Cast your vote by 8/21 to see us at SXSW 2023!

5 min readAug 16, 2022

It’s that time of the year again: the SXSW PanelPicker is now open and agencies are campaigning for your votes. We have 10 panels in the running this year that need your support!

Maybe you’re a nerd for design, the NYT mobile app gets all your screen time, or being a Mets fan isn’t just something you do, it’s who you are. Whatever your passion, we’ve got something for everyone. Take a look, and vote for your favorites by August 21st. You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s absolutely true — every vote counts!

Empowering Australia’s Indigenous Youth With Purpose
Ben Miles, Executive Creative Director, Brand Design and Consulting
From birth, the odds are stacked against Indigenous kids in Australia. It is with this in mind that Indigenous rapper Nooky recognised the need to create a platform to give the younger generations something to aspire to, to unlock their own Warrior spirit, and drive positive change. R/GA’s Executive Creative Director Ben Miles and Nooky will discuss the creation of a brand and platform that will help the next generation of Australians to “see it to be it.”

Speak to Me: Verbal Design Masterclass
Jennifer Vano, Executive Creative Director, Verbal Design Lead
With social media as the backdrop, and audio on the rise, we’re moving quickly towards a world built around not only conversation but natural user interfaces that are not dependent on screens. Yet, we still think of design as primarily visual and often overlook the role of what we say, and the language we use as a tool to communicate. You’ll hear from R/GA, forerunners in the creation of verbal design practice and how they are breaking through and bringing people together around a purpose.

The Thorny Dance Between Truth and Gender
Olive Stone, Senior Analyst
Yuliana Safari, Associate Marketing Director

The overturning of Roe v. Wade is symptomatic of a wider problem: a world designed by, and for, white, cisgendered men. It’s not that the world conspires against women daily, but rather, we’re so entrenched in a world designed for men that we can take for granted the biases inherent in everyday systems, from the workplace to medicine. In order to level the playing field, we have to actively plan with women in mind to create spaces for them. This session will dive into unseen gender bias, and the potential for brands to break systems that weren’t designed with women in mind.

What the Health Category Can Learn from Nike
Jacqueline Lovelock, Managing Director, Healthcare
Colleen Miller, Creative Director, Experience Design
The health category is generally defined by leveraging the most advanced R&D in pursuit of clinical breakthroughs, but from a consumer perspective, it is among the worst served. This presentation will take a look at why R/GA believes beautiful, human-centric design matters. Like the difference between someone in poor metabolic health adhering to healthier habits, or giving up in frustration. Or how it can make the unfamiliar terrain of healthcare feel a bit simpler + more welcoming to overstressed patients trying to navigate toward the next health solution.

Work Hard, Play Hard? Hard Pass: Choose Happiness
Amber Kazalbash, Associate Strategy Director
Erin LaBranche, Strategist

Today’s workforce doesn’t need companies. Companies need the workforce. A new generation is using digital mediums to create the life and work they want, on their terms. This session intends to unpack what’s happening now, what companies are doing/not doing to meet the needs of this new generation of employees, & what the widening gap of expectations might mean for the future.

Redesigning Sports for the Next-Gen Fan
Tom Morton, Global Chief Strategy Officer
The next generation of sports fans are radically different, yet most organized sports pivot around the habits and values of older guys shouting at the TV screen in bars and at home. The disconnect is real, and so is the risk for sports businesses that depend on staying culturally relevant. R/GA invites you to explore the opportunities of designing a more human and inclusive future of sports — one where technology, media, fan experience, even values and purpose, are all part of the playbook.

Love Has No Labels: Redefining the PSA
Shannon Washington, SVP Head of Creative
JJ Lim, Creative Director
Fernando Hernández, Executive Creative Director

How do you cut to the core of societal issues without defaulting to “PSA-washing”, while helping to spark societal change? This discussion will focus on the how The Ad Council, alongside longtime partner R/GA, have created “Love Lives On”, part of an enduring, multimedia “Love Has No Labels” campaign that reignites an audience desensitized to daily updates of violence, in an attempt to drive action against racism and prejudice, one act at a time. Hear from key players behind the scenes on how this initiative came to be, and why they didn’t shy away from creating a message for this moment in time.

Your Brand is Not a Logo, It’s an Operating System
Melissa Jackson Parsey, VP Managing Director, Brand Design & Consulting
Saulo Rodrigues, Global Head of Design

In a world where your brand is lived across a growing number of people, interfaces, and experiences, it is more than just the purview of marketing, it is a tool for value creation across the whole organization. Join R/GA — leaders in innovative strategic brand design — who will share their evolving practice and outline the requirements of organizations today to build brand operating systems. Drawing from their expertise and experience with market leaders, such as Nike, and across multiple categories, they’ll detail the core components of a brand operating system and how it can be activated across the organization, to realize greater collective gains.

Can an agency’s health benefit its clients too?
Dorothy Peng, SVP, Managing Director, APAC
Long hours. Toxic culture. Presenteeism. Agencies in Asia have a reputation for these and more. R/GA set forth to create a more human future by reimagining what the future of work would look like. It wasn’t just about us — our clients’ businesses saw vast improvements as a direct result. This talk will dive into the thinking behind how we purpose-built an office for hybrid work and brutally honest policies. The result is the office became better together: our clients saw a positive impact on bottom lines, and most importantly, we took our people to the next level — because we’re here to help them flourish.

Loyalty is a myth. Relationship is a strategy.
Saulo Rodrigues, Global Head of Design
Giacomo Groff, VP, Executive Strategy Director
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the marketing industry underwent a dramatic shift: rather than expensive customer acquisition, most marketers focused on driving growth by engaging the customers they already had, a focus which has carried through to 2022. Yet despite this sustained ambition to design for customer retention, user satisfaction levels sharply declined. Join R/GA, one of the world’s best design companies, to understand how we’ve codified our approach to impactful design, using it to inspire and guide brands to design long lasting relationships that unlock new value and that people love — enough to keep coming back to them over and over and over again.




R/GA is a global innovation company. We design businesses and brands for a more human future.