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    Newsletter Overview | 2016, Volume III
articleFeature Article

A History Of Community

Thank you to IFVP Founder, Leslie Salmon-Zhu, for the inspiring conversation that became the basis of this article, but more importantly, for sharing her vision, her time, and her many gifts with the IFVP community over the past 23 years.
Before the IFVP had a name, before it had a president and a board, before it even had a conference, the IFVP was a community.
In 1993, IFVP Founder, Leslie Salmon-Zhu asked a simple question that would spark the development of the international, professional organization that is the IFVP. Over dinner, after a collaborative project with other graphic recorders, Leslie asked: "what if we get together to talk about ideas and challenges - and to grow?"
Finding a group of people with whom you can share ideas and challenges - a group that supports you and pushes you to step outside of your comfort zone, a group that inspires you and humbles you, a group of "peeps" - is precious.
When Leslie asked her dinner companions if they wanted to get together to talk and to grow, such opportunities were rare. In fact, to Leslie's knowledge, the collaboration in which she and her colleagues were engaged was the first of its kind. Until then, visual practitioners worked independently, not collaboratively. The collaborative way of working excited Leslie: "I thought I would pop from the joy of collaborating." She loved the new found camaraderie in work that at
times had felt isolating. She wanted "to find and connect with others who live the same work."  
Out of this desire for community and connection, Leslie began to plan what would become the first IFVP conference in 1996. Leslie wanted to bring people doing similar visual work together.

In October of 1996, in Occidental, California at the Golden Apple Ranch, eleven people gathered together at the first annual Graphic Recording Conference. Only five of the eleven people who attended the conference knew each other when they arrived. Leslie describes attendees as "from all walks of life." They came from different professional tracks, different training backgrounds, and different levels of visual practice. While small, the conference was diverse.
Leslie says that people attended for different reasons. Some people attended out curiosity; some did not feel that they had a professional home and saw an opportunity to gather with like minds; others thought it sounded like fun. Most of them valued, like Leslie, an opportunity to gather with a community of people with whom they felt a connection.
As the conference grew, helped by the accessibility of the internet, which made it easier for conference organizers to find and invite visual practitioners and easier for visual practitioners to come across information about the conference, a desire to bring together diverse groups of people who share an affinity for visual practice remained a central goal. Similarly, when the community decided to form a membership organization in 2003, the organizers chose a name, The International Forum of Visual Practitioners, that would continue to include a wide variety of professionals, a name that many, like Leslie, thought reflected a diverse community that valued inclusiveness.
While the organization over the years has developed new programs to support members and advance the profession, especially as membership has grown globally, many of the values that community members hold dear now are the same values that community members held dear over twenty years ago. The IFVP still brings people together around shared principles, such as diversity and openness, collaboration and independence, abundance and generosity. These values continue to inform the decisions of the organization's board and to connect diverse practitioners in meaningful relationships.

When people walked up the stairs into the meeting area at #IFVP2015, which was lined with charts from prior conferences, some people said aloud, "I am with my tribe." Others simply said, "Wow." Both responses indicate that the IFVP offers members a unique opportunity to be a part of community that they identify with, connect with, and are inspired by.
The IFVP's history shows us that the values that brought visual practitioners together over twenty years ago and the values that bring visual practitioners together today remain very much the same. We continue to build a precious community where together we can "talk about ideas and challenges -- and to grow."
News from the Board

"The work today is the history of tomorrow and we are its makers." - Juliette Gordon Low
In a recent interview, IFVP founder Leslie Salmon-Zhu shared that we have the opportunity to listen to and learn from the past and a responsibility to better the world of tomorrow.

By making connections between the past and the present we can chart a course for the future that will have a positive impact on IFVP members, our clients, and our profession. The Harvard Business Review article, Your Company's History as a Leadership Tool , by John T. Seaman Jr. and George David Smith makes a strong case for how the past can help shape our future and for how we, as leaders of business and organizations such as the IFVP, should look to the past for guidance. Knowing our history will help us "see events, and ourselves, as part of a still unfolding story," of part of something bigger than our individual goals. As IFVP members know, showing that history in a visual is even stronger.
We hope you will consider serving on the IFVP's Board, volunteering for a committee, or simply joining in the conversation. We have the opportunity to listen to the past and illuminate the future of the IFVP, of our individual practices, and of our profession. Together, we have the opportunity to use our unique and diverse skills to better the world of tomorrow. Together, we have the opportunity to write our history today.
conferenceIFVP Conference News & Updates
GR101: Experience a part of IFVP History

In this newsletter we have been talking about the history of IFVP. Our pre-conference signature course, Graphic Recording 101, is a right of passage that many IFVP members have participated in over the years.   


While we don't know the number of members who have taken the class, we can say that the impact resonates across our community. For many, it is our first introduction to Neuland and Charter markers as we learn the basics of graphic recording, practice big at the wall, and wrap it all up with a panel of esteemed seasoned practitioners. If this is your first year, we highly recommend GR101 as a place to get started.



Graphic Recording 101: The IFVP Signature Course!

Beata Broskova & Tanya Gerber 


GR101 is a hands-on workshop that provides a basic understanding of the craft, the tools and the techniques of graphic recording. The workshop leaders along with several other IFVP members will share real life stories and insights from their own practices.


We will also have three other pre-conference sessions that will expand your practice by exploring a breadth of topics, and help you go deep to advance your skills and business. These are one of the most exciting ways to dive into the IFVP DC 2016 Conference, so reserve your spot today!  


Juice Up your Drawing

Jim Nuttle & Greg Gersch


Are your graphic skills like a 90-pound weakling?  Now you can instantly add muscle and pep to your drawing arm with this intense hands-on all-day workshop! Train with two top graphic recorders experienced in illustration, cartooning, typography and graphic design. Inject speed, flexibility and a healthy dose of humor into your work. Unleash your wild inner artist during challenging practice rounds and group critiques.


Secrets to a Thriving Visual Business

Michelle Walker 


This full-day hands-on, activity-based program is designed for you to learn the secrets to starting and/or growing a thriving visual thinking business. We will cover the Five Pillars to help you build and maintain a strong business and reputation in the field.


Integral Facilitator Essentials: How Great Meetings Come to Life?

Rebecca Colwell & Lauren Tenney  


Meetings come in all shapes and sizes. Feeling confident in meeting essentials allows you to relax, include more, be creative, and invite others to do the same. This one-day workshop will help you learn and practice building rapport, facilitating open discussions, guiding the flow of meetings and much more.


Are you ready for your best year yet? Join us and let's make it happen. 
Member Spotlight
Jihyun Jillian Lee

What do you enjoy most about being a visual practitioner?  
Visuals get attention. When people see them, they become curious. This gets them to ask questions and start conversations. Through these conversations, people share ideas and opinions which increases group interaction.

Facilitating thought processes and group dynamics to create innovation and participation was alluring, and that's why I was eager to become a visual practitioner. Doodling has been part of my nature but studying in the Korean education system, I had to suppress my interest in it. But now, there's no need for me to regulate myself now because I receive encouragement for being myself.
What inspired you to join the IFVP community?
I love doodling and always doodled whenever and wherever I went, listening for anything to draw. One day, a former executive director of Coca-Cola Korea saw my drawing and mentioned that there are jobs doing this and encouraged me to search it out. So I googled tons of times to find out what was the name of this job and how I can be one! That was when I joined the IFVP community. I'm glad to finally find my tribe.
What was your favorite food when you were a kid?
It is a food most of you may not know but I love Topokki. Topokki is a long, thin cake made from rice and Korean chili paste. It's soul food for me. At every street corner in Korea, there is a topokki stand and it's cheap. It is very chewy and always gave me a feeling of being full (at the same time taking all of my pocket money!).
What is one of your favorite quotes?
 "One cannot afford to be a realist." - Albert Bandura

I wanted to be a scholar once. I wanted to research theories about changing society and how people could influence positively. I wanted to understand the deep structures of society that influence how people work. So I studied psychology with an emphasis in social cognitive theory. That's when I found his quote. I almost cried because it literally said what I had always wanted to say. I could know what's good for me, and how I could take advantage of others and fool them, but I'd rather not be doing that in the name of self-interest. I believe society needs to improve, and I'd rather give up my own interest and be called an idealist. Albert Bandura said to me that those people are the ones we need.

Leah Silverman
What do you enjoy most about being a visual practitioner?

I love how being a graphic recorder challenges me. I'm basically a shy homebody but I am forced out of my comfort bubble to: 1. Travel (often alone to new places where I don't know the people I'll be working with) 2. Listen deeply (often to subject matter I know very little, if anything, about) 3. Draw in front of people (YIKES what if I make a mistake and my kangaroo looks like a dog?!) and 4. Come up with new imagery to support recurring concepts (of course I have my standard bag of icons but I don't want to bore myself or my clients). 

What inspired you to join the IFVP community?

Years ago I watched in awe as graphic recorders did magic while I typed up the same meeting's notes as wordy documents on my laptop. I was encouraged to work up the nerve to try visual note taking so my first step was to take GR101 at an IFVP conference. I didn't break away from laptop documentation for a few years and missed several conferences because of my husband's health issues, but I continued my IFVP membership appreciating being part of a tribe of visual practitioners. Since then I've had the honor to co-host the 2012 Pittsburgh conference; meet, work with, and maintain contact with wonderful IFVP friends; and land well paying jobs from my portfolio presence on the IFVP website.

What was your favorite food when you were a kid?

I think I carried a chocolate milk and a "fluffernutter" in my little metal lunchbox to school almost every day (unless there happened to be some leftover cold pizza I could get to before my brothers and sisters would snag it). A fluffernutter is sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Even now there is nothing better than peanut butter and marshmallow on a Ritz cracker, washed down with hot chocolate, after coming in from puddle jumping on a cold, rainy day!

What is one of your favorite quotes?

"Nothing matters, and what if it did" keeps me going when I feel like I'm making mistakes. And on that same note, "There is no success like failure, and failure is no success at all" keeps me aware that I will never learn a thing if I don't make mistakes and challenge myself to experiment with new tools and techniques.

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