Special Events Director, AIGA Philadelphia

This is a volunteer position
Start/End Date: July 2021 – June 2023


Founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, AIGA is now known simply as “AIGA, the professional association for design.” In 1981, a group of Philadelphia designers formed AIGA Philadelphia, the first local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. AIGA Philadelphia’s purpose is both integral and complementary to the national organization: to provide the highest standards within the profession and the business community and to stimulate interest and understanding of graphic design and visual communication through lectures, exhibitions, and other activities. We recognize diversity through professional backgrounds, years of practice, areas of professional experience, economic level, cultural background, age, ethnicity, place of origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and cognitive and physical abilities. 

AIGA is the profession’s oldest and largest professional membership organization for design—with more than 70 chapters and more than 18,000 members—we advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force.

For more information about AIGA Philadelphia, please visit us at https://philadelphia.aiga.org/.


The Special Events Director is responsible for leading two signature biennial AIGA Philadelphia events on alternating years: the Community Awards (including Fellows and Fresh) and the Philadelphia Design Awards


In an effort to celebrate our community and those local creatives making a positive impact, the Community Awards will expand on previous Fellow awards. The Community Awards will recognize outstanding creatives in various areas of influence and will include a community-focused award reception. The Special Events Director will lead the inaugural Community Awards, and will expand on previous Fellow Awards to conceive the program.

A central component of the Community Awards will be the recognition of the chapter’s Fellow. The Fellow program is a means of recognizing longtime members who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in our practice. The Special Event Director identifies qualifying members for this award and oversees the voting process.


AIGA Philadelphia invites designers to submit their work to a biennial awards competition, giving them the opportunity to present their work to a prestigious panel of internationally recognized judges. The Director gets a first-hand peek at the work, manages communication with the applicants and award-winners, and helps organize a reception and exhibition. 


  • Form and lead committees to produce Community Awards and Philadelphia Design Awards (alternating years for each event).
  • For the Community Awards
    • Identify categories (including Fellows and Fresh) and nominees
    • Oversee the nomination and voting process
    • Produce awards celebration
    • Coordinate all communications associated with the Awards and the celebration.
  • For the Philadelphia Design Awards
    • Source and direct production of program creative: call for entries, submission and judging platform, web graphics, catalog, signage
    • Contact and secure a panel of prestigious, internationally-recognized judges
    • Manage submission process and promotion of call for entries
    • Work with judges on reviewing submissions and selecting winners
    • Plan exhibition/event that will feature winning work
  • The Special Events Director will assist in the planning and production of the AIGA Philadelphia 40th Anniversary Celebration in the fall of 2021
  • All new board members will be expected to attend group anti-racism training within the first 90 days on the board.


  • The director is required to attend 8 – 10 board meetings per year and to submit a brief report before each meeting. A director may send a substitute if unavailable, or submit a detailed report prior to the meeting. Board meetings are generally held in the evenings during the week, in person or over video conference.
  • The director is required to attend 1 – 2 board retreats during the year, or to schedule a catch-up session with the president. Board meetings are typically conducted in person and will take a full weekend day.


  • You enjoy planning events, lectures, workshops, etc
  • You like to create strategies for better programming
  • You enjoy collaborating, mentoring, assisting, and supporting in the production of events
  • You are interested in facilitating meaningful professional events 
  • You are eager to contribute to the local creative community
  • Board members are required to become AIGA members to enjoy official standing with AIGA National; if access to membership is a barrier to entry, we will support you in securing membership


We are very excited to review your application. Please follow the steps below and you should hear from our team within 72 hours. All documents and questions should be submitted to Stef Sutton at ssutton@philadelphia.aiga.org.

  1. Letter of Intent: please submit a one-page letter of intent explaining why you are interested in the role and what makes you particularly qualified for the position. 
  2. Current Resume and Contact Information
  3. Two professional reference statements: may be current or former supervisors or colleagues. This is a short statement (250-500 words)  that speaks to the skills required for the role, and why the candidate is a fit.