Emerging Professional of the Month

Meet the EPAC - April

When I moved to Manhattan in 2008 everything in the city was new to me. I was newly wed and had just been accepted to study at the New York School of Interior Design, which had always been my dream college. At the time I was facing one of the biggest challenges of my life, studying in a new country and yet to make friends. How could I meet and socialize with people who shared the same interests and passion as me? So I started to research about which associations could benefit me and further my professional career. That’s when I discovered and subsequently became a member of ASID. I felt like I had done something right. I found myself going to a lot of incredible events and networking like never before, and I was surprised how welcoming everybody was to new members. I liked the experience so much that I decided to start volunteering for ASID. These volunteering opportunities allowed me to meet many new designers, and I knew I was m


Nicki Estes, Allied ASID

Perkins+Will - Dallas, TX



"Let Go and Let God (Faith drives my life)."




As a young college student, I wasn't the type that knew exactly what "I wanted to be when I grew up". I had a passion for helping people and psychology, but also needed an outlet for creativity. Interior Design gave me the opportunity to enhance and actively pursue a creative career. It wasn't until a few years later that I realized it would also allow me to use my psychology background in designing spaces. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design at Ball State University, I moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana to start my career in Healthcare Design at Vintage Archonics. I was then asked to help start the Interior Design Department at Cripe Architecture+Engineers in Indianapolis alongside the Interior Design Director, Robin Bartleman. This was a wonderful opportunity that has helped me immensely in my career. I learned a great deal from my mentor about Interior Design and how to put a good construction document set together as well as business skills, life skills and professionalism. A few years later, I married and moved with my husband to Houston, Texas where I found myself seeking a new position. I landed at Ziegler Cooper Architects and was blessed to work with a great team of designers and experience a high level of Corporate Design. Soon after I got settled in Houston, my husband's job transferred us to Dallas, Texas. There I explored a related field of work, but decided I wanted to return to working again in Healthcare Design. I have a passion to make a difference in people’s lives by enhancing the patient/doctor/family/nurse experiences. I am currently an Interior Designer at Perkins+Will and have become a part of a successful Interior Design studio with great leaders. I am now beginning to mentor younger emerging professionals and starting to give back to the Interior Design Industry. My goal in life is to leave my community and the lives of people I serve better than the way I found them.
What do you hope to contribute in your position on the EPAC?

I hope to bring knowledge to Emerging Professionals on how they can contribute to the success of interior design through networking; opening dialogue with advanced professionals; and, engaging mentorships between EPs and mid-careerists.  My goal is to start the process in Dallas and hopefully grow the network to surrounding areas and bring more EPs to ASID.

How do you see the EPAC evolving within the organization?

I see the EPAC becoming a great attribute to the organization by encouraging and increasing membership through directed programs and opportunities for networking.  I see the EPAC then evolving to greater enhance the student experience as well as the mid-career experience.  It is the perfect opportunity in a career to mentor students and young designers as well as learn as much as possible from mid-career and advanced professionals.

What's your greatest professional accomplishment and your worst mistake?

Whether I am working on a small 5,000 SF renovation or a large 1 million SF new hospital, I approach the project the same with the goal of creating a space that improves the experience for all humans.  No matter age, gender, race, physical or mental ability, if I made the space better for the people using it, then I have accomplished something great.  My worst mistake was losing my direction in my own career path when I relocated to Dallas.  I would have benefited by seeking out a mentor from ASID at that time for guidance.

What is one thing you want our EPs to know about you?

I want to be a resource to our EPs.  Whether it is through being a mentor directly or networking to find the right mentor for an EP, I am always willing and able to help out.  Work and life are never too busy to take time to help another person.