Thank you so much for attending the Pick Progress Keynote!

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Learn More About Chan's Speech

Ad Astra Per Aspera Presentation

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I can get meta quickly. I like to be a sponge with low or high cultural references. So, I wanted to provide an extended edition of the presentation that features the inspiration for the references. Hopefully, these moments inspire you as much as they have inspired me.

Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself…

I wanted to find a really unique way to talk about myself without taking long, so how about a Star Wars title crawl. Learn a little bit about me and my fight against the evil Empire of Bad Design.

It’s Fun To Dream

I always want to be in a state of play, and the episode “Bring more play into your life” from the Life Kit podcast is an excellent example of why we should.

At the same time that I strive to have fun, I still struggle with my identity. Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History does a fantastic job of how isolating it can be when you’re different. Check out ‘The Hug Heard Around The World’ episode.

I Have A Dream Today

Embarking on a transformative journey to Kenya was a profound experience that left an indelible mark on my perspective and creativity. In this video, I share cherished moments from the trip that continue to inspire and shape my work.

I Am The Dream

I remember watching this interview with Will Smith on CBS and he was the first person that talked about being determined and focus on the main point.There are no other points. There’s only point A to point B.

Dreams Take Work

Kobe Bryant’s indomitable spirit and Mamba Mentality have recently become a profound source of inspiration for me. His unique perspective on fear and failure has provided invaluable insights into navigating the often unpredictable terrain of creativity. A fan-made video, meticulously curated with snippets of Kobe’s wisdom, serves as a potent reminder of his teachings. Kobe’s fearless approach towards challenges, acknowledging fear as a natural part of the journey, has reshaped my mindset. Through his words, I’ve learned to embrace failure not as a roadblock but as a crucial stepping stone toward growth and improvement. This newfound understanding has empowered me to face creative endeavors with courage and resilience, echoing the unwavering spirit of the late great Kobe Bryant.

Dreams Do Come True

Over the past nearly five years, Pick Progress has evolved into a vibrant tapestry of creativity, diversity, and resilience. What began as a personal passion project has grown into a global celebration of Black design, encompassing over 70 extraordinary posters, 31 unique plastic afro-combs, and insightful interviews capturing the diverse Black experiences. This collective effort has not only curated a stunning gallery exhibition but also fostered connections, amplified voices, and ignited important conversations within the design community.

Dream Realized

What do we owe to each other? The main thing I wanted to convey in this presentation is that we are all unique and must shine a ‘light’ on one another. If you haven’t seen ‘The Good Place,’ I highly recommend it. On the show, Chidi, one of the main characters, attempted to answer what we owe. “We choose to be good because of our bonds with others and our innate desire to treat them with dignity.”

Simply put, We are not in this alone.” Whether it’s racial, gender, sex, class, or any other differences, listening is the bare minimum we can do to make sure we’re connected. Remember, everyone has a light because we are the stuff of stardust.

Send A Message To Chan

There is never enough time to say all the things we want to say…

But fortunately there is technology to help connect us. If I don’t get a chance to chat with you or have a long convo, I would still love to hear what you have to say. Please fill out the form and I will strive to get back to you promptly.

    About Guest Speakers

    Khyneesha Edwards

    Pronouns: she/her
    Graphic Designer

    Khyneesha Edwards is a graphic designer, born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She works full-time as a graphic designer for a Washington D.C.-based digital marketing agency, takes on freelance clients, and offers career-consulting services with Resumes By Neesha. In addition to working full time and freelancing, Khyneesha serves on as the 2023-2024 President of AIGA KC.

    Do you have any creatives or artists that have inspired you that you would like to give a shoutout to?

    Chandler Johnson, Sam Yates, Phil Shafer

    Are there any people you want to recognize that have helped you get to where you are right now?

    Lauren Allen was my mentor through AIGA KC’s mentorship program in 2019. A daily inspiration, now she’s my boss and dear friend.

    Mönika (Nikky) McCormick

    Graphic Designer

    Prior to delving into the creative realm of design, I spent 15 successful years as a cosmetologist and salon owner, honing my skills in aesthetics. Now, I channel my artistic flair and eye for detail into crafting visually captivating designs that resonate with audiences. I’m enthusiastic about bringing innovative ideas to life and continuously pushing the boundaries of creativity.

    Lauren Allen was my mentor through AIGA KC’s mentorship program in 2019. A daily inspiration, now she’s my boss and dear friend.

    Are there any people you want to recognize that have helped you get to where you are right now?

    My journey as a non-traditional student and my career change wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of my family. Their support extended beyond mere words, as they actively helped me navigate the challenges of balancing education, work, and family commitments. Their sacrifices and understanding during this transition became the cornerstone of my success.

    Sam Meier

    Pronouns: she/her
    Multi-term Lecturer and Senior Designer

    Sam Meier is a multi-term lecturer in the VISCOM Department at the University of Kansas (KU) and is a Senior Designer with the Global Trends and Innovation Studio at Hallmark in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Meier is also an MA Student in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History at KU, studying Black Art and Design and the French Influence on the Harlem Renaissance.
    Her experience ranges from in-house media for Kansas City PBS, experiential design and wayfinding with Dimensional Innovations, to brand experience and identity with D.C. firm Beveridge Seay. She has been an American In-house Design Awards winner, an American Graphic Design Awards winner through Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), and an American Illustration 42 recipient.

    Meier is President Emeritus for the Kansas City Chapter of AIGA and current co-vice President of the ICON 12 board. She spends her free time working with her partner in their shared studio, Yup Yup Design, practicing yoga or working with various community groups.

    Do you have any creatives or artists that have inspired you that you would like to give a shoutout to?

    Emory Douglas

    Jon Marzette

    Pronouns: he/him
    Senior Designer, Creative Director, DJ, Musician, #1 Hot Wing Fan

    I’m a lover of all things bright, expressive, loud, quiet, and fun. I strive to bring creativity to Kansas City in anyway I can whether that’s through higher education at Kansas City Art Institute or through flyers and gigs around the city for DJ gigs. Campaigns, colors, illustration, perspective: I love to help.

    Do you have any creatives or artists that have inspired you that you would like to give a shoutout to?

    Donald Glover, Tyler the Creator, Virgil Abloh, Joe Fresh Goods

    Are there any people that you would like to recognize that have helped you get to where you are right now?

    Tad Carpenter

    About Pick Progress Raffle

    Pick Progress – Together Afro-Pick Raffle

    The Pick Posters project is successful due to Black Creatives from around the world volunteering their talents to celebrate da’ culture. We want to thank them for their time and generosity by giving them something more than only exposure. Your contribution will help provide a tangible sign of appreciation that can help them expand their creative dream or allow them to treat themselves for creating a fantastic poster. Your contribution will also enter you into a contest to win these three limited edition afro-combs created by Chandler Johnson.

    The contest will close on March 1, 2024, at 11:45 pm (CST). We will reach out to each winner and publically announce the winners sometime in March.

    About Pick Progress Together

    Welcome to Pick Progress Together – a collaborative initiative inviting creatives of all backgrounds, races, and identities to contribute their unique voices! While the original Pick Progress Poster series centered on Black experiences with Black artists, Pick Progress Together aims to unite artists of diverse backgrounds in a shared celebration of inclusivity and togetherness. We encourage you to join this movement by creating a poster that reflects your perspective on unity. Sign up today by completing the Google form, and we’ll provide you with a link containing all the details and requirements. Let’s come together through art to amplify diverse narratives and express the strength found in solidarity.

    If you have any follow-up questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

    Note: The sign-up button will take you to a MailChimp form page.

    Send Your Photos From The Event

    Share Your Pick Progress Experience!

    Capture the vibrant moments at the Pick Progress Gallery Keynote + Celebration! We’d love to see your perspective, creativity, and joy during the event. Share your photos and videos with us – they may even be featured on our platforms!

    Click the link below to access our Dropbox submission page and upload your content. Your contribution is invaluable, and we appreciate your effort in making this celebration even more memorable.

    Note: The button will take you to a Dropbox submission page.