If you want to be a leader in this profession, you need to go to GO PRO.
I was thrilled when our chapter president told me that the chapter would like me to attend GO PRO/NYC and would sponsor my trip, as the chapter’s emerging professionals’ chair. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, I knew it would be a great event. I was excited to meet other emerging professionals, especially because so few are active in my chapter. That’s why I became EP chair: to get more people involved, especially other young designers. I was excited to talk with other young designers and EP chairs about their ideas. What I didn’t anticipate was the amount of personal enrichment I would experience in the process.
I knew I would benefit as an individual, yet I approached the conference as “the Texas chapter EP chair,” rather than simply as Sarah. However, during the conference I realized that ASID had geared most of the sessions toward individual enrichment and professional development. The staff and volunteers at the event were invested in each member. Everyone was eager to help you along your individual career path. It was amazing to see that such a large organization can care about “the little guy.” Staff and volunteers took to heart the tag line “Empowering Emerging Professionals Now.”
GO PRO was a great opportunity both to see the breadth and to experience the intimacy of the association. Participants were inspired and invigorated by the passion they felt for the interior design industry. We spent time with national staff and industry leaders. We focused a lot on the “PRO” in GO PRO — in other words, on professionalism. During one talk, the speaker listed a few common myths about interior designers and ways to dispel them. She made it very clear that we are professionals. We should behave and be respected as such. Being respected as professionals requires that we educate the public about the industry and be worthy of the public’s respect.
Another aspect of GO PRO that I loved was the emphasis on leadership. It’s all too easy, especially as a young professional, to think that you — just one person — can’t make a difference. GO PRO continually reminded us that we can shape the future and, in fact, it is our duty to do so. As design professionals, ASID members and leaders, we have more ability to make a difference than we realize. ASID Executive Vice President and CEO Randy Fiser’s “State of the Industry” speech addressed our ability to make a difference. However, I believe our responsibility to shape the future goes even further, especially as members of ASID.
We can make a difference. We are the future now.
Sarah Marek earned her bachelors in art and art history from the University of Dallas before studying interior design at El Centro College in Dallas. She now works as the design specialist and marketing representative for the Cosentino Center Dallas. Sarah says the best part of her job is being actively engaged with industry associations, especially ASID.