AIGA Names Julie Anixter Executive Director

Julie Anixter has been named the next executive director of the AIGA, the professional association for design.  Anixter will take office right after New Year’s Day, filling the role vacated by Richard Grefé, who will step down from the post at the end of 2015, following two decades in the role. The announcement was made by Su Mathews Hale, president of the national board of directors of the organization as well as a senior partner at Lippincott. The search committee was chaired by former AIGA national board president Sean Adams of AdamsMorioka and assisted by the executive search firm of Isaacson, Miller.

An advocate for the power of design for over 20 years, Anixter’s career has spanned business, education, and the public sector. She boasts global experience working with world-class brands and institutions including Chanel, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, GE, P&G, Roche, and the U.S. Military. Anixter has experience in many facets of the creative and business disciplines, including consulting, curation, business development, education, management, marketing, product, service and UI/UX development, and R&D, in the process collaborating with leading designers and design supporters around the world.

Said Mathews Hale: “Design is a powerful force in every facet of the creative and business disciplines, and in Julie, we found a leader who can be a connective thread across our increasingly diverse community of designers, innovators, educators, and advocates. I am thrilled to have her join us and help build on our success and pave the way for our future.”

Said Anixter: “I am truly excited to work with the AIGA board, staff, chapters, members, and all designers to continue to amplify our thought leadership and influence on the profession of design and society-at-large, so that design is recognized as the force for good that it is; ensuring that the craft of design is valued, the discipline is taught more broadly, and the expert use of design helps us all navigate our information-laden world with greater ease.”

Most recently, Anixter served as principal at Think Remarkable consultancy, which she also founded, as well as co-founder and managing partner at Innovation Excellence, a large crowd-sourced innovation blog and learning community, and executive in residence at the Disruptor Foundation. Throughout her career, Anixter has helped organizations and clients anticipate disruption and collaboratively develop strategies to adapt to the changing world.

AIGA membership is currently more than 25,000, with 70 volunteer-led chapters​ ​across the U.S. as well as several global affiliates. Among other changes planned for the organization’s second century, the AIGA Design Conference, the centerpiece programming of the national organization’s event calendar, plans to move to an annual schedule.

Additionally, a fresh strategic direction has been developed focused on members and chapters, an endowment has been established for the long-term strength of the association, and the national office staff moved to new offices in the historic Woolworth Building of lower-Manhattan. Anixter is anticipated to add a powerful presence to an organization centered around the creativity, energy and enthusiasm of its thousands of members and empowered local chapters.

Photo credit: John Madere for AIGA