Boutique Design - April 2016 - 55

Cheryl Durst
Executive Vice President
and CEO | International
Interior Design Association
(IIDA), Chicago

For IIDA, the topic of diversity started simply with "looking around the
room." In a multiplicity of settings, from chapter events and activities, to
continuing education programs, to the headquarters of our partners in furniture manufacturing, textiles and flooring, to our very own board of directors-
diversity, or the lack thereof, was clearly evident. We started with a simple
question, "Why?"
As we considered the many facets of the issue, we realized that much more
research was required to determine who was missing from the design profession, and ultimately, we worked our way toward what IIDA will do about it.
Then we looked at how and when we will accomplish our diversity goals. That's
what led to our decision during our 19th annual Industry Roundtable, held
earlier this year, to form the interior design industry's first-ever Diversity
Council. (The executive summary detailing the council's policy statement and
outlining its planned strategic initiatives is available by emailing diversitybydesign@iida.org).
Our initial efforts will focus on education, but first, we are getting our arms
and minds around magnitude and the numbers. Our hard research is still
pending, but we believe that less than 3-5 percent of practicing designers are
people of color. The practice of interior design is overwhelmingly dominated by
women-somewhere between 70-85 percent, yet the vast majority of firm
owners, principals, ceos, managing directors, etc., are male. The profession is
heavily dominated by women, but largely run and managed by men.

It is important to note that in our discussions, IIDA considered diversity not
just from the perspective of race/ethnicity and gender. Diversity also takes into
consideration sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities,
religious beliefs, political beliefs and varied ideologies. 
Interestingly, the issue that caused the most passionate and emotional
discussion was around age and demographics. While we couldn't always identify with or understand race or gender and the effect of them on us as individuals, it certainly was evident that we all shared some degree of frustration with
generational matters. We're talking about Millennials, Boomers, Gens Y and
Z, Hipsters, Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Attitudes about work/life
balance and integration, technology, mobile phones and when not to use them,
etiquette, manners, cursive writing, thank you notes and tattoos. The generational conversation covered myriad truths, myths and everything in between. It
was exhilarating, illuminating, and indicative of perhaps the most of-themoment conversation in the workplace and at the dinner table. We also
considered the importance of diversity of thought and (design) practice. The
good news is that more firms and organizations are adopting/enacting diversity strategies. They are recognizing that diversity is good for business and
creating a more inclusive workplace. MGM Resorts International has been very
proactive in its diversity initiatives. They have an annual diversity conference
aimed at women in HR, hospitality, design, facilities, and construction.
One of our first deliverables will be a piece that outlines how to discuss
diversity in the workplace. It is a difficult topic because it is often personal, and
frequently laden with emotion rather than facts. We're making the IIDA
Industry Roundtable Report on diversity available upon request, which
summarizes our initial conversation and will be a helpful tool for anyone who
is interested in further exploration of diversity in the workplace and the profession of design.
Whether prejudice can be erased: As a woman of color in a leadership
position in a design organization for nearly 20 years, I've experienced both the
overt and the subtle-from being called "that black girl" to being called a
name that is much worse. I've experienced that within my own organization
and outside of it. Prejudice in all of its incarnations is defeating and demoralizing, and unfortunately, a very real part of everyday life-an untoward
remark, a dismissive attitude disguised as a joke, a mispronounced name,
being followed by security, or simply having a presence in the room (or at a
board table) disregarded.
I believe that when you encounter it, whether as a witness to it, or the
target of it, you must absolutely, intelligently and calmly acknowledge it and
call it out-then actively refuse to dwell on it or be defined by it. I am incredibly
proud of who I am, my culture and my heritage. But I also recognize that I am
more than just that. I am the sum total of myriad experiences, capacities, abilities, etc. The content of my character informs the total person that I present to
the world. I would encourage young designers to always be mindful of who
they are. Prejudice is all about disparaging what someone is, not the who. The
sagest piece of advice I've ever received from anyone about race, bigotry and
prejudice: Be your best self, always.

april 2016 boutiquedesign.com

55


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Boutique Design - April 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - April 2016

Boutique Design - April 2016
Contents
From The Editor
In This Issue
The Buzz
Wall Power
Q+A: Steam Punk Dynamo
Hit Refresh
White Paper
Products: Bath + Spa
Products: Textiles
Exit Interview
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Boutique Design - April 2016
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Cover2
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 1
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 2
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 3
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Contents
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 5
Boutique Design - April 2016 - From The Editor
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 7
Boutique Design - April 2016 - In This Issue
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 9
Boutique Design - April 2016 - The Buzz
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 11
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 12
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 13
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 14
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 15
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 16
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 17
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 18
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 19
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 20
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 21
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 22
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 23
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Wall Power
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 25
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 26
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 27
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 28
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 29
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 30
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 31
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Q+A: Steam Punk Dynamo
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 33
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 34
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 35
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 36
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 37
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 38
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Boutique Design - April 2016 - 41
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 42
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 43
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 44
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 45
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Hit Refresh
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 47
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 48
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 49
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 50
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 51
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 52
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 53
Boutique Design - April 2016 - White Paper
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 55
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 56
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 57
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 58
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Boutique Design - April 2016 - 61
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 62
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 63
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Products: Bath + Spa
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 65
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Boutique Design - April 2016 - 68
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 69
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 70
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 71
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Products: Textiles
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 73
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Boutique Design - April 2016 - 82
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 83
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Exit Interview
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Cover3
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