Leading Design is a community for senior design leaders that regularly hosts community meetups, world-known conferences, and retreats.

The community is for experienced, senior design teams. It has its own private Slack group with over 1,500 members. Inside the group, there are constructive conversations in a supportive, confidential space. It's an excellent resource to further grow in your professional career while networking and connecting with leaders and influencers in the design industry.

To join, you must fill in an application form. The Leading Design team will later review it and accept you. These are the requirements:

  • To be a senior leader in an organization's in-house team (not an agency).
  • To be the most senior design representative in your company. If your organization is fairly large, you have to be a member of the design leadership team.
  • To have moved away from delivery (meaning, you are not a coach or a player in your team, but a leader).

Besides the online group, the community is well-known for its annual conferences. In those conferences, they gather thousands of design leaders from all over the world. The 2020 conference was canceled due to COVID. However, in March 2021 the community organized a virtual, one-month-long festival. 

It was called the Leading Design Festival, and it included a three-day conference, and lots of experts that hosted weekly talks, mentoring sessions, and masterclasses.

The community also organizes coaching programs. They are usually in-person, but this year it was obviously virtual. The program was a group executive coaching that took place from September 15 to November 25, 2021. It was a three-month-long program that included two cohorts due to its high demand, each one ran every two weeks.

Besides learning events, the community takes networking very seriously. They are slowly introducing again in-person events. For example, this November 11 you will be able to attend a community meetup in London. There are few tickets, and you must bring proof of vaccination and a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of the event.

These types of events are excellent places to grab a drink and some food while connecting and networking with other industry leaders. To expand even more your professional network, all while you learn and relax, Leading Design also organizes retreats. The next retreat will be for women only, and it will take place from April 26 to 29, in the Cotswold countryside.

YouTube video


  • Year Founded: 2016
  • Founders:

    Andy Budd

  • Amount of members: 1,500
  • Online Group: Yes
  • Job board: No
  • Language: English
  • Method: In Person, Virtual


Join over 1,500 senior design leaders:
Leading Design's Slack group has over 1,500 members. The online group serves as a supportive, confidential space where you can share those issues that keep you up at night with fellow leaders that will help you solve them.

Enjoy networking events such as retreats and community meetups:
The community takes networking very seriously. They regularly organize events to connect with other members and to expand your professional network. Now they are slowly incorporating in-person events again after the pandemic, such as community meetups and retreats.

Participate in the community world-known conferences:
Leading Design conferences are big events. They bring a lot of expert speakers and leaders that host talks, mentoring sessions, and masterclasses. The last one was in March 2021, a month-long event that was completely virtual.



Leading Design is a community aimed at experienced design leaders. To join, you must:

  • Be a senior design leader of an in-house team at an organization (not an agency).
  • Be the most senior representative at your company, or a member of the design leadership team if your organization is fairly large.
  • Not be taking care of delivery, meaning, you aren't a player or a coach in your team.


Learning Events

In March of 2021, Leading Design hosted LDFest. This month-long, virtual event included 37 separate events and 62 hours of content. There were over 900 attendees from all over the world. It included a three-day conference, lots of expert speakers on weekly talks, masterclasses, and mentoring sessions.

During the pandemic, community events were virtual. However, they are slowly but surely transitioning to their usual in-person events. The community is well-known for its big conferences. The 2020 conference was canceled due to COVID. The 2021 festival was the fifth annual big event Leading Design hosted.

The next learning event is a retreat. The Cotswolds Women's Retreat will take place on April 2022. It's a four-day retreat specially crafted for women design leaders to connect and learn from each other.

Networking Events

The community regularly organized in-person meetups before the pandemic. However, they are slowly hosting meetups again. The next one, Leading Design Connect, will be on November 11, 2021, in London. Tickets are very limited. To participate, you have to present a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of the event and proof of full vaccination. These meetups are amazing places to connect with other leaders in your industry.

Additionally, the community interacts frequently on their own private Slack group. It started in 2016 and nowadays it has over 1,500 senior design leaders. There are very constructive conversations inside, and you can learn from other leaders' experiences and advance in your career while expanding your professional network.

Content Library

Inside the community's website, you can listen to speakers from past conferences. These videos are available for free. You can also browse Design Leaders' Vimeo channel to explore some more videos of talks and other community events.


The community regularly organizes group executive coaching programs. The last one was a three-month-long program for mid-to-senior design leaders. It was virtual and took place from September 15 to November 25, 2021. There were 2 cohorts taking place due to the demand of the program, each one running every two weeks.


"I just want to thank Andy for starting this wonderful resource. It is definitely one of the more valuable design Slack communities I’m a part of. Thanx!" -Dave Malouf

Add a review


  • No comments yet.