Renita Van Dusen
Principal | Founder | Creative Director
An energetic, passionate graphic designer who got noticed for her stunning and diverse visual concepts early in her career, Affina founder Renita Van Dusen quickly discovered she loved the thought behind great design as much as the artistic process itself.
Renita founded Affina in 2003 after a solid background designing and strategizing for top Twin Cities agencies. As a woman interested in how companies were designing – or failing to design – brands for women, Renita became an expert in this area: determined to help clients realize that understanding women and designing brands that resonate with them is more than a mere niche.
Renita has won many awards and been a speaker at Minnesota Women in Marketing and Communications and the M2W (Marketing to Women) Conference. She has been interviewed for PurseStrings, Minnesota Business magazine, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and her work has been published in a variety of design publications, including Print and The Best of Annual Report Design.
While her professional accomplishments are certainly noteworthy, there’s much more to Renita. She’s the mother of two young daughters, and she’s also active in the community. Renita has volunteered for and/or done pro bono work for The Basilica of Saint Mary, CaringBridge, Creatives for Causes (Art Buddies), Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, San Lucas Mission, Laura Jeffery Academy, Selby Area Business Association, Women of Influence, Minnesota Women in Marketing and Communications, and WomenVenture. Renita currently serves on the Girls in Action Advisory Board.
Renita’s biggest impact in the community, however, has been around the issue of pancreatic cancer. Inspired by her mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer, Renita joined forces with both her family and Affina to create PurpleRide: an annual bike ride that celebrates survivors, spreads awareness, and raises funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. From a small, local event in 2005, PurpleRide has grown into a recognized Twin Cities event that has raised $1.5 million dollars. And the national organization asked Affina for permission to adopt the branding, which now extends to PurpleRide events in other cities and nearly 50 annual walks, to support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Renita had made multiple trips to Washington, D.C. to talk personally with her Senators and Representative to advocate for pancreatic cancer research.