Meet our 2017 judges:

Kevin McConkey


Kevin is a co-founder and principal of Grip, serving as President and CEO. Driven by results, Kevin maximizes the valuation of companies that engage Grip through effective brand strategy.

Kevin is a recognized design authority and national lecturer on market strategy. An expert on the effectiveness of design and marketing on business success, Kevin has been routinely quoted by the press on design and marketing issues, and has been featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, Communication Arts, Chicago Sun-Times, Step Magazine, How Magazine, as well as sharing his insights on Lime Radio.

An established writer, Kevin has authored two books on package design for Rockport Publishers, published articles in Step Magazine, and contributed a chapter titled “Branding and Design Considerations for Professional Services” for Quality Medical publishing.

Kevin was the Design Director at the esteemed economic think-tank, Ibbotson Associates, where he led an internal team of designers across multiple disciplines. He was also a Design Director at Crain Communications, where Kevin led the development of a new publication aimed at healthcare professionals and launched the first online publication for the national publishing company.

Kevin has spoken at: HOW Annual Design Conference • AIGA’s Annual Y Conference • Society of Women in Publishing • The Legal Marketing Association Conference • AIGA Chapter Events (Cleveland, Jacksonville, Omaha, South Hampton) • Art Director’s Club (Denver, Cincinnati) • Photoshelter Marketing Conference

Kevin has judged: The Step 100 Show • The Cleveland Addy’s 52 Show • AIGA Omaha Design Awards • Addy’s Cincinnati • HOW Interactive Annual International Engraved Graphics Awards • Fox River and Gilbert Paper Design Awards Art Directors Club, Denver • Vance Editorial Excellence Awards • Cut & Paste National Design Competition


Jill Spaeth

@innerspaeth / Citizen Creative

Jill Spaeth is President and Director of Design at Citizen Creative a firm she established in 2010 that specializes in experience design: primarily large-scale environmental graphics and signage. Jill often collaborates with architects and interior designers to incorporate Citizen Creative’s vision into the built environment. She chooses projects that bring to life the name “Citizen” – representing an allegiance to meaningful and effective design.

In 2014, Jill was the only woman selected of five nominees to AIGA’s National Board of Directors and is currently serving a three-year term. She served on the AIGA DC Board of Directors since 2005 and completed her two-year term as chapter president in 2011. During her tenure, she was part of the team that founded the AIGA DC Design Continuum Scholarship Fund with the goal of increasing diversity and philanthropy in the design profession. Since its inception, the fund has raised over $100,000 and given more than $30,000 in scholarships to under-represented local students.

Jill received an Executive Education in Business at Yale University’s School of Management and has a B.F.A in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology. She frequently lectures at University of Maryland and has taught Graphic Design History at George Mason University.


Jacinda Walker

@MagentaPrints / designExplorr
Jacinda Walker is a designer, entrepreneur and instructor with over 20 years of industry experience, who proudly calls Cleveland, Ohio home. Her work ranges from designing publications to developing educational programming and event management. Ms. Walker earned her A.A.B. and B.F.A. in graphic design from the University of Akron and a M.F.A in Design Research and Development with a minor in Nonprofit Studies from The Ohio State University. Her research area of focus explores diversity in design disciplines and investigates effective strategies to expose African-American and Latino youth to design-related careers. Jacinda is a strong advocate for young people and proudly mentors several design students on portfolio presentations, professional development and career planning. She believes that “participation is the key to success.” Currently, she serves as Chair, of AIGA’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. Ms. Walker’s future goals are to work in a museum with design education initiatives and developing design programs for underrepresented youth.