Following the IIDA Industry Roundtable meeting earlier this month, the organization has pioneered the interior design industry’s first-ever Diversity Council, a group of 29 designers and manufacturer representatives dedicated to creating a diversity policy statement for the profession as well as addressing a number of related goals.
Cheryl S. Durst; Gabrielle Bullock
The Roundtable, moderated by IIDA executive vice president and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, included speakers Gabrielle Bullock, director of global diversity at Perkins+Will, and Shauna Stallworth, principal at LUHF & LUMM, who shared their experiences as African-American women in interior design. “I’m used to being the only one in the room,” said Bullock. “I want more people who look like me to have the opportunity to be in the room. I see myself as a change agent and an advocate of diversity.”
The newly formed IIDA Interior Design Diversity Council is chaired by Stacy Walker, director of customer experience at Milliken, and “will tackle goals ranging from funding diversity research and promoting diversity resources to creating a curriculum that encourages students of diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in design,” according to the organization.
“Diversity is not only about race and gender, but also diversity of thought and discipline. It is in that spirit that IIDA brought together a group of interior designers, architects and manufacturers to discuss a topic that is extremely personal and can be difficult to address in a way that is productive,” said Durst. “As industry professionals, we talk to clients about how to live beyond definition and expectation, and that is why this topic is so germane to who we are and what we do.”
A summary of the Roundtable, the Council’s diversity policy statement, and information regarding the Council’s strategic initiatives will be released in March.