GDC Connect

Future-proof your Career with GDC Connect: A New Professional Development Program for GDC BC

As the design profession evolves, the multiple career paths in our industry present a dizzying array of options. Whether new to the design industry or part of it for some time; designers know that transition, and their ability to adapt to change, is essential to their livelihood. The circumstances in which one does their work can also change over the course of a career - some designers may move from freelance to agency, generalist to specialist, and back again. Whether you work in print, web, creative direction or UX, the GDC wants to help you develop adaptable skills for your future.

What is GDC Connect? It piloted 4 years with a 3-hour workshop that focused on UX Case Studies. This year, the new series will focus on fundamentals of user experience design (UX), information architecture (IA), and user interface design (UI). Attendees should be new graduates who are seeking work in the UX field or those who have been in the industry for 3-5 years, and who are looking to crossover into new roles.

As the design profession evolves, the multiple career paths in our industry present a dizzying array of options. These sessions will deliver basic information for UX process, hands-on activities, and peer-to-peer conversation that help you find and prepare for your next step. 

GDC Connect will also be seeking participation from those in our industry to provide mentorship and guidance, and develop their skills in presenting and mentoring. If you're working as an UX designer and want to become a mentor or a speaker, , please contact Pauline Lai at

Format of our workshop will be:

  • Opening presentation

  • Networking and pairing into groups

  • Hands-on activities 


UX Workshop series:


Designing for inclusivity - 26th October

How do ability, culture, identity, and environment influence the way your designs are experienced? Most people don’t fit into an “average” mold and yet, as designers, we still believe we have to design for the mythical “average” user. Instead, we must be more deliberate about respectfully including underrepresented groups into our process.

This workshop will introduce the mindset of inclusive design. Together, we’ll explore the impact of our biases, exclusionary design practices, strategies for including and engaging with underrepresented groups, and tactical considerations for imagery and language.


Domain7 - Unit 250 - 339 Railway St. Vancouver


Kallie Ashenden (OXD)  @kallieashenden

Kallie Ashenden (she/her) is the Design Director at OXD. She is passionate about creating meaningful, elegant, and human-centred solutions that resonate with audiences and help clients reach their objectives. Kallie’s background is in strategic branding and communication design, and she brings a wealth of digital, print, and environmental design experience to her work.

Deb MacKenzie (OXD)   @debmackenzie

Deb MacKenzie (she/her) is a Senior UX Designer at OXD. Deb is excited about the potential for using design to create social change. She believes that design methods can be used in many contexts to solve problems that matter. Deb is interested in connecting with the design community, sharing experiences, and learning in the process.

OXD is an end-to-end design and technology consulting firm based in Vancouver, BC. Their teams help organizations unravel complexity with human-centred, participatory methods and evidence-based practice.


Service Design - 14th September, 2019

What is Service Design, and what artifacts do Service Designers use to co-create? The first half of this hands-on workshop will be listening to what a day in the life of a Service Designer is like, a few case study examples, as well as the similarities and differences between four different UX mapping frameworks. Armed with Sharpies and Post-Its, whiteboards and markers, participants will be able to try out customer journey mapping during the later half of the workshop, and gain more understanding about which frameworks to apply in their everyday work.


Emily Carr University of Art and Design (520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver)


Priscilla Ho (POWERSHiFTER@phohop

Priscilla is a UX Lead and Service Designer at POWERSHiFTER digital agency, who collaborates with multidisciplinary stakeholders to uncover the “why” behind people’s needs. With a Master of Interaction Design and eight years of cross-functional experience, she designs data-driven and human-centred solutions for brands including CTV News, TELUS, BroadbandTV, Isobar (Dentsu Aegis), and me&ideas. Her specialization includes conducting user research and uncovering strategic insights through Ethnography, Interviews / Surveys / Daily Diary Studies, Experience and Journey Mapping, Service Design Blueprints, Co-Design workshops, Paper and Interactive Prototyping, as well as Cognitive Walkthroughs and usability testing.

Please bring your own laptop.


Accessibility: Designing for Visual Impairments - 13th July, 2019

Visual impairments are often associated with disabilities such as blindness or low vision, but it represents a far broader audience from colour blindness to cataracts to someone with tiered eyes. We will learn about why inclusive design is crucial to any business' bottom line and why designing for visual impairments can improve the online experience for everyone.


Amazon Vancouver - 510 W. Georgia St. Vancouver


Rebecca Liggins (Clio) 

Rebecca is a Product Designer at Clio where she has been leading initiatives around accessibility and designing for an inclusion for the past 2 years. She studied and practiced as a Graphic Designer and transitional into User Experience to focus more on the design of human experiences and create online services that are inclusive for all.

Please bring your own laptop.


2018 - UX Fundamental Series 

Usability Testing Workshop - 24th November 2018

Building products without testing is guessing. By observing users attempt to use our prototypes we can quickly and cheaply identify ways to improve our products. You will learn about industry best practices and how to apply them in the real world. You will also get the chance to participate in a live usability session. The only requirement is a willingness to be curious and ask questions.


Vancouver Community College (VCC) - 250 West Pender Street, Vancouver


Dilan Ustek (Clio) @d_ustek

Dilan is a User Research Lead at Clio, a legal technology company. She started her career as a software developer, but quickly realized she was more passionate about how people use the products she was building. She received a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction at UBC. She loves teaching user research to help people understand their users and build products that fulfill their needs. 

Sean Filiatrault (Clio) @uxSean

Over my 12 year career He has lead teams that have successfully delivered multimillion dollar projects for global brands such as Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Arc’teryx, UBC, and the Vancouver Canucks. He's also spent time as the lead UX educator at BrainStation. Now He works as a Design Lead at Clio, a legal technology company. 

He's stepped into many roles over his career but his most important has always been as a strong advocate for the user. Businesses can’t succeed if they focus on their needs alone, they have to understand who their customers are to be able to empathize and design for them. That’s where he comes in.



Rapid Prototyping Workshop - 8th September 2018


Brainstation (#400 - 455 Granville St., Vancouver, BC V6C 1T1)


Renee Ng (Invoke Digital) - Renee is an UX designer who's passion about psychology show's in her approach to solving complex problems through human-centered and simple designs. Her work focuses consumer products and eCommerce web design.



UX Basic and Research Workshop - 25th August 2018


LaSalle College Vancouver (Renfrew Campus - 2665 Renfrew St. Vancouver, BC V5M 0A7)


Sharon Hsiao (Radical I/O Technology Inc.) - Award-winning designer who helps organizations & startups improve their products and services by creating highly-relevant, engaging designs across all platforms. I craft brands that elevate industry standards, and execute campaigns with consistency and meticulous attention to details.


Case Studies for UX, IA and UI - May 13th 2017 

This session will deliver real-world case studies of success and failures, frank dialogue, hands-on activities, and peer-to-peer conversation that help you find and prepare for your next step. This workshop will be guided by mentors working in usability, who will provide guidance on skill development, portfolio development, and best practice tips.


Mentors List:

Todd Sieling @DenimAndSteel

Todd is an interaction designer and co-founder of Denim & Steel Interactive. For nearly twenty years he has been involved in the design and production of interactive experiences. A co-founding organizer of Vancouver Design Week and board member for BEST, his interests and influences span various modes of design, transportation and urban systems, game design, history, and ethics.

Stevie Nguyen @StevieNguyenyvr

Born in France to Vietnamese refugees, and raised on the ancestral unceded land of the Coast Salish people, Stevie Thuy Anh began their journey of finding, fostering and creating connections and making meaning between folks 8 years ago. They spent 6 years in the marketing department of a leadership development firm before becoming a designer full time in 2014. Empowered by an education from Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s School for Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) and Communications program, Stevie aims to create work that contributes to a more loving world. They find meaning in mentoring future designers studying in SIAT, facilitating with Out in Schools, and shaping positive learning experiences with IBM’s Centre for Advanced Learning (CAL). Passionate about connecting with folks, Stevie is keen to witness folks’ stories, and shape experiences that resonate through design.

David Drucker @ddrucker

David has worked in UX for over 20 years, and designed everything from desktop software to web sites, medical device prototypes, touch screen control systems and kiosks, to phones and tablet apps. His clients have included startups, like AVID and Frictionless Commerce to large companies like IBM and Fidelity Investments. He’s also written two books on computers for Prentice Hall Publishing. He also has taught at UBC, BCIT and Emily Carr University, where he created the course "Interaction Design: Principles". He doesn't have a degree in UX, since there weren't any when he started, but he has a Bachelor’s in Music Composition from the University of Cincinnati and an M.Phil. from Cambridge University.

Krispian Emert @krispian

Krispian has over 10 years’ experience, working at all stages of the User Experience process—from strategy and conception through production and implementation. She has worked at award-winning agencies and for some of the world’s top brands, including Microsoft, The NFL, Thompson Reuters, ING, and Toyota. Keen to improve the discipline of User Experience, Krispian is the Information Architecture Instructor at VFS and speaks about UX Strategy at conferences, universities, and within Vancouver’s UX community.

Mike Cober @mikecober

Michael is a Vancouver based graphic designer focusing on integrated design and marketing strategies for tourism and action sports. Since Netscape beta Mike has been designing meaningful and purposeful UI/UX communications for clients including Arc’teryx, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, BARE wetsuits, and Mountain Equipment Co-op. A Professional Member (CGD) of the Graphic Designers of Canada, Michael serves on the national executive as VP Certification working with a small team of professionals on the development of an inclusive and comprehensive certification system that accommodates the broad variety of roles within the graphic/communication design industry in a way that is inclusive, scalable, and rigourous.

If you're interested in becoming a mentor or our community partners, please contact Pauline at


Our Community Partners: