AIGA Atlanta Board of Directors
Dio Jensen, Co-president
After a few years of practicing accounting as a CPA, Dio decided to change her career path and follow her passion for design. She feels this was one of the best decisions she has ever made and is now happy providing her design and illustration services as Dio Jensen Design. She also teaches design at Miami Ad School, and loves to mentor young creatives. Dio was featured in GDUSA as one of 2020’s Responsible Designers to Watch after she co-founded AIGA Unidos (a multi-chapter collaboration seeking to create a space to empower and celebrate creatives with a Latinx and Hispanic cultural backgrounds). If you don’t find Dio at work or working on her personal projects, you will find her strolling down the streets of Reynoldstown with her husband and adorable pups.
Katie Bryl, Co-president
Katie Bryl is a creative professional – Senior Designer at Arketi Group by day, co-President of AIGA Atlanta by night. In her spare time, she runs her small business, Brylliant Design LLC. She loves the Atlanta design community, and has been an active member of AIGA since 2015. Prior to her term as co-President, she served the chapter in roles including Programming Chair and Vice President. When she’s not working, she can usually be found hitting the tennis courts or taking her dog Moose for a walk. Otherwise, she’s searching for new and exciting travel destinations in her hunt for the world’s best donut – the more sprinkles, the better. Katie has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art & Design.
Katie Obrecht, Secretary
Katie is a Senior Creative Director at Leap, a multi-disciplinary design agency in metro Atlanta, where she works collaboratively with clients, photographers and vendors to develop strategic design solutions. As an AIGA member, Katie has dedicated her professional free time to growing the creative industry through active participation and board appointments. She also serves on the Events Committee for The Atlanta Ad Club and as a Board of Trustees member for The Etowah Scholarship Foundation. When she is not working or volunteering, Katie enjoys family time, global travel, live music, water sports, sci-fi novels, chai tea lattes, and searching for the perfect lobster roll. Katie is an Atlanta native living in the metro area with her family and Boston Terrier, Ruthie.
Patrick Richardson, Treasurer
Patrick Richardson is the Vice President of Accounting for Intown Suites, an Atlanta based extended-stay hotel company. He leads a large team that is constantly looking for ways to optimize and improve existing processes to more accurately and effectively communicate financial information. Patrick is always looking for new experiences and meeting new people, which is how he found his way to AIGA. When he is not working, you will find him traveling, cycling, enjoying live music, watching sports, trying new restaurants, and attempting to imitate BBQ grill YouTube stars. Patrick and his wife live in Buckhead with their 10 year old Toy Yorkie Poodle.
Tiffany Ricks, Business of Design Chair
Tiffany is a North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University alum, currently pursuing her Master of Professional Studies in the Business of Art and Design at MICA. She has spent the last five years working in community development through an Atlanta-based nonprofit, Hue Collective, Inc. she co-founded with several other creatives to spearhead the annual Hue Design Summit. Tiffany has demonstrated success developing growth strategies for small firms, building effective public & private partnerships, and advocating for employee belonging and equity-centered improvements. Her high regard for design as a practice extends to her personal portfolio of creative branding projects for emerging businesses. In August 2021, she joined the Museum of Design Atlanta’s team as Community Engagement Manager to develop adult programming. She enjoys hiking, vinyl collecting, and spending time at home with her family.
Tiffany Prater, Communications Chair
Tiffany Prater is a Filipino graphic designer who teaches at the University of North Georgia. Her teaching pedagogy explores visual communication practices, social design, and collaborative work strategies. In addition, her experimentation with various media such as hand-lettering, type design, letterpress printing, and silkscreen printing informs her design practice. Tiffany’s clients include the MoyaMoya Foundation, Indiana Coalition for Public Education – Monroe County, Bogues Consulting Group, and 350 Deschutes, to name a few. She enjoys the weekend with her partner and two dogs, Coco-Bean and Ivy-Blu. She is also known for pulling off a disguise of her ‘identical twin.’ Tiffany earned her Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Indiana University Bloomington.
Joe Kang, Diversity & Inclusion Co-Chair
Joe is the Senior Project Manager and Global Resource Manager at Edelman and actively involved in the community with mentorship programs and networking within the artistic and advertising industries. He also sits on the Steering Committee Board of Directors for Edelman’s Diversity and Inclusion Asian employee network called Boundless. His guilty pleasures are music, film, sports, cooking, food porn, fashion, retro sneakers, and dogs. His super power is interpersonal communication that allows him to tap into his inner parent, coach, babysitter, and psychologist to manage clients, music artists, and creative marketing teams. The vast array of management experience that he possesses helps him communicate in a professional and efficient manner with all types of personalities that instills trust, which is vital to long term working relationships. He finds inspiration in other creatives and bringing like-minded people together to make cool things happen.
Edwin Villalba, Membership Chair
Edwin is a Senior Graphic Designer at Georgia Power and has experience working with many clients including Disney, CVS, Citizens Bank, SMU, Chick-Fil-A, Octavius Marsion, Dillon Burnside, and many others. Edwin Villalba is a Mexican-born, Texas-raised, Atlanta-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Atlanta. Being a son of Mexican parents, an intense work ethic was taught at a young age and it is something he has carried with him to this day. As a strong believer in the importance of brand identity, Edwin enjoys helping small businesses and start-ups with building their brand. He enjoys working with non-profit organizations and community outreach through design. Edwin designs with purpose and integrity and brings simply sick creativity that navigates change. Edwin enjoys going to the Masquerade to listen to bands and jumping into the mosh pit. He enjoys food, watching shows and movies along with gaming. No, Literally, Edwin and his boyfriend have two big screens next to each other to game together. Together they have the two adorable fur babies Flynn and Floyd.
James Harrill, Education Chair
James Harrill is a Design Lead at Goods & Services, an educator for the M.AD School of Ideas and Furman University Master of Strategic Design program. He is an alumnus of the Portfolio Center & M.AD School of Ideas. James is a contributing photographer for Getty Images, a Community Group Leader for Buckhead Church, and an incoming board member for the Advertising for Change organization. James focuses on Human-Centered Design, leveraging empathy and his desire to better understand different perspectives. He is a cancer survivor and uses his experience and survivorship as a driver to relate to people and experiences on a deeper level. He excels at gathering and invigorating groups of people behind a mission. He has had the opportunity to work with diverse client partners across industries, creating genuine and successful relationships. James’ mission is to make clients feel like partners and empowered by the work his team delivers. James is passionate about travel and making life experiences with his wife of 7 years, Sarah, and herding their two mischievous cats!
Stephanie Grendzinski, Head of High School Initiatives
As an Educational leader and Design professional, Stephanie is actively building the next generation of creative leaders. Her background in design and higher education has given her the skills to achieve results and influence change. Stephanie has a track record of building a talented instructor network, an innovative and leading-edge curriculum, and cultivating relationships with national and global organizations to connect student outcomes to career opportunities and professional success. Stephanie is a strong advocate for creating awareness of creative communications education with untapped youth. She currently sits on the Atlanta Public Schools’ Career Technical Agricultural Education (CTAE) Advisory Board. She works closely with the Work-Based Learning Liaisons to provide resources, developmental programs, and opportunities for the design and industry adjacent education pathways. In 2019, AIGA Atlanta created the High School ED committee to support these initiatives.
Lucas Alvarez, In-House Chair
Lucas Alvarez is the Design Director of Governance & Accountability Institute. He focuses his passion on creating meaningful designs for brands to advance their understanding of sustainability strategy within a wide range of fields. He has close to a decade of experience in developing brand strategy and creative that connects people to the design to create a lasting impact. Lucas’ work has included a wide range of B2B and B2C branding projects — from community districts, such as Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, to creating internal campaigns explaining complex processes for Coca-Cola Enterprise. This wide breadth of experience helps to inform his process in building creative that fits the client’s specific needs. Lucas holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Georgia State University and stays active in his community. In his free time, Lucas takes his skills in design to work on a passion project, such as the collaborative development of the abstract strategy game Hermetica.
Crystal Petersen, Mentorship Co-chair
Crystal is a Senior Graphic Designer at Rhyme & Reason Design and a current resident of Midtown Atlanta. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Crystal has created design and lettering work across mediums and industries for clients including PlayStation, Pandora Music, CBRE, Sugarbear Sleep, HGTV, and Dylan’s Candy Bar. Crystal joined AIGA in college, and has since gone on to participate in the Rise Up! Mentorship program for 4-years running – once as a mentee, three times as a mentor, and twice as a Mentorship Committee member. She credits the program and her former mentor (hi, Sarah Lawrence!) as one of the most life-changing moments in her creative career. She even met her current employers for the first time during the program’s mid-year event. Crystal currently co-hosts the Atlanta chapter of Ladies, Wine & Design, where she finds joy in planning useful events that bring together creative women in the Atlanta area to connect, learn, and grow from each other. When not designing, Crystal can be found hanging with her dogs, adopting new houseplants/struggling to keep them alive, and collecting useless facts to prepare for her inevitable Jeopardy debut.
Julie Kutler, Mentorship Co-chair
Julie Kutler is an award-winning art director and Creative Director with over a decade of creative experience for clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, Toyota, The Home Depot, Walmart, The US Marine Corps, Dunkin/Baskin, Krystal Burger, and The Atlanta Falcons. Her ability to push boundaries has led her to create ground-breaking work across mediums, including creating Toyota’s first interactive augmented reality print ad, the world’s first 360-degree multi-cam music video, and even co-creating a blog that was featured on Buzzfeed, Tosh.0, and The Graham Norton Show. She is a graduate of Indiana University and The Creative Circus, which brought her to Atlanta. Since then, she has worked at 22Squared, J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson), UTÖKA, and currently is at Momentum Worldwide. She has taught at The Creative Circus, served on panels and portfolio reviews for The Creative Circus and Miami Ad School, and has loved being involved with AIGA as a mentor for many years. When she’s not working, she uses her creative background to entertain and contain two sons, Jesse and Bram.
Nicky Riale, Partnerships Chair
You know her, you love her, our beloved Mentorship Chair returns for an encore. An Atlanta based graphic design, Nicky loves telling a great design story by incorporating both digital and analog solutions. Her primary interests are visual design, branding & identity, and digital illustration, but Nicky brings grant and non-profit experience to the board from her time with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and service on the AIGA board. She has spoken at the AIGA National conference on behalf of the Chapter on the Mentorship Program to great reception. Nicky is also mom to 3-year old Charlie, AIGA Atlanta’s unofficial youngest member!
Courtney Macca, Programming Co-Chair
Courtney Macca is a lettering artist and illustrator based in Atlanta, GA. She also works in-house as a Senior Graphic Designer at CBRE on their business development team. Courtney says this means she lives the best of both worlds—clean layout design as well as hand lettering and illustration. She is the co-founder and coordinator of ATLphabet, a local lettering meet-up group, which meets monthly around Atlanta. Courtney currently serves as a member of the AIGA Atlanta In House Committee.
Meghan Murray, Programming Co-Chair
As the daughter of a creative director, you could say that Meghan was born into the world of design. She’s honed her approach by plucking principles and skills from branding, advertising, and fine art. She spends her days as a Design Director at Matchstic where she leads a creative team in building brands both small and mighty. In her spare time, Meghan seeks out delicious eats (especially sweets), and enjoys exploring the city with her husband, John, and their two tiny pups in tow.
Sam Eckersley, President Emeritus
Sam Eckersley is creative director and co-founder of RED Partners, developing brand identity systems and campaigns for a broad range of clients including the National Football League, CNN, Google, PBS, Apollo Theater, Guggenheim, Nike, and American Ballet Theatre. Their work has won awards from the AIGA365, Art Directors Club, FPO, CMYK and Print, as well as Judge’s Pick at the Type Directors Club.Prior to RED Partners, Sam worked under Gail Anderson, developing brand campaigns for Broadway shows at SpotCo, one of the world’s leading arts and live entertainment advertising and branding agencies. He also developed brand experiences in-house at the National Football League, and was designer at Milton Glaser, Inc. Sam is a third generation graphic designer, regularly playing the role of advisor, lecturer, and speaker. He’s currently on the board of AIGA-Atlanta, and an adjunct professor at Portfolio Center in Atlanta. He graduated from the University of Nebraska and earned an MFA in Design from the School of Visual Arts, where he met his wife Courtney. Sam currently lives in Atlanta with his wife and two kids, Henry and Linnea.
Hank Richardson, AIGA Ambassador & AIGA Fellow
Hank is the Design Coach at Portfolio Center. He is an AIGA Fellow and recipient of the New York Art Director’s Club 2010 Grandmaster Teacher’s Award. He is a Director of the Museum of Design Atlanta and has served on the AIGA National Board and board of The Society of Typographic Aficionados. He is the AIGA/Atlanta Education Co-Chair. As an educator, he brings strategic design-thinking into his teaching integrating design, business, and technology. Hank advises student leadership teams that translate design-led business development for start-up companies and products within a real-world context. Hank works with industry leaders from The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Tech School of Architecture, and the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech among others. He has contributed to such books as Design Wisdom, The Education of a Graphic Designer, Becoming a Graphic Designer, Design for Communications, The Education of a Typographer, Graphis, and Teaching Graphic Design. He travels widely, speaking at universities, and conducting workshops and seminars at conferences around the country. His students inhabit the most respected corporations, design firms, advertising agencies and entrepreneurial companies in the world — living testaments to his ability to nudge each student to a personal threshold where their best work is conceived.