Last week ASID held its sixth annual Real World Design Week. This year we successfully connected more than 1,000 interior design students with member designers and Industry Partners for one-day shadow experiences. This is one of my favorite events because it reminds me of my own journey as an interior designer and my gratitude for the individuals who helped me along the way. But I’m also grateful for opportunities I’ve had to help other designers along their journey as well. Mentorship flows both ways. Seasoned interior designers, educators, industry partners have a lot to offer the next generation of interior designers, and emerging professionals have a lot to offer designers who have been in practice for any number of years.
I love spending time with students and emerging professionals. I thrive off their energy and excitement for the interior design profession. They are so eager to spend time with design professionals. I encourage you to reach out to your student chapters, colleges and universities and offer to mentor their students. Either host a presentation in your design studio or showroom for student chapters or visit interior design studios for design reviews. The experience will inspire you and might be the aha moment a student needs to keep him or her on track. When you spend time with students, two things happen: you help them understand this is a great profession and you start to understand what the future of our profession looks like.
I’m also encouraged by the success of EP Takeover month in October. As I experienced the pinnacle moment of this month-long initiative at GO PRO/ NYC, I was reminded of what an amazing emerging professional membership base the Society has, one with a significant amount of knowledge and passion to share. The eagerness of emerging professionals to immerse themselves in pro bono work is amazing. They are not afraid of new technologies or business models, and they have a curiosity and openness that will tear down walls of ownership and turf and will forever change our profession.
As we plan for the future of interior design, ASID is committed to investing in students and emerging professionals. Our staff and volunteer leaders will continue to provide valuable resources and programming to help the next generation of interior designers navigate the path to success. But that’s not enough. We need you to encourage and nurture that next generation. Do it to honor the times you were mentored as a student and young designer. If you’re like me, you’ve never forgotten your mentors. Give a young interior designer the opportunity to remember you as one of the great influences in his or her life.
Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, FASID, CID, LEED AP BD+C
ASID National President