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Professional Associations for Creatives in Southeast Michigan

Expand your network and hone your professional skills by joining a professional association as a young professional. Here are some associations for creatives, including marketers, designers, architects, and more. Not in the creative industry? Check out a list of other professional associations here.

Ladies, Wine & Dine Detroit (LWD)

Ladies, Wine & Design is a global non-profit initiative with chapters in 280 cities around the world. It was founded in 2015 to increase diversity in the creative industry, especially within leadership roles. LWD offers free mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, talks, and creative meetups for underrepresented creatives.

In Detroit, LWD describes itself as “a salon night held for creative lady professionals.” They like to have casual conversations about creativity, business, and life, especially in Detroit. Their meetups are bi-monthly and typically free. To learn more or to join LWD Detroit, email Shawn Calvin at scalvin@in-formstudio.com.  You can also learn more about the international organization here and the local chapter here, and follow LWD Detroit on Facebook and Instagram.

Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance (MMCA)

Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance is affiliated with the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the largest and oldest trade association. MMCA is the oldest chapter of AAF in Michigan, and it brings together all creative disciplines in the Lansing area, including advertising, design, marketing, media, and public relations. Their goal is to promote and foster relationships between the different disciplines and cultivate a relationship with future creative talent in the area.

A membership to MMCA offers ample networking and professional development opportunities for creatives, as well as discounts on events and American Advertising Awards submissions.

Creatives can join MMCA as an individual or through their company, organization, or school. From Jan. 1 to June 30, individual memberships are $60; student memberships are $5; company memberships (3 or more members) are $180; company memberships (5 or more members) are $300; non-resident memberships are $100. On July 1, MMCA cuts membership prices in half.

Learn more about MMCA memberships here.

Culture Source

Culture Source is a member association for non-profit arts and cultural organizations in Southeast Michigan. Its mission is to advance the work of organizations that cultivate creative and cultural expression in the region. To achieve this, Culture Source offers member organizations access to professional development and funding opportunities, networking opportunities, informative and inspirational events with peers, and more.

Membership costs are based on the annual budget of organizations, beginning at $105 for organizations whose yearly budget is $100,000 and under and maxing out at $3,700 for those whose annual budget is $20 million or more. Learn more about joining CultureSource here.

American Marketing Association (AMA)

The American Marketing Association is a professional association for marketers that offers a robust perspective that understands marketers are expected to provide both solutions for today and solutions for tomorrow. AMA has three chapters in Michigan, including Detroit. Its Detroit chapter has over 250 members, serving as one of the largest chapters in the country.

AMA members range from professionals in research, marketing technology, non-profit, public relations, advertising, social media, branding, direct marketing, interactive, creative, and next-generation marketing. Creatives who join AMA can access professional development and networking opportunities, comprehensive resources, career development, and professional recognition.

You can join AMA as a professional, undergraduate student, or as a group. A professional membership is $149 a year; an undergraduate student costs $29 per year; group membership costs $119 per year. Learn more about an AMA membership here.

Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI)

Sales and Marketing Executives International is a professional association and certification provider for sales and marketing professionals who want to continue to develop their professional skills and expand their knowledge. SMEI designed its certification program to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular marketing or sales job. Upon passing its certification exam, the SMEI certificate represents the passing individual’s professional competence. Learn more about the certification program here.

As a member of SMEI, marketing and sales professionals can access free member resources, including on-demand webinars, live educational webinars, and online forums, save 40% off SMEI’s professional certification program online prep course, 20% off online courses, and more. All professionals whose job includes sales or marketing activities are encouraged to become a member. Membership dues are $29 monthly or $325 annually. Learn more about the SMEI membership here.

American Institute of Graphic Arts – Detroit Chapter (AIGA)

The American Institute of Graphic Arts is the profession’s oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, with more than 70 chapters and 15,000 members. AIGA advocates for a greater understanding of the value of design and designers in government; inspires designers and the public by sharing exciting work and engaging in thoughtful conversation on pressing issues; enhances professional development through learning opportunities at all levels.

AIGA Detroit has been a chapter of the national organization since 1986. It has more than 475 members with a network reaching out to the entire Michigan creative community, including designers, educators, art directors, web developers, printers, illustrators, photographers, artists, and students. Their local chapter’s focus is on continuing the growth of “an already vibrant, creative community and a rich design history here in Michigan.”

Creatives interested in joining AIGA Detroit can choose from five membership options when joining the professional association. The different choices are contributing ($50/year), supporting ($150/year), sustaining ($250/year), design leader ($500/year), and trustee ($2,500/year). Learn more about each option and membership benefits here.

The One Club for Creativity

According to its website, the One Club for Creativity “exists to support and celebrate the success of the global creative community.” It is built on four core beliefs: education, gender equality, creative development, and awards. The One Club currently has chapters in Austin, Cairo, Denver, Miami, North and South Carolina, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Toronto. However, you do not need to join a chapter to become a member. If you are interested in starting a One Club chapter near you, you can email Sarah Shanks, One Club’s membership manager, at sarah@oneclub.org.

Creatives can join The One Club as an individual or through their corporation. Memberships are broken down into regular professionals, junior professionals (graduated college within the last three years), students, and faculty. Learn more about the membership here.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

The American Institute of Architects was founded in 1857 by 13 architects. It currently boasts more than 95,000 members and has 20 chapters worldwide, including 10 in Michigan: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Huron Valley, Mid-Michigan, Southwest Michigan, Flint, Upper Peninsula, Upper Great Lakes, Northern Michigan, and Saginaw Valley.

Creatives can join AIA as an architect, associate, associate new graduates, international associate, and national allied individuals. AIA is currently offering recent graduates of accredited schools of architecture a complimentary membership with the AIA at the Associate level for up to 18 months upon the date of graduation. Learn more about the offer here and AIA here.

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