternoon studio tours, and evening events.
"It is a common practice in human-centered design to cast a wide net during the discovery stage, releasing all bias assumptions. In this way we objectively developed an objective view of the organization. Not only did we learn what the organization structure was like, but also their predisposition, challenges and joys. We helped them see, from this unbiased point of view,  how they could evolve and grow. This is our duty as designers: to utilize the power of design for good."
In July 2017, I was featured on AIGA National panel on Diversity & Inclusion, where I presented my Human-centered design and data visualization work with the non-profit organization Out Youth broadcasted to the large AIGA member base nationwide.
If you have a good idea for a panel, or you represent a company that would like to get involved, let's chat.
message me on Linkedin or twitter: @artawake