Pull up a seat, it’s Aspire 2018!

Pull up a seat, it’s Aspire 2018!

It’s that time of year again – the recap of our annual pin-up, aka Aspire!  We introduced you to our Aspire initiative last year. It brings a select group of DIALOGers together from across our firm to share their projects stories and collaborate over two days every November.


Each year the initiative is hosted by a different studio who get to make it all their own. This year it was Toronto, who chose to kick it off with some intrigue and excitement, delivering a beautiful gift to each studio. Designed by DIALOG’s Simone Ferkul, this stunning stool is inspired by the power of collaboration and the simple act of pulling up a seat to combine minds. The stool perfectly supports Aspire’s vision – a platform for ideation and storytelling. Presented at the call for entries, it encouraged DIALOGers to submit their stories for the pin-up, and remains in each studio as a legacy artifact of this year’s event.

Following local pin-up selections, 14 Aspire participants from our studios across North America, proceeded to Toronto to present their projects to a live audience at the National Aspire event. We’re bursting at the seams in our TO studio, so opted to hold Aspire offsite. Where better to hone our storytelling skills than at Second City! The Aspire participants spent the morning in an workshop. Engaging in exercises that helped with pacing, responding to diverse audiences, and switching gears quickly, they were able to practice their newfound skills and apply them to their afternoon presentations.

After presenters shared their stories to a packed house, a panel discussion offered a thoughtful reflection and critique of DIALOG’s storytelling abilities.

Invited panelists included (L-R) Frontier’s Paddy Harrington, Ryerson University’s Jennifer McArthur, Lateral Office’s Lola Sheppard, and CBC’s Mary Wiens.

Start with those ’80s power ballads. Start with the chorus right away and don’t lead them down the garden path to get to the big finish. – Jennifer McArthur


Day two of the Aspire event had all participating in a day-long charrette to explore new methodologies for ideation and storytelling. Teams were challenged to design better workstations considering technology, user experience, form, and siting. The new improv skills made for some entertaining presentations.

This year’s Aspire was a fantastic event and celebration of our DIALOG culture and is just one way we provide ample opportunities for our emerging talent. The 14 participants learned valuable skills they can bring back to their work, and because of our panel’s insights we gained a new perspective on our own work and how to best tell our stories in the future – invaluable!



Special thanks to everyone outside DIALOG who helped bring this year’s Aspire to life


Our Panel Members:

Jennifer McArthur, Ryerson University

Lola Sheppard, 

Lateral Office’s

CBC’s Mary Wiens

Frontier’s Paddy Harrington


Print Sponsor:

Astley Gilbert



Second City Toronto


Audio Visual:

Centre Stage AV


The Aspire Stool was generously produced by these collaborators:


FH Group

Moore & Giles

Valley Forge Fabric


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