Employee Spotlight: 2024 Design Champion, Filo Canseco

June 18, 2024
Putting a Piece of Himself in His Work

Recently honored as Ankrom Moisan’s first-ever Design Champion through the new AM Rewards & Recognition program, Filo Canseco goes above and beyond, pushing the boundaries of graphic design by putting part of himself into his work.

 

 

Filo’s Design Champion Banner.

 

Filo became interested in design at an early age. Coming from a creative family, he was naturally attracted to anything related to art and design, often taking up the modes of expression shared with him by his relatives. “My uncle Aaron, who is an illustrator, introduced me to graphite and chalk early on in my childhood. Similarly, my aunts embroidered, so I learned embroidery,” Filo shared. It wasn’t until later that he realized why his family were passing on their creative abilities. “They knew that because of our family’s immigrations status at the time, having recently become naturalized citizens, they had missed their opportunity to pursue the arts. I was the only one who had a chance of pursuing design in college and as a career.”

 

Interested in animation and the process of making illustrations come to life, Filo applied to The Art Institute of Portland after high school. He wasn’t accepted at the time, which was “devastating,” but something he’s glad about now. Despite not immediately applying to a college design program again, Filo pursued his passion for design wherever he could. “I created business cards and websites for friends’ small businesses, designed posters for friends in bands, and later picked up photography and videography,” he said. Though he was immersed in creating unique one-of-a-kind designs for friends, he felt that his lack of technical knowledge meant he didn’t qualify as a true graphic designer. “I designed my entire brand identity in Photoshop without knowing much about Adobe’s software. It wasn’t until a friend suggested I start charging for my design services that I considered this as a potential career.”

 

Filo saw his opportunity to follow his dream and practice design and took it. When he returned to higher education nine years later, it was confirmation that a career in graphic design was indeed meant for him. Even though he already had some experience under his belt, learning the ins and outs of design in an academic setting changed his perspective on his process. “I was captivated by the fundamentals of graphic design, graphic design history, hand-lettering, pottery, digital graphic design, and all its multifaceted realms,” Filo said. “We learned design, we learned what the great classical artists were thinking and feeling, then we broke down their designs to be put back together with a little piece of ourselves in there. That was huge for me. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I feel that change in approach is what keeps me producing innovative work.

 

 

 

Filo at his desk in the Portland office.

 

When Filo first started at Ankrom Moisan after graduating from Portland State University in 2022, it was during the pandemic, before AM’s offices instated a two day per week in-person requirement. Because of this, Filo only met a handful of people after starting. “I might have seen Juan Conci or Fernando Abba, our Visualization Managers, once or twice,” he recalled. “It was very lonely. There was nobody in the office. Everything was through Teams meetings.”

 

Looking back, Filo believes that this slow introduction to the world of Ankrom Moisan worked in his favor. “I was fresh and brand new not only to an architecture firm, but also to having a graphic design job. Pandemic distancing and remote work gradually got me into Ankrom Moisan’s firm culture and what my role was.” He feels lucky to have been able to meet people one at a time, as it gave him a better chance to form connections with new coworkers and assimilate to a new industry than if he had met everyone all at once.

 

Being able to integrate into AM’s work culture at his own pace deeply influenced how Filo takes a project’s design direction and turns it into an effective deliverable that resonates with the company’s culture and wins new projects.

 

 

Filo’s design work for the ‘Women Rising’ DEIB campaign

 

Over the past two years, Filo and his eye for design have grown considerably. He’s grown accustomed to taking the lead on design campaigns, and the responsibility that comes with it, thanks in part to Ankrom Moisan’s unique structure and system of support. “I don’t think I would have grown as fast as I did if Ankrom Moisan’s work culture wasn’t so well established. If I had my first job at a popular downtown design firm, I would have had to go through a lot more hierarchy to get where I am today,” he remarked. “I would have been forced into the box of ‘junior graphic designer,’ and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grow and realize that I have a lot more capabilities than that.”

 

Growing into his new capabilities, Filo realized that one of his favorite parts of doing graphic design at Ankrom Moisan is the glowing feedback he often receives after completing a deliverable. “It feels so rewarding to do so much with such a small team,” Filo expressed. “People will come to us and ask what external team we hired, and it’s just like ‘no, we’re just a group of three people taking Ankrom Moisan’s supportive culture and producing this collateral.'” For this reason, the DEIB people-centered campaigns have been a favorite of Filo’s. “These campaigns have really projected me into a space where I can be a graphic designer as well as a creative lead.”

 

 

 

Filo with Emily Lamunyan and Dani Murphy behind the scenes of the AMasterclass DEIB campaign.

 

When he found out about his recognition as Design Champion, Filo didn’t know how to react. “I didn’t know our president, Dave, would make a video response. I was completely blown away and had to take a moment to really let it sink in,” he said. It was a bit of a surprise. “I found out in a Teams meeting. It was a little awkward finding out and then making my own poster,” he joked. “I guess it had to happen though, since I’m the one doing graphics; there was no way of having somebody else make it.”

 

 

Filo’s Design Champion nomination video.

 

Recognized in his nomination video by President Dave Heater, Vice President Alissa Brandt, Director of Marketing Emily Lamunyan, and Visualization Manager Juan Conci for his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone as well as for his game-changing design work that gives Ankrom Moisan a competitive advantage, Filo shared just how and why his graphic design efforts have had such a big impact on the firm. “Feeling like I can reach out to anyone on the marketing team at any point to get feedback is just golden. I haven’t experienced that with any other job.” Aside from his team’s support, Filo can produce such stellar graphics, putting part of himself into his designs, because of his working process. “My process is about staying curious to ensure the final design is innovative and cutting-edge, not formulaic,” he explained. “I’ve been fortunate to have an innately curious personality. I didn’t realize it until recently, but it’s what helps me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to integrate my lived experience into my designs.”

 

 

Filo’s promotional work for the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration DEIB campaign.

 

As one of the first Ankrom Moisan employees to be celebrated through the new Rewards & Recognition program, Filo has high hopes for the future of the program. “I hope and envision that the rewards and recognition program transcends Ankrom Moisan. It’s a great way to show how important and strong our culture is here,” Filo said. “I also hope future champions see the acknowledgement as a milestone and an opportunity to reflect on their career. Being recognized made me step away from work and life and realize how I’ve changed as a professional.

 

Reflecting on advice for emerging young professionals in the field of graphic design, Filo had this to offer. “You’ve done the hard work when it comes to learning and educating yourself. Now that you’ve graduated, take it slow. Have fun. I know it sounds cheesy since it’s one of our HOWs, but having fun with what we do is super important to creating balance.” He also emphasized that “making mistakes, as well as connections, is ultimately what helps you get to know your team and everyone else at the firm.”

 

Taking his Design Champion recognition as a chance to look back at his career, Filo reflected on how everything he learned from his family, high school, gap years, and time at PSU has led him to this moment. “Being a graphic designer has always been my goal, but I now see new opportunities to become much more,” he revealed. “I see myself in a role where I can share my experiences – perhaps as a mentor, a supervisor, or a director. Who knows!” Right now, Filo’s focus is on just enjoying his moment. It’s more than deserved.

 

Employee Spotlight: Amanda Lunger

February 8, 2024
A Q&A with Ankrom Moisan's Newest Sustainability Advocate

Amanda Lunger wears many hats and has lived just as many lives. Recently, she was promoted to the role of Sustainability Advocate. Reflecting on her journey to this new position, Amanda sat down to discuss sustainability, career advice, and how her final studio project at the University of Oregon – a passive house affordable housing project – led to her being recruited to work at Ankrom Moisan.

 

Amanda Lunger outside the PDX office

 

Amanda outside of Ankrom Moisan’s Portland office.

 

Q: You were recently promoted to a sustainability role within the practice team. What can you tell me about that?

 

A: Well, we’ve had different groups in the office before to try and push sustainability initiatives and ensure there is adequate education about the topic, but now we’re taking the extra step of having a dedicated role that’s responsible for setting and executing goals and initiatives related to the sustainability of the firm. In this sense, I work in an overhead capacity to develop internal processes and education opportunities to further our sustainability efforts, and then also support projects as the need arises. It entails helping people set sustainability goals, research different technologies, and assisting with the selection of appropriate sustainability certification programs for projects. Eventually, I’ll assist with business development, telling the story of Ankrom Moisan’s sustainability expertise on our website and in RFPs, helping designers feel prepared to talk to clients about sustainability.

 

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

 

A: I think to me, sustainability is recognizing the interconnectedness of all the decisions that we make as humans and understanding that those decisions have implications for all the other living things on this planet, as well as for future generations and even our future selves. Personally, my values and beliefs around sustainability are inherently tied to my spiritual beliefs, because I believe that all life has intrinsic value and that we have a moral obligation to look out for the wellbeing of all living things on this planet.

 

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?

 

A: I hope to help create and push forward a culture at Ankrom Moisan where sustainability is just part of everything we do. Many different things might have to happen to get us there, but if Ankrom Moisan can be known as a firm with expertise in sustainability, and if our staff can really feel that, then that’s a good sign of success to me.

 

Luckily, firm leadership has decided that this is the year to really start prioritizing sustainability. I am so excited to be a part of that effort and to help with that push while we have the momentum and support of leadership. It feels like a good time to be stepping into this role.

 

Q: Aside from sustainability-driven efforts, what is your favorite type of work to do? Why?

 

A: I really love the work I’ve done here at Ankrom Moisan with our mission-driven nonprofits. Specifically, working on affordable housing with REACH has been very rewarding because I really respect the mission of those clients. What they’re trying to do is better the lives of the people they serve.

 

I also enjoyed being in more of an overhead support position with the transition to BIM, and now again with my new sustainability role. I’ve realized over the course of my career that I get the greatest fulfillment from helping my coworkers and making their lives easier. I feel very appreciated in those kinds of support roles – they’re what I enjoy most.

 

Q: How long have you been at Ankrom Moisan?

 

A: I’m a boomerang employee. Initially, I worked here for two years – from 2013 to 2015 – as an architect, but then left Ankrom Moisan to work at a few other offices. I came back in February of 2019 to work as a BIM specialist because I wanted to make a lateral switch in my career. For this go around, I guess I’ve been here a full five years. I’m entering my sixth year.

 

Q: What brought you here?

 

A: This is a fun story. So, I was at the University of Oregon in my final year of the architecture program. I was doing a terminal studio, which encourages students to focus their final project on an area that’s of special interest to them. At the time I had gotten really into sustainability and passive house because of one of my professors, Professor Alison Kwok. I went through a whole intensive passive house training program and got my Certified Passive House Consultant Accreditation (CPHC). For my final studio, I was looking specifically at the applicability of passive house to affordable housing and how mission-driven nonprofits could really benefit from the deep energy savings of passive house, since they’d be able to save money on building operations and funnel those funds back into their programs for clients and the people who live in their buildings. So that’s what I designed. I picked a site in San Francisco and a fake client – a nonprofit affordable housing developer – and I ran an energy model on it, demonstrating how it could meet the passive house standard.

 

Isaac Johnson ended up being one of my reviewers during my final review. I was really interested in Ankrom Moisan at the time because of the work the firm was doing with affordable housing. Well, after graduation I was working with another firm when I got a call out of the blue from Isaac Johnson. He said something like “Hey, so I remember reviewing your final studio project, and we basically have that project at Ankrom Moisan now. Do you want to come work for us?” He was talking about Orchards at Orenco which is a REACH Development affordable housing project that was pursuing passive house standards, so obviously I said yes. It was really cool coming out of college and working on a project with the exact same sustainability goals that I was passionate about.

 

Orchards at Orenco

 

Orchards at Orenco.

 

Q: What was it like when you first started out?

 

A: We were still on Macadam. It wasn’t the nice office we have now. I remember it felt a little more hodgepodge, but also like there were distinct families within the office. I worked in the basement – there were very few of us down there. We had our own kitchen and conference room; it was like our whole world. It was a very tight-knit group of people because of that. A lot of the young professionals were also recent college graduates like me. It was really nice having that community to commiserate with and co-mentor together.

 

I was part of two distinct families. There was Jeff Hamilton’s team in the basement, and then there was the recent college graduate family that was spread across different project types. Elisa Zenk and Stephanie Hollar started around the same time I did and were part of that cohort. We became really close friends, along with Elisa’s now-husband who was also part of that cohort. It was a cool way to learn about stuff that was happening across the office, because Elisa would be working on student housing, Tim on something else, and Will on something completely different as well. It made us feel more connected to the firm.

 

There were also a lot of recreation opportunities. We had a volleyball team; we would play soccer during lunchtime out at the park. It was a great community.

 

Amanda, Elisa + Stephanie on the PDX roof

 

Amanda with Elisa Zenk and Stephanie Hollar on the rooftop of Ankrom Moisan’s Portland office.

 

Q: Since starting here, how have you grown professionally?

 

A: My biggest area of growth has been figuring out how to collaborate with other people. You can’t just rely on yourself. You have to work with other people if you want the best results. Knowing your coworkers’ talents and who to reach out to is a very soft skill that nobody really talks about, but I think it’s so critical to the success of the work that we do. As buildings get more complex and we want to use more and more data to inform our designs, having good collaboration becomes all that much more important.

 

Q: Since you started here, what has the biggest change in the firm or industry been?

 

A: It has to be the COVID-19 pandemic. That changed the way we work and the way that we collaborate. It also changed the culture of the firm a bit. I think one of the good things that come out of it is that there’s a greater understanding of work-life balance and mental health, and a greater awareness that those things should be prioritized. Sometimes it can feel like the division between work and home doesn’t exist as much, but I think in general, we’re just more flexible about how we work.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working here?

 

A: My favorite thing about working at Ankrom Moisan is the people. I’ve found the across the board, in all echelons and experience levels, in all project types and studios, we just have great people. There’s so much support from everyone, not only because of what you can do professionally, but also just because of who you are as an individual. The people I’ve worked with have been excellent coworkers who take a personal interest in you.

 

Q: What inspires you?

 

A: It’s definitely nature. I know that sounds cliché, but you won’t find any better designs that what is found in nature. Any system you’re trying to optimize has been done in nature.

 

My favorite natural space is probably Milo McIver State Park on the Clackamas River. My husband and I are avid disc golfers, which is probably one of the reasons I love that place so much. It’s so lush and green and has such tall trees. There’s also the river there, which is very pretty. It’s so cool to see how the flow of the Clackamas changes seasonally.

 

McIver State Park

 

Milo McIver State Park throughout the seasons.

 

Q: What advice do you have for young professionals who are just starting out in their careers?

 

A: Don’t isolate yourself. Find your tribe. Find your support system of both other young professionals and more experienced people who you can learn from. It makes a huge difference. It helps keep you motivated and wanting to improve yourself. It also helps with mental and emotional health, knowing that you have a support person who you can grab coffee with or step outside to talk about the rough day you’re having.

 

Get in the habit of taking a personal interest in getting to know your coworkers. Don’t be that person who looks the other direction when you’re walking down the hallway who tries to avoid saying hello. If you’re genuinely interested in your coworkers, it’s a lot easier to pick up the phone and call them about something or send them a random message on Teams. It can even become something that you look forward to if you have coworkers that you enjoy chatting with.

 

Lastly, I would say, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Nobody is expecting you to be an expert. Take advantage of that by asking questions and learning from people.

 

Black and white headshot of Jack Cochran, the author of this blog post.

 

By Jack Cochran, Marketing Coordinator

Dave Heater Receives the 2023 Vistage Lifetime Achievement Award

December 18, 2023

Dave Heater has been a member of Vistage, an executive coaching organization for CEOs and key executives, since 2016—the same year he became President of Ankrom Moisan.  

 

This year he was selected as the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, an award celebrating visionary leaders who embody Vistage values. 

 

Dave’s achievement lies in having fostered very high client retention and employee satisfaction rates. His 100% ownership ESOP plan fosters team morale and prosperity, and he aspires to double the company’s size in four west coast offices. Leveraging diverse industries like housing, hospitality, senior, office, and healthcare, Dave ensures steady clientele and abundant design prospects. 

 

“One of the things I am most proud of is establishing a vision for our company. A vision that includes our driving purpose, where we are going and how we all need to work together as a team to achieve that vision.”

 

Learn more about our vision here.

 

Dave with AM founders, Tom Moisan and Stewart Ankrom | Dave at the 2022 AM Holiday Party

 

Watch Dave’s acceptance video here. 

 

More about the 2023 Vistage Awards here.  

Employee Spotlight: Dani Murphy

November 28, 2023
Curating an Inclusive, People-Forward Culture

When it comes to fostering inclusivity and community, Dani Murphy knows the significance of a welcoming culture firsthand. Though she is still fairly new to Ankrom Moisan (she just celebrated her one-year work anniversary in November), Dani has quickly become a cornerstone for the firm’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and culture efforts, making significant strides to ensure that everyone in the firm feels welcomed, accepted, and appreciated.

 

Dani Murphy PDX Office Rooftop Portrait

 

Dani on the roof of Ankrom Moisan’s Portland office.

 

She wasn’t always involved with DEIB initiatives, though. Born and raised in Irvine, California, Dani graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Political Science. Now, she’s an HR Data and Systems Analyst. “I came into this field a couple of jobs back, purely from an analytical standpoint. I was asked to partner with the newly established DEIB team, and they asked me to do some analytics for them to report back to leadership,” Dani explained. “That’s kind of how I got interested in this field. I’ve slowly pivoted to DEIB programming since then.”

 

It’s been a great match so far, as DEIB programming is relatively new, according to Dani. “It isn’t something that’s been around forever, but it’s very, very important when creating an effective organizational culture.”

 

Since these programs are people-focused, it’s no surprise that Dani encourages planning and organizing them by starting with the people that make up Ankrom Moisan’s team members. “It all comes together mainly by communicating with people around the office, hearing from them and discovering something they want to learn more about,” Dani said. She stressed the significance of listening to coworkers, stating that “there’s no one-size-fits-all for programming. It’s all pretty specific to the people who make up the company. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t is half of the [struggle]. When it all comes together and works, I feel extremely accomplished.”

 

DEIB Council Group Photo

 

Dani and the rest of the DEIB Council on the roof of Ankrom Moisan’s Portland office.

 

Through her many conversations with her Ankrom Moisan coworkers, Dani came to realize that people are “far more dynamic than who they are in the workplace.” She credited Principal-in-Charge Laurie Linville-Gregston and Senior HR Business Partner Charlene Brown as being the inspiration for that epiphany, explaining how she discovered that Laurie is a beekeeper who jars her own honey, and that Charlene rides a motorcycle. “I was like, oh wow, those are cool facts. I want to know more!” she said.

 

Dani organized an event for Ankrom Moisan employees to show off their hidden talents and be their authentic selves, remarking that “there’s a lot of amazing people here, but I haven’t even met like a third of them. Who knows what other secrets and hidden talents lay out there?”

 

The Women’s Walk event started off as a way to highlight the unique achievements and hidden talents of the women at Ankrom Moisan by walking around the office and speaking with them about their work and passions.

 

2023 Women's Walk Event

 

2023 Women’s Walk event.

 

The first AM Women’s Walk event was a major success. “There are some amazing things that were brought in. We work in a very creative industry, so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of great artists working alongside us,” Dani remarked. “Who knows if that’s what the event will be like in the future. It might be the same, it might be different, but the act of getting people together and showcasing a little bit more about who they are, I think that’s really something special to continue.” Alongside planning the Women’s Walk, Dani also contributed to the success of Ankrom Moisan’s Women’s Month programming, organizing the Women Rising Panel that featured five incredible female leaders from across the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

 

Guest speakers at the 2023 Women Rising Panel

 

Guest speakers at the 2023 Women Rising Panel.

 

The Women Rising Panel aimed to provide perspective about the lived experience of being a woman in a leadership role in a male-dominated industry, and gave Ankrom Moisan Employees a chance to as these women questions, as it’s not very often we can hear from voices like these in a non-work environment. To make the event even more impactful, Dani did hours of research beforehand to formulate the most thought-provoking questions for the women on the panel. The composition of the panel was thought out and unique – Dani wanted to make sure that the women we heard from were not limited to being CEOs, presidents, or executives. In Dani’s eyes, it was integral to include all levels of leadership, because being a leader manifests in many ways, whether it’s for an entire company or a single team. Overall, the event was a huge success. The women who participated as members of the panel left celebrating the inclusive sense of camaraderie that they felt with one another.

 

Dani emphasized the immense importance of inclusivity in this sense, declaring that “when people feel comfortable and valued and heard, they’re able to be their authentic selves. Getting to know someone’s authentic self is very rewarding.” Furthermore, when people feel they can be themselves, they are more likely to share their true thoughts and opinions, leading to a greater sense of belonging within the company. As Dani puts it, “we need to understand each other and what we all value in order to create something that is worthwhile for all of us.”

 

“From a company standpoint, it makes so much sense to support initiatives [and programming like the Women’s Walk],” Dani continued. “When people feel that sense of community and inclusion at work especially, it has been shown to lead to higher levels of performance improvement, of retention, and it attracts candidates when prospective employees see that a company is dedicated to getting diverse groups of people together and making them feel included and supported; it just naturally builds community.”

 

To further bolster the supportive company culture of inclusion, community, and diversity, Dani sat down with Ankrom Moisan President Dave Heater during Pride Month to candidly discuss how his identity as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community has influenced and impacted his career in architecture. “It’s valuable to hear the wisdom of someone who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community and successful in this industry,” Dani explained. “It’s very similar to the Women in Leadership panel. It’s not easy to be vulnerable about the issues that affect marginalized communities in this field.”

 

 

This effort connects to Ankrom’s HOWs in the sense that by supporting and encouraging people to be their authentic selves and share their thoughts and opinions openly, Ankrom Moisan Employees are empowered to explore beyond the expected and make our firm the best place to work.

 

At the end of the day, Dani believes the people are the best thing about working at Ankrom Moisan. “We have a group of very passionate and creative people, and the more I talk to and meet these people, the more I realize how much [events and programming like] this means to some of them,” she stated.

 

Extremely modest about the depth of her involvement with the DEIB Council, Dani emphasizes how it’s never a one-person effort. “I want to hear input and create something meaningful for everyone,” she said. “I can help do it and help push [programming] in the right direction to make sure things get done, but at the end of the day it’s a group effort. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

Dani’s work extends past programming and into extracurriculars. Events like Women’s Month or Hispanic Heritage Month – which honored the existing community of Hispanic and Latino people at Ankrom Moisan by discussing how their background influences their work, and by celebrating their respective cultures through the rich, shared tradition of empanadas – are just one piece of the pie when it comes to the organizational culture Dani champions. If she can’t plan an event or put together programming, Dani does her best to compile a list of resources to help educate and celebrate any cultural celebration, from Black History Month to Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. These lists often include book, movie, and podcast recommendations, museum exhibits and other local events to attend, and minority-owned businesses to support, among other volunteer opportunities.

 

“There’s a ton of different initiatives and policies that the DEIB Council is going to be focusing on,” Dani revealed. “There are educational and volunteering opportunities, both of which connect us to the community at large. There are a ton of avenues for education.” That’s really what Dani’s position is all about: providing her coworkers with ample resources and opportunities to be themselves, embrace their passions, learn more about topics that pique their interest, connect with others, and show off the hidden talents that make them unique.

 

As for Dani herself, her hidden talents are her athleticism, artistry, culinary skills, and green thumb. During the pandemic, she punch needled an 8-piece solar system that she showed off at the AM Women’s Walk. “At the time it was a combination of what I was most interested in; space and punch needling,” she shared.

 

Dani with her punch needle solar system

 

Dani with her punch needle solar system at the Women’s Walk.

 

It’s clear that Dani’s efforts as both an individual and as a member of the DEIB Council make her a cornerstone of Ankrom Moisan’s company culture. She is always eager to meet new people, listen to their thoughts and feelings, and lift them up in ways that continue to make Ankrom Moisan the best place to work. After all, in her own words, it’s the people that make this place so great.

 

Black and white headshot of Jack Cochran, the author of this blog post.

 

by Jack Cochran, Marketing Coordinator

Summer Travel

November 20, 2023
A Q&A with the Workplace and Healthcare Teams

The summer has wrapped, and wintery weather has found us once again. Our Workplace team had some interesting travels this summer, and they’ve recalled some of their favorite summer travel design inspiration.

 

 

 

Clare Goddard, Senior Associate

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: The beauty of what nature has designed. From Gifford Pinchot to Sisters, OR to Rocky Mountain National Park, from lakes to mountains to tundra and trees, our natural world is so filled with beauty. Beauty that is not perfect or repetitive, that takes you out of the mundane of the day-to-day to appreciate the here and now.

 

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: That not everything has to be perfect and that those elements of surprise are what set a design apart from the boring.

 

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)? 

 

A: I worked from the kitchen table in Sisters, OR and from my in-laws home office in Colorado. No views, but really nice to be able to wrap up work for the day and go on a hike or to take Millie on a different evening walk 😊.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kay Bates, Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: I went to Charlotte, NC for a friend’s wedding. One of the days, my friends and I visited Camp North End. This space has deep history. In 1924, its first intention was for a Ford Motor Company factory. During World War II, the site added 5 massive warehouses to store supplies for soldiers at basic training camps throughout all the southeast. When the Cold War hit, the site’s primary production moved to missile development. Once national threats neutralized, the complex was then sold to a pharmaceutical company. Then in 2017, the 76-acre lot was purchased and opened to the public where 500+ artists, startups, chefs, retail, and cultural festivities now home in this community to express their creativity and collaboration.

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: One of the main reasons why I love this industry is because you can truly bring a community together through design. It was a huge inspiration to me to see such a wide range of demographics in one space. There was something for everyone to enjoy. There was a sense of community. Elements from here I can translate into design work would be creating a safe space where communities help each other out instead of a “every-man-for-themselves” mentality. I also admire how they kept many features of the original history while modernizing it for today’s audience.

 

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: I stopped in Atlanta before going to Charlotte and did work from home. I stayed at my parents’ place, and they set me up in my childhood bedroom, which was strange to be back in. We did not have a second monitor, so my mom brought a huge 50” TV I then connected my laptop to. It was super sweet and throughout my workday she would pop her head in and bring me food. Nothing beats a mother’s love. 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaren DeHaas, Associate Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: The most captivating design elements I saw while in Italy were the seamless balance of new and old elements and the intricate details that were used to create such giant marvels. With such a long and rich history there are so many layers to every aspect of the country, everything from its architecture to the customs are influenced by generation after generation of change and growth.

 

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: One thing this trip reminded me of is how important the details truly are in design. The design as a whole will catch people’s eyes and cause intrigue, but it’s the details that are created up close that hold the attention and make things much more exciting and unique. It’s also important to remember to work with what you have. New, cutting-edge design can be exciting but there are so many stunning creations and forms that have been around for centuries, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. A place’s history is something to be cherished and celebrated, bringing in elements that speak to the history of your project will only make it that much more special in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Kirshner, Associate Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: Chicago is such a fun city to live in, especially as an interior designer. I always stop myself or my friends from admiring the greystones, retro style, gothic revival, etc. To be able to surround yourself with design inspiration every day is a game changer.

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: Overall, the architecture in Chicago sets a very different tone than what I’m previously used to in Portland. On any given day you can explore multiple different neighborhoods and see completely different styles. This wide range of architectural styles has begun to heavily influence my personal design style. I can appreciate the historical aspects of building and want to pull those elements into a project while creating a more modern and suitable design that will fit our client’s needs.

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: I am now fully remote working out of my apartment, with AM allowing us to explore a more hybrid approach to our working style this created an easy transition. It doesn’t hurt that I have a gorgeous view of the city from my apartment as well!!

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Feicht, Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: I was really intrigued by the varieties of scale that I saw in Nashville, the lighting design and signage on the main road was incredibly unique, and how the city integrates the new and the old so seamlessly. Also, there is a “stage” everywhere, even at the airport and the botanical gardens, the vignettes of performance space were remarkably interesting.

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: Nashville is such a fun and lively place, it is encouraging to see designs that could be considered too kitschy, but this city reminds you if it is bright and entertaining, even over-the-top it has personality. I would like to nickname this the “Dolly Parton approach.” Especially because I went twice to the Dolly Parton-themed bar, and that had personality down to the drink garnishes and the beer taps.

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: Many people outside of the interior design industry are unfamiliar with the opportunity that we get to go on factory tours to tile, furniture, flooring, lighting, etc. manufacturers to learn more about their products. The second part of my trip was focused on Crossville Tile, in Crossville, TN where we learned about their tile manufacturing process and sustainability initiatives. So, while I was not on my laptop, I was out in the field spending time with other designers for continuing education and in an educational environment. These trips are a great way to make connections with designers both in Portland and around the US.

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Mahan, Interior Designer

 

Q: What was the most compelling design you saw?

 

A: Design?! It was all about the food!! We were staying in Geneva, Switzerland, for the summer, and did a day trip with friends to the north end of the lake where we visited Le Corbusier’s Villa “Le Lac.” It was the summer home he built for his parents, right at the water’s edge; narrow and streamlined with an open floor plan, one of the first examples of ribbon windows, and beautifully framed views. It was extremely innovative and has stood the test of time.

 

Additionally, we visited the EPFL University campus, a prestigious university in Switzerland, with a campus full of famous architecture. My favorite was the Rolex Learning Center with its cascading design, sweeping over and around the user, through its organic forms and sloped interiors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: How did elements from these new locations translate into your design work?

 

A: Working in healthcare we don’t have a lot of opportunities to take creative risks, however it’s always important to remember that we can include moments of intrigue and interest. While there isn’t a direct correlation between what we visited and my current design work, the inspiration is always welcome.

 

 

 

 

Q: If you worked remotely while on your trip how & where did you work (desk, cafe, balcony with an ocean view, etc.)?

 

A: I worked remotely while we were abroad, based out of my husband’s apartment in Geneva. Luckily, it meant I could set up my workstation and leave it intact, whereas when we travel and work out of hotels it can be laborious to get yourself set up each day and find a good workspace that is not going to leave you with shoulder pain. My recommendation is finding the pillows you need to get yourself at the correct seated height, and I always travel with an external monitor so I can have two screens. Two screens are a must! And there are lots of options for lightweight travel monitors. Otherwise, of course a nice view and a pleasant breeze are a bonus! The other tricky part when you are working and traveling is getting food for the day, so if you can find a hotel with a mini fridge that helps. And then of course identify your favorite croissant and espresso spot.

 

 

Getting a Parent’s Perspective on Student Housing 

October 18, 2023
A Q&A with Matt Janssen

2023 has been a big year for Matt Janssen. With his youngest leaving for college, it was the first year both of his kids were out of the house. What’s more, they both moved into student housing projects that Ankrom Moisan designed.  

 

Matt, a Design Principal at AM, recently sat down and talked to us about what it was like to view these projects from a fresh, and intimate, perspective—as a parent of a resident. 

 

 

Q: Over the summer you moved your son into Union on Broadway. What was that experience like? 

 

A: Walking into an Ankrom Moisan project I’ve worked on is always special, but this visit was especially meaningful. As we entered Union on Broadway, I remember we gave each other anxious looks. Here he was, a University of Oregon freshman who had just been given a job on the Duck football team and was now moving out of the house to live alone for the first time in his life. He was nervous. I was even more nervous.  

 

 

Union on Broadway 

 

Q: What were you thinking then? 

 

A: I recall thinking about all the aspects of the design that I hoped he would get to enjoy. As we walked through the amenity space on the twelfth floor, I wondered if he had brought a swimsuit to use the hot tub after his long days at Autzen Stadium. As I watched him get settled in his new studio apartment, I noticed his anxiety quickly being replaced by excitement, and I knew this was the perfect place for him to begin his next chapter. 

 

 

Matt and his son at Union on Broadway  

 

Q: And just a few months later your eldest moved into The Standard at Seattle. That was a significant project for you, wasn’t it? 

 

A: Yes. I started designing The Standard at Seattle, the largest project of my architectural career, in the fall of 2018. A new client, Landmark Properties, had asked AM to design a comprehensive student housing community in Seattle’s U-District, next to the University of Washington. It was a really exciting opportunity. 

 

 

Q: What was it like to not only see it completed but to also get to move one of your children into the community?

 

A: Almost exactly five years after starting the project, I got to walk through the heart of the project—an urban mid-block pedestrian corridor that weaves between the twin 25-story towers—with my eldest. That was a special moment. I had seen that view of the project so many times before, but only through virtual reality glasses in our office.  

 

 

The Standard at Seattle

 

This is their last year at the University of Washington and their first time living off campus. A myriad of people helped us get everything up to the apartment and I remember after they left we all just looked at each other. “This place is incredible!” That made me smile and feel good that this was going to be the perfect ending to a wonderful University of Washington experience. 

 

 

Matt and his family at The Standard at Seattle

 

 

 

By Matt Janssen, Design Principal

Defining Our Vision and Values: Part 2

September 15, 2023
Setting Our Sights Toward Our Hows

This is part of a series of the origin of Ankrom Moisan’s mission, vision and values. Read Part 1 here.

 

During the Great Recession we began a decade-long deep dive to define and refine AM’s mission, vision, and values. A diverse mix of leadership and all offices and departments embarked upon the pivotal retreat in 2018. From there, smaller groups met to filter through the stories and uncover our shared values or “Hows”. Along the way, small groups engaged in the Why and How sessions telling stories to show how they were individually connected to the firm’s greater purpose.

 

According to Simon Sinek’s process of finding your Why, Hows aren’t aspirational. Rather, they are how you behave on your best day, and what you wish to do more of in pursuit of your Why / greater purpose. These action words needed to be grounded in the behaviors that make us great and occur often.

 

Throughout 2018 a representative group of twelve from the initial retreat kept meeting over and over to sift through all the stories and values both old and new to determine what really represented Ankrom Moisan at our best and the behaviors we most wanted to replicate each day. Each meeting involved telling each other stories that represented the words that were emerging as our How’s. If there weren’t enough stories then the word or value was left behind or merged with another idea that was supported by past examples.  There were too many words at first, and our intention was to fine-tune the list until just five values remained. Over time it became evident that in the shared stories were core themes, and these themes became the criteria for defining our values: they ought to represent how to behave, and they must be actionable. We were able to narrow our shared values down to six.

 

 

Lead with our heart. Share openly. Embrace change. Have fun with it. Be yourself. Trust.

 

 

Jason Roberts, a Managing Design Principal that participated in the How sessions, shares his recollection, “The group word-play exercises and stories were so much fun, there was tons of whiteboard writing, scratching off, editing down, and we’d come back and realize we missed something, and continue to fine-tune it all. And despite the number of people involved, the challenge of defining words and phrases that includes everyone was successful. The results really do speak to how we do our work together.”

 

 

The next step was to engage everyone at the firm – how to do that? We came up with multiple ways, from all office meetings to small group discussions. In every meeting the participants would tell two-minute stories to each other, to make connections to our Hows and our Why:

 

Inspire and empower people to explore beyond the expected.  

 

The meetings included a five-hour deep dive where groups were led through a mini Why retreat, to 1-hour lunchtime activities, to Management Team listening sessions, to fun games like building gingerbread houses that represented one of our Hows. During most of these gatherings people got into groups of six, with President Dave Heater who asked the participants to, “Tell a story about a time you felt inspired to explore beyond the expected.” Then an elected spokesperson would relay their Why or how story back in the larger assembly. The raw reactions of leadership hearing these poignant details was powerful. These shared vignettes solidified our commonalities, broke our hearts open and emphasized how we were a community, and how we inspired one another.

 

According to Jenna Mogstad, Associate Interior Designer, who participated in a few of the early sessions, the group would go around the room and each person would share an anecdote of how the values applied to their own lives; how AM is living up to the stated mission, purpose, and values. During one round, participants gave examples of how leadership supported them personally, which speaks directly to lead with our heart. Jenna shared that over the course of the time she had been at AM, leadership had supported her through multiple family emergencies. She could tell leadership about these challenges and was always met with compassion, and told to ‘go home, be well, we got this, don’t worry about work’. Her supervisors have been incredibly supportive during these personal challenges. As Jennifer Sobieraj Sanin, Managing Design Principal, affirms, “We care about each other that much.” These powerful stories resonated. We were creating shared connections and experiences that deepened our understanding of AM’s place in the world.

 

Approaching embrace change, as Jennifer puts it, “We are about listening and solving in a unique way, and we don’t treat the design like a precious thing. When we embrace change, one can solve in different ways, and offer creative alternatives.” On top of that, Jennifer continues, at AM “we’re all a little quirky, and accepting of people’s eccentricities and what makes them awesome.”

 

Be yourself is a tenet that we encourage because those eccentricities are often what make our designs and work stand out. Jason shares a situation where be yourself shined through in a real way. He once came away from a client meeting bothered by something that the client wanted, thinking, “this is the worst!” It was the sort of thing he couldn’t work with, and with Stewart Ankrom’s blessing he was able to back out of a project that he didn’t believe in. At AM we encourage people to stay true to themselves, and we support one another, especially when it matters the most.

 

 

Identifying with share openly, Jason does so in his role as Managing Design Principal, “to not only do design work, but to talk about it and to share with coworkers – the more we share, the better it gets. Isolation can be inefficient, and I think work is best when more people are involved. Have fun with it goes right into that; fun is important to creative work.” Furthermore, “Trust is always important, the need for it goes through all channels, and AM trusts me, so I try to do my best. As a team leader I need to make sure I’m trustworthy – there are always going to be issues, and trust wins the day. The Hows wrap together, they are interdependent, and we must always work at it.” That our Hows have this quality of interdependence speaks to how interconnected we are; our values surfaced through the narratives that we all could relate to. We are all works in progress, and we apply our Hows to continue to improve and grow.

 

 

Jenna shares that, “it’s cool to see the people of AM make up our Why and Hows; we are the embodiment of each of these values, each person has an example of an experience that backs that up.” Over time we observed that we tend to go the extra length to hire the people who personify our Why and Hows, that our people match the culture that we have created.

 

 

 

by Kerstyn Smith Olson, Content Coordinator

Ankrom Moisan’s Mission and the Emergence of Our Why: Part 1

September 15, 2023
Inspire and Empower People to Explore Beyond the Expected

This is part of a series on the origin of Ankrom Moisan’s mission and vision, our purpose for doing what we do, and the values by which we work. Read Part 2 here.

 

During the Great Recession work was very slow, and our founder Stewart Ankrom retired. With time and transitional change, we found ourselves looking inward, contemplating our purpose and what makes us unique. Tom Moisan, a founder and the president, held a fall retreat to better determine what we stand for, and where we wanted to go.

 

This retreat was the beginning of a more than decade-long journey to capture the collective values that make our firm a great place to work. Tom and seven managing principals met over and over to put words on the wall, defining and refining their deeper meanings, especially: “listening”, “learning, and “empowerment’. From these early sessions, a working list of seven values and our mission (our What) emerged:

 

We design places where people and communities thrive.

 

 

Between 2014 – 2017 we saw high growth, and we were using our values and our mission as a touchstone to orient new employees and attract new clientele. During that time Tom Moisan, our second founder retired, and Dave Heater, Managing Principal of the Seattle office, stepped into the role of President. With the fast and furious growth came the realization that Ankrom Moisan needed to relook at the mission and values and see if they truly communicated the vision and direction of the firm.

 

Around this time President Dave Heater read the book Find Your Why by Simon Sinek; “As I started reading the book, I got so excited because I realized that it was a process that was based on storytelling. And I thought, ‘This is the perfect process for Ankrom Moisan to uncover what is at our core, what is our driving purpose, and what makes us unique in the world.’”

 

 

 

 

We began the Why process in 2018, with thirty of us participating in a two-day retreat. We were a mix of leaders, designers, marketing, and accounting staff: a large cross section of the firm. The process began with an emphasis on storytelling and each person defining their own personal WHY for their life. Stories illuminated motivation, inspiration, and perseverance. The Why statement is meant to bring awareness to “why we get out of bed to come to Ankrom Moisan each day”. Rich, meaningful, personal stories were revealed throughout the retreat, and everyone left feeling energized and uplifted.

 

As one of the leaders participating in the retreat, Jennifer Sobieraj Sanin, Managing Design Principal, marvels that, “it’s incredible that a large group of people sharing stories of experiences at the firm were finding commonalities while crafting the Why. Usually, it takes two years to do anything, and this was successful in two days.”  The Why we came away with during that retreat was unanimously agreed upon:

 

Inspire and empower people to explore beyond the expected.

 

 

Nandita Kamath, Associate Architect, has been with us for over a decade, and she participated in the larger listening sessions as well as some of the smaller workshops over the years. She adds another benefit of the sharing and storytelling, “It was great to hear others’ experiences about starting at AM, and what was great about coming into the firm. It gave us a chance to reflect on why we are here, doing what we’re doing. It has been an inclusive experience.”

 

 

Among the stories told were general themes of coworkers having each other’s backs, shared memes and uplifting messages while facing stressful deadlines. Having a good time, encouraging each other when needed, and being respectful of each other’s lives show that mutual support and camaraderie really stand out as reliable methods of empowering and inspiring each other. Nandita shares that the Why comes up regularly in her day-to-day work, and though it can be tough to put into practice, mentorship is a great example of putting the Why into play, as the benefits of mentorship, ideally, can go both ways. It is an ongoing opportunity to have an introspective look at how we operate.

 

 

Jennifer says that to inspire and empower as a leader is more top-of-mind, and that it’s about making sure you play to people’s strengths, ensuring that they are in a place to succeed, and finding ways to remove obstacles for more confidence and autonomy as needed. And on the client-facing side of things, “it’s often about encouraging your clients to not ‘rinse and repeat’. Let’s try something new, a little different, out of the box.”

 

Our Why continues to resonate, and is present in our everyday work, while interacting with our clients and our coworkers. We are pushed to go further and be better by living by the mission and the Why we have defined for ourselves.

 

 

 

by Kerstyn Smith Olson, Content Coordinator

An Interview with the Oregon Chapter’s 2022-2023 IIDA President, Clare Goddard

August 31, 2023

I sat down with Clare Goddard, now Past President of the IIDA Oregon Chapter to hear about her reflections on the 2022-2023 Board year.

 

 

Q: What has been the most rewarding part about being IIDA President?

 

A: I am going to miss the chapter leader conferences. There’s something so powerful about connecting with other IIDA leaders across the region and the US and being able to commiserate or learn from them (or just make new friends). Even though you don’t get a weekend, I always come back feeling excited to tackle a new challenge.

 

For my term as President, I think the most rewarding part was being a catalyst for change in how the board operates. Having the board willing to not continue with the status quo and embrace change was exciting; not only because it lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, but I feel I was able to make my mark on the IIDA Oregon chapter.

 

I also credit IIDA with keeping me sane and connected when we were all remote – especially during lockdown. Being a part of IIDA and having an outlet outside of work helped to fill my cup and to build my network. I am truly so grateful to be part of this design community.

 

 

Q: What would be your best tip for balancing or prioritizing IIDA and work, life, etc.?

 

 

A: I’ve always had a very clear division between my work and my home life, and those boundaries really helped me in my presidency as well. I had to be aware of my To Do List- I had to get detailed and ask myself what I can accomplish today. What can I realistically accomplish this week? And how am I going to divide that up?

 

I also set strict hours for myself – capping Ankrom work at 40 (no overtime) and trying to do IIDA work after dinner or on the weekends. I really had to focus on prioritizing and stick to those priorities.

 

I think there were sometimes when there was not always the balance that I would have liked between work, IIDA and personal life. In the end though, I was able to find that harmony – and harmony to me is such a better word than balance because balance to me is like one side is always winning and there is more effort in just making them equal. Harmony means that you’ve found some way to make both your personal and your professional life work together and neither one is weighted.

 

I was also incredibly lucky in my presidency to be able to work 100% remotely from home. That has also allowed me to be more flexible and to be better able to create that harmony. Flexibility is key- being able to make my schedule work for myself.

 

 

Q: What has been the most challenging experience during your presidency?

 

A: It was the first six months of my presidency before I took a step back and asked the question “why”. Why did we operate the way we operated?

 

At that time, I was so overwhelmed and felt like I was letting everyone in my life down because I was stretched so thin and felt like I was not making a difference – that I was just trying to keep my head above water. I was just going from event to event, from meeting to meeting and not really accomplishing anything. And then I just had this moment where I realized, I was the president and could make a change to improve how we operated and the president’s role in general. That I could change it, and that I needed to change it. I immediately felt a sense of calm and empowerment. How can we make the Presidency better, how can we make the Directors’ positions better? Giving everyone – including me – a sense of agency to give back to our design community in a more thoughtful way.

 

 

Q: What have you learned while being the IIDA President, skills or experiences, that transfer to your work or have helped you grow in your role here at Ankrom and then specifically on our Workplace team?

 

 

A: The biggest thing being IIDA President has helped me with is delegation. I realized that I could lean more on my team and that I do not have to do it all. I also got to use my business degree – so reusing a skill that had been gathering dust – since running an IIDA chapter is like running a small business. In running that small business and planning multiple events, I was also able to practice my project management skills.

 

The other skill I got to work on was networking and relationship management. As IIDA President – attending both local and national events – I am the face of interior design for the state of Oregon (as our mission statement says). Therefore, when I am at these events, I need to network and act accordingly to make sure that I’m supporting sponsor relations, board member relations, and in general making sure I am representing the organization to the best of my abilities. And I think that’s directly applicable to my role at Ankrom, that when I am at work events or gatherings, I am a representative for Ankrom.

 

 

Q: How are you, your partner, and your dog going to unwind after finishing this year?

 

 

A: We have already taken and planned a few trips to get more quality time together! We took our girl Millie (dog daughter) on her first camping trip a few weeks ago – Millie even SUP’d for the first time. And then in October after the Design Excellence Awards are done, Jacob (partner) and I booked a week trip to Sedona, AZ. We haven’t been on a long trip since I became President, so we’re going to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, go hiking, mountain biking, go to a spa, enjoy some wineries, and eat some yummy food.

 

Also, since I will now have free time, Jacob bought me ceramics lessons at a local pottery studio. I am excited to pretend I am on The Great Pottery Throw Down!

 

 

Thank you, Clare, for an amazing year- I’ve loved watching you be the President with such grace and honesty, both as a colleague and as an IIDA board member!

 

Clare Goddard, Senior Associate Interior Designer

 

Emily Feicht, Interior Designer

Getting Involved in the Interior Design Industry

August 1, 2023
The Benefits of Joining the IIDA

Three members of our interiors department, Roberta Pennington, Clare Goddard and Jessica Kirshner, discuss their experience with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and how their involvement in the organization has propelled their professional careers. 

 

 

Left to right: Jessica Kirshner, Maddy Gorman, Clare Goddard, Roberta Pennington, and Jenna Mogstad at an IIDA event

 

 

Q: What’s your experience with IIDA? How were you involved?  

 

Roberta: I have been an IIDA member since graduating (the second time) in 2001. My first event was an awards breakfast at the Governor Hotel in PDX also in 2001; I didn’t know anyone, but the Members were super friendly and welcoming.  

I attended MANY events consequently then stepped up my volunteer time to the Board in 2009. I dove into the President Elect role during a time when Members, including myself, did not have jobs. IIDA gave me the stability and connection I was missing during the year I was unemployed.  

After my Presidency, I stayed on as a Chapter Advisor and most recently came back to serve on the Board with the Advocacy team. I’ve been involved in one way or another with finding legal recognition for commercial interior design in Oregon since 2003, and I want to continue to be a part of the momentum gaining speed nationally. It’s an exciting time for interior designers on the legal front. 

 

Clare: I have been involved on the board for a little under 5 years (started October of 2018) first as the VP of Communications and then moved into President-Elect/President/Past President roles.  

 

Jessica: I started with IIDA in college, I was on the student board as the fundraising chair. Once I graduated and was hired on full time at AM, I joined the Oregon Chapter Board as the Director of Social Media and I have held this position for the past 2 years.  

 

 

 

 

Q: How did membership in IIDA benefit you professionally? 

 

Roberta: Networking! I can go anywhere locally and nationally, and a complete network of design leaders are available to tap.  

I became much more active during the Recession in 2009 when I stepped up to be President-Elect. The network of people on the Board were instrumental in getting my name to the top of a list of persons to hire when firms were not hiring. I’m very grateful to this group. 

I also got to know women in the profession who were and still are my mentors and friends. Their experiences showed me having a child does not mean the end of my career. Women don’t have to “act like a man” to be taken serious. Speaking my mind does not make me a “bitch.” AND: I’m a very entertaining public speaker. Very liberating. 

 

Clare: Prior to joining the board (and when I was in San Diego), I credit IIDA with connecting me to potential employers and creating a sense of community in a city where I knew no one. Joining the board here in Oregon has greatly improved my leadership and delegation skills. It has also helped me to create a sense of community here in Portland, beyond AM. I consider it a privilege to have served this design community on the board in helping to be the face of interior design for the state of Oregon. Being part of the board, in any capacity, is how I give back to the profession that I am so passionate about.  

 

Jessica: I have been able to attend countless events that have both inspired me and helped me professionally. These ranged from forums to socials. Each event hitting on a different and important topic in our industry. It has also been a great networking opportunity that has allowed me to connect with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  

 

 

 

 

Q: What’s your most memorable moment from your time in IIDA? 

 

Roberta: A standing ovation at the Annual Celebration 2010 at Ziba. I delivered my incoming President speech. I wasn’t sure I was coming in with the right message; that being “We’re not dead; we will get thru this Recession somehow.”  When the room of people stood up, clapped, and cheered, I knew I was going to be okay. The CEO of IIDA National was there and told me she would never go on after me again. A real head-swelling moment. 

 

Clare: That has to be the CLCs (Chapter Leaders Conferences) held in Chicago and regionally. I love getting to connect with leaders from other chapters across the US! It was amazing to learn from others and to make new friends. The CLCs will be what I miss the most post-presidency. 

 

Jessica: I don’t necessarily have a specific moment but getting to serve on board with such amazing people has been so motivating. It’s helped me to grow in so many ways. I’m so thankful to have been on the board.  

 

 

 

 

Q: How did AM support your involvement?  

 

Roberta: In my Board involvement, AM has reimbursed annual dues as well as allocated time for volunteering. My current role as VP of Advocacy means I’m spending time meeting with committees, legislators, consultants, and peers often. I can keep my PTO for actual vacation time. 

AM has also been an annual sponsor to the Chapter every year an employee has served on the Board. That sponsorship is instrumental in keeping the Chapter going. 

Leadership has also written letters to legislators during recent pushes for legal recognition of interior design. This small act shows the value AM places on my education, experience, the NCIDQ, and what I bring to the table as a commercial interior designer.  

 

Clare: AM is one of the more supportive firms in the state. They not only encourage employees to be on the board, but back up that support by paying for IIDA membership and providing 2 paid hours per week for board tasks for those serving on the board. I count myself very lucky to have such a supportive firm.  

Also, I think because of that support, Ankrom has had consistently the highest number of people serving on the board (this past year, there were five AM’ers on the board). We always joke that House Ankrom is taking over. Additionally, not only has AM supported individual board members, but they have also lent us the office for multiple board retreats and board events. 

 

Jessica: AM was completely supportive throughout my time on the board, as well as everyone else in the interiors department who was on the board. The interiors leadership team encouraged us to attend IIDA meetings and events and would even show up to events in support.