Call for Lightning Talk Applicants

AIGA Austin is looking for emerging designers who want to share their perspective on the future of design with the community. Emerging designers includes all students and anyone 1-4 years into their career (with some wiggle room). If selected, you’ll craft a 10-minute lightning talk to share at Austin Design Week. You will be paired with a mentor to help you craft your talk and support you through the process.

Deadline to apply October 8th


The topic for Austin Design Week this year is ‘Futuring’. In keeping with the theme, AIGA Austin wants to highlight new voices on what they see as the future of design. This talk can take a number of approaches from design trends to workplace predictions. When filling out an application, we are only looking for a general idea of the topic you want to cover. You will have roughly a month to craft and finalize your talk.

The final event will be November 11th at 6:30 pm. We are still coordinating whether this will be an in-person event or remote due to changing dynamics with COVID. If in-person, the event will be outdoors.


If selected, you will be paired with one of the following mentors to guide you and help you craft your talk. Each of these mentors have experience in public speaking and are dedicated to being your resource.

Jimmy Luu

Jimmy is a designer and design educator based out of Austin, Texas where he is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design in the Department of Visual Studies at St. Edward’s University, and Co-founder of the collaborative design practice, Group Project.

As Director of Education for AIGA Austin from 2018-2020, he started a one-day conference for emerging designers called GROW (20192020). Jimmy currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors of DesignInquiry, a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in intensive team-based gatherings.

Bethany Sonefeld

Bethany is a designer that specializes in systems thinking, detail oriented design, and scalable enterprise solutions. Bethany has spent her career leading grass-roots efforts, consistently innovating and changing the way product organizations build products. She co-led the Carbon Design System team at IBM, who built and maintained the design system for IBM Cloud. At Cloudflare, she was the first designer on Cloudflare for Teams, building that product from the ground up before hiring a team of four.

Currently, Bethany is working as a Senior Product Designer at Duo Security while also building Create with Conscience, a space dedicated to educating and committing to designing healthier technology.  

She’s passionately curious, a cross-stitching queen, and is pretty much obsessed with her dog. You can learn more about Bethany and see her current projects at or give her a shout on Twitter @bsonefeld. 

Omari Souza

Omari is a first-generation American of Jamaican descent, raised in the Bronx NY. He is currently a professor at Texas State University teaching Communication Design. Before working at Texas State, Omari gained work experience with companies such as VIBE magazine, the Buffalo News, CBS Radio, and Case Western Reserve University. He received his BFA in Digital Media from Cleveland Institute of Art and his MFA in Design from Kent State University.

In September of 2020, Omari organized and moderated The State of Black Design, a virtual discussion that gained international recognition and attendance. In 2021, he organized a follow-on conference for students of color that focused on the intersection of race and practice. He has also participated in BIPOC Design History, a series focused on rewriting the course of design history, by teaching a class on Iterative Identity. Omari’s research explores the idea of perceptions, and how visual narratives influence culture, how we view ourselves and others around us.

Alejandra Del Taylor

Alejandra (Alex) Del Taylor is a bilingual art director, graphic designer, and illustrator with a passion for poking holes and bridging gaps. She earned her Bachelor’s in Fine Art at SCAD-ATL and has more than 8 years of experience in Advertising. She’s currently working as a Design Lead at Spiceworks/SWZD managing processes and bringing together cross-functional teams. Her passion revolves around leveraging her skills to create lasting change within her community and empowering others to do the same.

She has previously served as the lead organizer for Austin Design Week’s Design-a-Thon, where teams apply design thinking to real-time issues, collaborate with fellow designers, and get involved with actionable change. In addition Alex has both participated in and organized the AIGA Austin Changemaker Series, serving as the Co-Chair for the 2021 event. The Changemaker Series is specifically designed to assist local nonprofits in advancing their mission through design thinking.

By AIGA Austin
Published September 13, 2021