60 Seconds with Ethel Kessler

Over the summer, Debbie Millman emailed me and asked that I participate in the AIGA National Design Conference (which I just blogged about) as one of the 20/20 presenters. 20/20 is a short skit that started a couple of years ago as an inspirational addition to the main stage presentations at the AIGA conferences where 20 designers are invited to give a presentation on a specified topic in 60 seconds, totaling 20 minutes. In the past I’ve seen David Gibson singing opera, Michael Bierut singing the Star Spangled Banner a cappella, and last year at GAIN Moira Cullen reciting her secrets to success.

To be honest, my first reaction after reading Debbie’s email was: Are you sure she meant to email me and not some other really important “Jill”? But then I read on. This year’s 20/20 highlighted representatives from AIGA chapters nation wide, including a representative from Washington, DC and that meant me! I had a little over two months to brainstorm and prepare 60 seconds on “Make|Think” in Washington, DC. This left me with my next very heart pounding question: What the heck am I going to talk about for 60 seconds in front of 1500+ people?

It was easy to come to the right answer after brainstorming with my presenting partner, Emily Carr (a former AIGA DC President). Below is the video we produced of Ethel Kessler, and influential government designer who’s been working within and for the government for over 25 years. Ethel is as charismatic as they come and it was a delight to have the opportunity to interview her for this project.

DC: Ethel Kessler from Jill Spaeth on Vimeo.