Meet The Speakers: Illiah Manger & Rachel Davis

We are so excited to have Illiah and Rachel join us for Baltimore Design Week. Together, they bring us insights into creative communities with their In Perfect Harmony–Choosing Creative Communities event on October 24th.

Here’s what they have to say about the event: “We can’t wait to meet everyone during our Creative Communities event. This isn’t a typical talk where you leave with a numb bum because you sat in your seat the whole time listening to someone talk at you. We have some amazing activities planned for us to explore values and aligning those with communities.”

Choosing Creative Communities

Rachel will also be facilitating a Problem Framing Workshop on October 27. Rachel gave us a little insight into the event: “I view problem framing as step 0 of Design Thinking. Many times we jump right in because we believe we know the pain points and the user and we are ready to empathize with them, but we haven’t examined the “What Else?” There may be perspectives––or even users––we haven’t considered when we don’t explore other frames.” Join Rachel as she guides us through how to approach problem framing as we wrap up Baltimore Design Week. 

Haven’t grabbed a seat yet to these events?
Grab a FREE ticket to the Creative Communities event HERE.
Snag a seat at the Problem Framing Workshop HERE.

Problem Framing Workshop-Baltimore Design Week

Now, let’s get to know Illiah and Rachel a little more…

What’s your favorite quote/philosophy?

Illiah: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” – Brene Brown

We are each a wealth of knowledge, creativity, power. Our stories make up who we are, but it requires courage and vulnerability to be innovators, thinkers, designers. Brene Brown’s writing and talks inspire me to live fully and continue to do the work I’m called to.

Rachel: Everyone is creative. One of my favorite books is Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley. This whole philosophy of everyone is creative is what drives my brand Your True Tribes. One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “What we’ve found is that we don’t have to generate creativity from scratch. We just need to help people rediscover what they already have; the capacity to imagine—or build upon—new-to-the-world ideas. But the real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those ideas.”

Doesn’t matter if you are a designer, a copywriter, an accountant, a dentist, seriously whatever you are an expert in you are also creative. You have the ideas in your head it’s about working with those individuals who can help you organize those thoughts, and help you make them come alive in the world.

What is your biggest challenge as a designer/creative?

Illiah: That debilitating fear that comes with not thinking your ideas are good. That low-feeling you hit when you think the client won’t like what you’re designing is always a challenge. This leads to putting the work off because you don’t know if you can do it justice, and that procrastination just forces you to work under pressure when it’s not needed.

Rachel: The ever-present imposter syndrome. Any time I have creative block, or can’t get out of a creative slump, or just get into a funk. It’s that little voice in the back of my head that wants to tell me, well maybe you aren’t good enough to be doing this. Creative communities have actually helped a lot with this—being able to have a sounding board, a place to talk with like-minded people, a place that gets me back on track when that little imposter syndrome troll throws me off the bridge into the water. This is what I value in communities and close friends who help me come back to my true focus. 

A close second is communicating the value of design. That’s a huge challenge. How do you help the rest of the world “get it” when it comes so easy to you and other creatives to know the value and benefit of good design?

What’s on your desk that you could not live without?

Illiah: I get so many questions about color from both designers and clients. The Pantone Solid Coated & Uncoated swatch book is definitely something on my desk I cannot live without. It’s the most comprehensive, up to date color tool available. For me, it’s nearly impossible to choose colors for any brand design project without it, because the color formulas are consistent across all mediums. There’s always going to be differences from printer to printer and screen to screen, but choosing from Pantone as a starting place helps a lot.
And my earl grey tea latte. 

Rachel: Oh, this is a good one because I just bought something new I couldn’t live without. I get tense when I’m focused, I mean physically, my body—especially my hands. When I type I seem to think that pinky needs to go straight up in the air on my right hand as if I’m having high tea with the queen. Why? Heck if I know! But because of that, I invested in a gel stress ball, small enough to fit in my tiny hands. It helps me not have a hand that’s in pain for a week after a day of focusing and typing. This tiny gray hand therapy stress ball is my savior right now.

What sparks creativity for you?

Illiah: Weekends away from screens, art museums, walks, new experiences. Innovative Design.

Whenever I have creative block, it is because I don’t have enough information. My client is my main source of inspiration, always. Great design cannot be created in a vacuum. I need as much info from and about the client and the project as possible. 

Also, creativity takes practice. The more creative you are, the more you have. When I’m not designing, I’m crafting with my daughters or coloring in a coloring book. 

Rachel: Reading. For sure, reading. I have a list a mile long right now of books in my queue, both Kindle and ones I can actually hold in my hands. On my Kindle, I am addicted to the highlight tool for quotes or passages that spark something for me. In an actual book, I have stickies that go right next to quotes or things I want to come back to. There’s a time and a place for fiction, but my love is nonfiction, with some of my favorite authors being Seth Godin, Austin Kleon, Tom and David Kelley, Pat Flynn, and Tina Seelig. But there are so many more that I have on my list! If I’m at a block, I take a moment, pick up a book, head over to a room with no electronics—I mean except my Kindle if it’s a book on there!—I sit down, take a moment, clear my head, and just read.

What advice would you give to your 20-something self?

Illiah: Embrace fear, take risks. There’s never a time again when the stakes aren’t as high. Listen to your intuition, and let it be your guiding force.

Talk to and connect intentionally with designers (or anyone who’s living your dream) who are ahead of you. Community and connection is how you’ll reach your aspirations. Watch them and learn. 

Rachel: Progress is better than perfection. Have grace with yourself—change and mistakes are part of the process. It’s all about failing intelligently because failure is going to happen you just need to learn from it. And for that grace piece, seriously just give yourself a break. Did you make a spelling mistake in a post? Is it the end of the world, of course not——ask yourself will this matter in an hour, will this matter tomorrow, will this matter in a week, will this matter in a year?

Illiah C&V Creative

Illiah Manger

Creative Director / Owner //
@c.and.v // @elevate.cultivate

Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis

Content + Brand Strategist / Owner
@yourtruetribes (IG + Twitter)

By Krystal Carpintieri
Published September 24, 2019