Emerging Professional of the Month

Meet the EPAC - March

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





Ashleigh Lessard, Allied ASID

Rightsize Facility Performance - Chicago, IL



"Each day I strive to learn something new, create something beautiful, make someone laugh, be a good listener, spend time outside, have compassion for others, and be there for my family and friends."








Ashleigh loves how Interior Design is the perfect combination of science and art and you can see this reflected in her education and professional experience. She has a Psychology degree from the University of Michigan and an Interior Design degree from The Art Institute of California - San Diego, where she received the Outstanding Student Award for Interior Design for her graduating class. She has practiced both residential and commercial design in San Diego and Chicago. She is currently a designer at a commercial furniture dealer specializing in workplace interiors. She has been active in ASID ever since she was the student Chapter President at The Art Institute. She was the Membership Director on the ASID Illinois Board and is now helping with their Emerging Professionals Committee. She is excited to be a part of the EPAC to help members in thier first few years of practice feel connected, engaged and inspired.

What do you hope to contribute in your position on the EPAC?

One of the great things about this committee is that all of the EPAC members have unique backgrounds and experiences.  We all bring different things to the table but come together with a common passion.  I hope that my background in both psychology and design will lend a voice to the committee that takes into account the personal and professional experiences of EPs.  I have also worked in both residential and commercial design and understand the different characteristics of each discipline.  I hope this will help me represent a wide range of emerging professionals and contribute a unique perspective to the committee. 

What is one important fact that all members should know about the EPAC?
Being an EP is a unique and exciting stage in your career.  You move from being a student to being a professional designer and there are a lot of challenges that accompany this move.  ASID recognizes the unique needs and experiences of EPs and has created the EPAC to support members during this time.  We want EP members to feel connected and engaged by sharing our experiences, successes and challenges.  We are here to think strategically about this career stage to create programming and resources for EPs to help with professional development, effective communication, exploring difference career paths and specialties, how to use your networks to find new opportunities or clients, pursuing certifications, finding mentors, developing leadership skills, and continual learning.  The EPAC is here to advocate on behalf of all ASID EP members and be a voice for EPs at both a national and local level.  

How do you see the EPAC evolving within the organization?

The EPAC sees that the first part of being an EP is transitioning from student to professional.  We also see that after practicing for a few years, many EPs might start to evaluate their current path and want to explore new opportunities, specialties, or certifications.  I believe that as the EPAC evolves within the organization, we will create programming and resources for the transition from emeriging professional to mid-careerist.  We want members to feel supported and find valueable connections and resources all throughout their design career. 

What/who was your first introduction to ASID?

My first introduction to ASID was at design school where my fellow students and I established our ASID student chapter.  We were able to start the chapter because we had a wonderful faculty advisor who supported and inspired us.  We planned an executed several events including a very successful Career Day and a pro-bono project at the San Diego Humane Society.  We were always welcome at the professional chapter events and were made to feel a part of the design community right from the start.  That connection to professional members was so valuable as a student and then an emerging professional - many of them remain great mentors to me today.  Being an active student member taught me the value of getting involved, networking, finding mentors and connecting with fellow designers.  And as my career has grown since then, ASID contiues to support and inspire me.