Chair's Message - February/March 2019


I was in the company of 400+ future designers at SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit in New York City the first weekend in March. The conference was a sell-out, with students in attendance from 84 colleges and universities. The energy and passion of youth was in the air - these students believe in the beauty of their dreams. Grounding dreams in reality, Bryan Soukup, Esq., VP of Government and Public Relations at ASID, was on hand to counsel the students on advocacy and the importance of achieving similar legislation across all states in order to enjoy the reciprocity offered other professions.

I was asked to deliver a keynote on my personal leadership path, joining an esteemed group of speakers led by Liz Ogbu, founder and principal, Studio O; George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, partners, Yabu Pushelberg; and Cindy Allen, editor-in-chief, Interior Design Magazine.

I delivered my keynote around the Three Components of Purpose:

  1. Our natural gifts – I am an avid user of StrengthsFinder ( – a resource that promotes working on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
  2. Our Passions – Current entrepreneurial expansion offers a channel to practice our passions. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of ASID.
  3. Contribution –The impact you want to have on the world. As designers we hold the keys to this one!

The students participated in The ASID National Career Fair, featuring top design firms and companies such as HKS, Perkins+Will, HOK and others, presenting them with the opportunity to interview for 2019 internships and entry-level positions. More than 200 students entered the 2019 ASID Student Portfolio Competition (SPC) this year and the finalists presented their work to an esteemed panel of judges at SCALE. The SPC winners earned a scholarship from Benjamin Moore & Co. Foundation as well as national recognition. It was snowing in NYC Saturday morning as Jessica Ma presented her winning project inspired by snowflakes and confessed to the audience it was her first snow! I suspect there were a lot of firsts for this group as it was the first visit to the Big Apple for many attendees!

Exclusive, curated tours of Gensler, HOK, Haworth, ICRAVE, Benjamin Moore, the Rockwell Group, and others, offered students an insider’s view of firm culture and workplace design that will help them set their expectations upon entering the professional workforce. I accompanied the students on the DELOS headquarters tour in lower Manhattan. Easily accessible to the High Line (NYC’s elevated linear walking park) and overlooking the expanse of the Hudson, I was reminded of how integral interior design has become to our well-being. Delos is a global wellness pioneer dedicated to enhanced health and well-being in the interior environment. ASID was an early partner with DELOS’ research in workplace design, and was the first space in the world to earn platinum certification from both LEED and WELL for the design and performance of the ASID HQ in Washington, D.C.

As we observed in the DELOS lab space, testing on the first home wellness and intelligence platform has begun (huge implications for our residential design community), while research in the hospitality sector is ongoing, creating WELL rooms for Marriott, MGM, and other flags.

The Delos HQ employs multi-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, and designers who work together in a plant-scaped urban nest. The workspace provides a nourishment hub for in-house meals and snacking, a host of treadmills, cycles, and balance boards for sit stand desks, a meditation room, and a stairwell that connects the two levels and monitors the trips made daily by staff, creating a graphic game to encourage use. Our buildings shape our habits, help balance our sleep-wake cycle, and drive us toward healthy and unhealthy choices. The DELOS tour was one of many mind-expanding offerings for both students and ASID chapter presidents who were invited to the conference for the annual Presidents Forum. The SCALE summit made me a big believer in the future and the rising designers who will blaze the trail forward!

To learn more about SCALE 2019 in New York, check out these two great articles published by our media sponsor, Interior Design magazine.

ASID Gives Student Designers and Insider Look at the Industry at SCALE 2019

Cindy Allen closes SCALE conference with Keynote Conversation with YabuPushelberg