AIGA SDTJ (wee)Y Design Conference

Impact (wee)Y SPEAKERS

Theresa Fitzgerald is mission-driven creative leader, designer and educator for global media and entertainment brands including Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon, Peanuts, National Geographic and Scholastic. She understands how to harness the power of design to entertain, educate, and engage.

Highly regarded for leading with heart, and a spirit of collaboration, Theresa has a proven track record of inspiring teams to deliver 360 brand systems for launches, social impact campaigns, consumer products, publishing, digital products, and themed entertainment. Theresa’s passion for education is demonstrated through her generous participation on educational advisory boards, speaking engagements, as well as adjunct professor. Theresa is curious about the world, and passionate about travel, and always loves coming home to Brooklyn.

instagram: @tttfitzgerald

Eric Alba is an accomplished Visual Effects Supervisor and Creative Producer with over 20 years of industry experience. He seeks to create meaningful, universal-designed experiences that engage and inspire audiences.

As the former VP and Executive Producer at MSG Sphere Studios in Las Vegas, Eric built and managed the Concept and Design group, which concepts and designs experiences and content at the Sphere.

Eric's extensive expertise in design, production, and technical supervision allows him to lead interdisciplinary teams of designers, architects, artists, developers, and engineers to concept, design, prototype, and build immersive spatial experiences. His innovative work has earned recognition, including award-winning projects such as the Museum of The Future exhibit at the World Government Summit, Tónandi for Magic Leap & Sigur Rós, Nike Camp Victory, and HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

In addition to his professional achievements, Eric is a dedicated photographer and art enthusiast. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and inspiration through leadership, mentorship, and collaborative efforts in the industry.

Adam G is the Co-Founder & Creative Director at TRÜF, a Los Angeles design studio specializing in visual identity and illustration. He has designed corporate identities for Adidas, DreamWorks, University of California and countless other companies and institutions that span from arts and media, tech and finance, to culture and education.

He calls his minimalist style of illustration “messymod,” short for Messy Modernism. It’s born from his love of geometry, patterns, negative space, Bauhaus, Miró and a little too much caffeine. He explores the spaces between art and design, complexity and simplicity, organic and machined, static and kinetic, familiar and surreal.

Currently, he’s pushing his studio into new and strange directions with the addition of his illustrations and continues his unhealthy obsession with all things design. When he’s not designing and illustrating, he’s designing and illustrating. He needs to get out more.

Steffanie Lorig With roots firmly in the design world as well as expertise in building a world-class social enterprise, Steffanie Lorig is a creative activist who empowers people to take chances, dig deeper to gain personal insight, and disarm limiting beliefs.

Shortly after graduation, she moved from Tucson and joined the Board of Directors of AIGA Seattle where she served as their Community Outreach Director, bringing together local designers with children in need. She called the outreach “Art with Heart” and led it for six years under AIGA before officially branching off to reform it as its own 501c3 organization.

During her tenure as CEO and publishing director, Art with Heart helped over 155,000 children facing trauma and hardship. Built upon the foundation of cognitive behavioral and art therapies, her innovative activity books, workshops, and professional development trainings were adopted by mental healthcare providers internationally because of their ability to nurture positive mental health and turn pain into possibility. Her work merited four Sappi Ideas That Matter grants, totaling over $120,000 to support the development and printing of the books.

In 2015, she took a short sabbatical and traveled to Mexico to study under a contemporary primitive painter. It was during that class that her own creative spirit was rekindled. Since then, she’s created almost 700 paintings along with numerous art journals. Her style has been described as visually ambidextrous, offering a mix of contemporary primitive and neo-expressionist. Her work can be found on a four-story building in Bethesda, in a private VIP tasting room in Napa Valley, and in private collections in the states as well as in London and New South Wales.

Shortly after her sabbatical, she transitioned back to her design roots and now works at an international consulting company as a Design Manager and illustrator. She occasionally leads hands-on art workshops that invite personally meaningful expression and still paints whenever she can.

Steffanie Lorig on LinkedIn

Máximo Escobedo with a career spanning nearly 30 years as an art and creative director, Max has successfully managed multicultural branding, marketing, packaging, publication, and new media projects, large and small, for a distinguished roster of clients including Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm, Harcourt Publishers, AVID Center, Neighborhood National Bank, and the County of San Diego. Most recently, he served for six years as art director at the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Growing up in both Tijuana and San Diego, Maximo gained a unique appreciation and understanding of this binational community. With this distinct experience, Máximo was selected to design the logo and branding for San Diego Tijuana’s designation as World Design Capital 2024, which celebrates the design and innovation success of this prolific binational region. A long-time design educator, he currently teaches graphic design at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is also a founding alumnus, and national spokesperson, for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), an innovative, internationally recognized, secondary education program designed to help underserved students achieve a university degree.

You can connect with Max on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

Impact (wee)Y MODERATOR

David Conover

Unbeknownst to him at the time, David Conover nurtured a career in design at a young age; drawing The 007 logo along with heavily-outlined drop shadowed typographic renderings of bands’ names. At the time he never quite grasped the power of design when a rendering of a fascist’s regime’s propaganda mark was confiscated by his middle school principal. He hadn’t yet connected the dots, both figuratively and literally. Many rock band logos later, he earned his BFA in Graphic Design at Arizona State University, a school whose motto he still believes is: “You gotta fight for your right to party”. After years of setting type on typositors, rubbing down transfer type for ad headlines, developing negs in darkrooms, pasting up page numbers in horticultural publications and designing video game spaceships with 5 pixels, David — and his infinitely more talented wife, Cecelia — opened their design studio together. Since 1985 they’ve been able to keep the doors open, pay their bills, worked with numerous respected associates, have fun at what they do and spend time with their children. Gratitude, Acceptance — and a bit of Intestinal Fortitude — keeps him moving forward.


Many thanks to our sponsors and supporters!


There is a variety of delicious and convenient restaurants close to the (wee)Y venue, available for you to choose from. Here is a list of some suggestions so you can plan ahead of time:

When & Where
Fri, Jun 16, 2023 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM PDT
UC San Diego Park & Market
1100 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92101