AIGA WI 2019 President’s Letter

Alli Butler (Pfeil), AIGA Wisconsin President


Hey Milwaukee! Hey Madison, Green Bay, Racine, Eau Claire… Hey Wisconsin!

Your tribe for design is in full effect, and we are incredibly excited to see what we get to accomplish in the days ahead! So many groups and organizations (including AIGA) have some big stuff coming up in 2020. It’s an exciting time to be a Wisconsinite!

So, whadya say we kick this thing off with some transparency? This past summer, when the idea of “Alli – The next AIGA-WI President” was first introduced to me, it was most certainly not in the plans for my foreseeable future. I had to get married, change jobs, make a career shift, keep my dog alive, not kill another succulent… clearly, there were things I had to do. But, when I did start to seriously consider being called “Madam President” (btw, no one ever calls me this), I was overwhelmed with self-doubt, fear of failure, not living up to expectations, overcommitting, and on and on and on. So, as I worked toward accepting my fears (“leaning into them” I like to say) and not letting fear make decisions for me, I talked with a lot of people – mentors, other AIGA Presidents, colleagues, friends, teammates, family, strangers, my dog Lady (yes, she’s still alive). I exhausted the possibilities. I exhausted myself! Looking back, I could have saved myself (and a ton of others) some exhaustion had I been able to read between the lines of people’s encouragement. Because between the lines was the totally-qualified-Alli that others saw in me. Lesson learned – rather than say, “Hey, thanks! I just don’t think it’s the right time / I just don’t think I can.”  try to say “Hey, thanks! I’m so glad you see me that way.” Learn to read between the lines of other peoples encouragement because there inlies self-confidence!

With that insight, let me introduce myself. Hi. I’m Alli. Alli Butler (formerly known as Alli Pfeil “file”), and I am pumped to be your President. I fundamentally believe in AIGA’s mission and commitment to all creatives, because without this group, I literally would not be where I am today – personally and professionally. The opportunities this organization has offered me continue to be irreplaceable. From meeting Anne at Aquent at an early morning AIGA-coffee-thing back in 2012 (got my first gig at Kohls thanks to her) to being a Volunteer Team Lead at the AIGA National Conference (AND meeting Chris Do, Debbie Millman, Jessica Hische, Michael Beirut… still dying, too cool), being a passionate, active member of AIGA is seriously amazing. I also believe that my presidency bears some additional significance.  Since the 2008 resurgence of AIGA-WI (lead by President Emeritus Amy Decker), I am the first-elected female President of our Wisconsin Chapter, and this is bad-ass – what an honor! I believe this is an example of how important it is to foster relationships that empower career opportunities for women. Additionally, AIGA Wisconsin is currently powered by a female-majority board. We are all honored to be a leading example and active participant of this change. Thank you to every man and woman who has paved the way for us to experience this shift, and thank you to the countless Milwaukee organizations who are also committed to embracing our diversity and working toward a more inclusive community.

Throughout the past 4 years of my time on the board, I’ve worked alongside many passionate, generous men and women committed to building a healthy and effective board. Many came before us and many will follow, but I believe that the groundwork we’ve laid has set a precedent — a precedent of potential, growth, perseverance, and belief. AIGA will continue with vigor because of the dedication, time, and talents of passionate individuals who believe in the power of design.

Without the continued support and constant encouragement of my fellow board members (past and present), as well as many leaders and creative industry influencers, I would not feel nearly as confident and excited to lead our chapter into the next two years of programming, celebrations, and events. Overall, our mission is to advance design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. So, throughout the next two years, AIGA-Wisconsin will focus our time and talents around the following:

We Will Be Present.

We plan to attend community events as a board, and continue to encourage our membership to join. We want to participate in all the great workings of our community. Let us know what’s happening, and we’ll be there to support it!

We Will Nurture Relationships.

Organizations in our community are already doing remarkable work. We want to help amplify their influence and impact in any way we are able.

We Will Empower All.

It is our goal to act as a catalyst to unite our community with design thinking and the creativity of our network. Everyone is a creative, and everyone deserves to explore the possibilities the creative industry has to offer!

All this said, I have an ask of each and everyone of you – connect with us! We can only be as present, active, and helpful as we know how. Our membership and supporters are vast. Use our network to amplify your passions and initiatives. We will participate in, nurture and empower everything you’ve all so brilliantly initiated.

Whether you’re a design enthusiast, student, freelance designer, in-house designer, design educator, design thinker, business owner — no matter who you are, you’re one of us.

Your AIGA-WI President,

Alli Butler (Pfeil)

By AIGA Wisconsin
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