GROW Speakers

Lightning Talks

Esther Amaku

Visual Designer, frog

Esther is an interdisciplinary designer and illustrator who is based in Austin, TX. As a first generation Nigerian American, she is passionate about telling stories from underrepresented communities and is enamored by the ways through which design is able to inform human nature in nuanced, intuitive ways. She currently works at frog design as visual designer and holds a BA in Design from the University of Texas at Austin.

Flor Barajas

Graduate Student, Texas State University

Flor Barajas is a communication designer and graduate student in the MFA in Communication Design at Texas State University based in Austin, Texas. Her focus is to utilize her interpersonal and communication skills, as well as her Spanish/English fluency, to help businesses connect with their community through the development of user-centered digital/print marketing strategies, brand and product evolution, and social media awareness. Her work has led her to talk in Austin Design Week and the SXSW Innovation Lab. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from Texas State University.

Ryan Hicks

Design Student, The University of Texas

Ryan is a multidisciplinary graphic designer and BFA Design candidate at The University of Texas at Austin with a focus on identity systems and brand design. For the last four years, Ryan has interned both in-house (BuzzFeed) and in agency settings (Preacher), and has crafted brands and experiences for clients such as Juice Society and Madewell.

Justin Reyna

Product Designer, Handsome

Justin is a product designer at Handsome, a holistic experience design agency in Austin. He’s worked with clients like Keller Williams, TaxAct, and AMC to craft beautiful, thoughtful, and engaging digital experiences.

Yocelyn Riojas

Graduate Student, Texas State University

Yocelyn Riojas is a Latinx designer, illustrator, and resistance artist passionate about empowering her community by creating a voice for people of color. Her work depicts themes of Latinx culture, women empowerment, and issues surrounding immigration. Yocelyn currently lives in Austin, Texas and is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design at Texas State University. Recently, she has been gaining momentum amplifying political messages in support of people of color through art.

Daniel Seong

Senior Designer, Preacher

Daniel Seong is a graphic designer focusing on brand identity development, art direction, and illustration. He grew up in Houston, Texas and graduated from Texas State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Design. Currently, he is a senior designer at Preacher, a full creative service agency in Austin. Over the past three and a half years at Preacher, he had worked on a wide array of brands, from small startups to household names like Knob Creek, Yeti, and Bumble. Besides graphic design, he enjoys hiking, fly fishing, bourbon, and good memes.

Kristin Taylor

User Research Coordinator, Office of Design & Delivery, City of Austin

Kristin Taylor is a visual artist and user experience designer based in East Austin. She currently works at the Office of Design and Delivery for the City of Austin. When she’s not trying to apply design thinking process to civic contexts she paints, plays soccer, and eats cheeseburgers

Jamaal Tribune

Design Student, St. Edward's University

Jamaal is interested in the idea of the human thought and its potential to reorganize notions of reality through designed artifacts. His work so far often seeks to reveal the intentions embedded within systemic and social conventions—either honoring or challenging the implicit forms of reasoning that yielded such conventions. As a kama’aina, a child of Hawaiian land, he is determined to devise design methodologies that regard social wellness and the natural environment as integral stakeholders in the design process.‬

Victoria Valadez

Freelance designer / Producer, E4 Youth

Victoria Valadez is a freelance designer in Austin. She specializes in communications and visual design, with projects spanning from graphic and web design, to copywriting/copyediting, and project management. She uses creativity and tireless work ethic to solve problems and create positive impact. Victoria has lent her enthusiastic and human-centered approach to a handful of Austin nonprofits, most recently to E4 Youth as Producer. She proudly served in Peace Corps Madagascar from 2009–11. If she could be any punctuation symbol, she would absolutely be an exclamation mark, no question.

Edith Valle

Visual Designer, Deeds Not Words

Edith is a graphic designer and artist who actively works to serve her community. Since graduating from St. Edward's in 2016, she has been involved in the local art scene painting murals, being involved in community art projects and organizing workshop and lectures about design and publications for the Austin public. She currently works at the non-profit Deeds Not Words working to engage young women through art and advocacy.

GROW Speakers

Keynote Presentation

Indhira Rojas

Founder, Anxy Magazine

Indhira Rojas is the founder of Anxy Magazine and creative director and principal at Anagraph. For over a decade she has worked in the intersection of branding, editorial, and interaction design in the tech and publishing sector. Throughout her career she has collaborated with businesses and organizations large and small, such as The Bold Italic, Once, Modern Farmer, Atlas Obscura and the online platform Medium.

GROW Speakers

Track 1 Panelists:
Getting Started

Ivan Alonso

Brand Designer, Handsome

Ivan Alonso is an Austin based designer focused on shaping brands and experiences at Handsome. Outside of the studio, he is passionate about working with cultural organizations and building community. You'll most likely find him with a camera in one hand and a coffee in the other.

Kelly Cromack

Designer, FÖDA Studio

Kelly is a multi-disciplinary designer currently working at FODA studio in Austin. She is a native Austinite and is passionate about designing brands that have great people behind them and honest products and service coming out of them. She works on both local and national brands and most enjoys work that lets her go from the very start to the very end, collaborating with co-workers and clients to find the thing, place, or quality that makes a brand the most true and unique thing it could be.

Kenzie Haynes

Senior Product Strategist, Accomplice

Kenzie is a Creative Strategist focused on digital & immersive experiences. Collaborating at notable Austin creative hubs including Chaotic Moon, Fjord, GSD&M, and, currently, Accomplice, she has built market-leading products for the State of California, Royal Bank of Canada, Seton Family of Hospitals, and many more. She is the host of the creative strategy podcast It’s Worth Doing Right and is a passionate advocate of mentorship and mindful design.

John Norton

Co-founder / Designer, The Graphic Standard

John Norton is one of three founders of The Graphic Standard, a high-fidelity digital design studio in Austin, TX. John has over 12 years of digital design experience that includes 3 years in media/advertising, 5 years designing multi-channel e-commerce experiences and the remainder designing digital products. John has worked with companies like; Delta, Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Golden State Warriors, Patrón and Audi.

M.C. Altman

Lead Talent Program Advisor, USAA

MC has over eight years of experience in the recruiting industry with a focus on identifying digital, marketing and creative talent. She launched her career at a staffing company, The Creative Group, where she worked with a wide range of companies and industries to match individuals of all levels to their ideal employer. She joined USAA two years ago and has since launched a revised sourcing and recruiting process for the new Chief Design Office headquartered in downtown Austin.

GROW Speakers

Track 2 Panelists:
Navigating Your Career

RM Harrison

Career Pivot Consultant, RM HARRISON

RM Harrison is a career pivot consultant, who specializes in helping ambitious women navigate career change to cultivate fulfilling, sustainable success. She guides women through redefining their career paths to better align with their values; and helps them strategically transition into the next chapter without having to start over from scratch.

She is the proud Co-President of the Ellevate Network Austin chapter. When she isn’t working, you can find her out brunching, people-observing, and scouting for the best craft beer around Austin.

AJ Joplin

Lead Design Thinking Facilitator & Experience Designer, USAA

AJ is a creative analytic living at the nexus of design and business. As a persuasive, resourceful leader AJ leverages collaborative decision making frameworks like Design Thinking to facilitate strategic decisions that balance innovation and pragmatism. AJ pushes the humans in organizations to think beyond the status quo and beyond themselves. Her flexible, entrepreneurial mindset has awarded her a successful track record of making impactful changes within organizations like IBM, USAA, and entrepreneurial communities.

Bryan Keplesky

Creative Director, C3 Presents

Bryan oversees creative design & brand strategy for C3’s portfolio of music festivals, including Lollapalooza Global, Voodoo Fest, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and more. With 15 years of experience in the disciplines of design, art direction, and publishing, Bryan’s projects have included the brand development of Austin-born institutions such as Birds Barbershop, Verb Hair Care Products, Fun Fun Fun Fest, KUTX, and Coldtowne Theater. For almost a decade, Bryan published the underground magazine Misprint with two friends, writing countless articles and designing all 21 issues.

Steven Smith

Product Designer and Education Facilitator, USAA

Steven Smith is a product designer, educator and mentor. He leads the development of a design language system for the Human-Centered Design Practice Team at USAA and teaches undergraduate design students at St. Edward’s University. He is passionate about helping junior designers deepen their craft, develop an authorial approach to their work and use their powers for good.

Zac Taylor

Film Director, Fjord

Zac is a Film Director focused on storytelling, invoking equal parts style and substance. Leading with rhythm and the celebration of life, Zac has an expansive catalogue of award-winning short films, music videos, and commercial work for brands including the Golden State Warriors, Marriott, American Girl and Facebook.

Conference Overview