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Jul 17, 2023 By Marci Merola
Beyond Regulation: Announcing the IIDA Advocacy Advisory Council
Meet the deep-thinkers who will steer big-picture advocacy for IIDA and its members
By Marci Merola Jul 17, 2023
Published in

The collective work being done for advocacy for the interior design profession is becoming a well-oiled machine—from blueprint-worthy legislation in North Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa to changes in the national stances of AIA and NCARB paving the way to wider acknowledgement of the unique role of the profession at the state level—the future is promising. The timing was perfect for the arrival of the Consortium for Interior Design, a collaboration between IIDA, ASID and CIDQ, working state-by-state to advance grassroots advocacy efforts and legislation for reasonable regulation.

But there’s more to advocacy than legislation. When the Consortium for Interior Design finally meets its ultimate goal of universal regulation (i.e., when every state and jurisdiction has independent practice rights), the work of advocacy will be far from over. As advocates in those states with recent legislative wins know, that’s when the next level of work begins. Building and sustaining relationships with decision-makers, colleagues, and allies is at the heart of advocacy, reinforcing the importance of interior design legislation and affirming its value to the public. Finding commonalities and shared goals within those key relationships helps to flip the script: from making the case that interior design is indispensable to the health, safety and well-being of the public, to the ways that experienced, interior design work shapes the very nature and success of our lived spaces.

That’s where the Advocacy Advisory Council comes in. On the Council are IIDA members with a wide range of expertise, including practitioners, educators, as well as both seasoned and new advocates who will work together to find ways to integrate IIDA’s initiatives on sustainability, climate change, and social justice into the work of advocacy. While the Advocacy Advisory Council is not new, this new iteration will better reflect the current state of advocacy efforts, providing guidance and vision for advocacy at IIDA. The oversight group convened at the close of the 2023 IIDA Annual meeting. Terms will run two years on a staggered basis. Members of the 2023 Advocacy Advisory Council are listed below.

Jill Dexter, IIDA
Illinois Chapter

Jill Dexter is a Registered Interior Designer in the State of Illinois with over 12 years of experience in corporate interior, retail, mixed-use, and civic design. She has a passion for creating experiential spaces that connect users to their environment, allowing them to engage with thoughtfully designed elements. Acting as a conduit for bringing the client's vision to life, Dexter appreciates a holistic approach to a project and enjoys participating in projects from concept through construction administration to see to it that the client is happy with the final product.

Dexter knows that design is compelling, so she has spent many years volunteering with the IIDA Illinois Board, most recently, serving as 2022-2023 Board President. In addition, she was tapped to participate in Stantec’s Healthy Materials Council and gladly accepted the opportunity to champion healthier practices for clients, end users, practitioners, and the planet. She is an advocate for interior design as a profession, for introducing design concepts to students at a young age, and for educating the design community about sustainable and healthy material practices. Dexter’s participation in the Illinois Chapter and Stantec’s internal organizations allow her to support all of these efforts amongst her colleagues and broader design community.

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Chelsea Harrell Lawrence, IIDA
Carolinas Chapter


Senior Associate Chelsea Harrell Lawrence, NCIDQ, LEED ID+C, IIDA, has a passion for K-12 school design. As an interior designer in LS3P’s Charlotte office, Lawrence brings a unique perspective to each project; she strives to deliver innovative, sustainable designs that help students and teachers to thrive. Lawrence integrates with the architecture team from the earliest stages of the project, which encourages a holistic design achieved through thoughtful concept plans, renderings, and concept plans which engage the client in the process of design.

A graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, Lawrence is also an industry thought leader. In her role as IIDA Carolinas President Elect, her goal is to highlight the ongoing work of the organization and its importance in the industry. She was instrumental in the passage of the recent SB188 Act, which provides a path for interior designers to become licensed in the state of North Carolina.

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Stephanie McCrery, IIDA
Ohio Kentucky Chapter


With 30 years of interior design experience, Stephanie McCrery, IIDA, CID, NCIDQ has been President of Reese Design Collaborative in Louisville, Kentucky since 2009, leading the small interior design and architecture firm with experience in commercial, senior living and healthcare design. Known for building long-lasting relationships with clients, she listens carefully while developing interiors that enhance the architecture and creates meaningful, functional and impactful spaces. In addition to her dedication to IIDA, including serving as President of the Ohio Kentucky Chapter in 2003 and again in 2008, she is currently in her second term as the Certified Interior Designer representative on the Kentucky Board of Architects. This regulatory experience provides unique insights regarding advocacy efforts, reasonable regulation and the profession from across the country.

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Susanne Molina, FIIDA
Southern California Chapter

As a graduate of Parsons School of Design and a degree in Environmental Design, Molina’s background includes architecture, product design & interior design with a focus on the workplace over the past 30 years. At Gensler, Molina’s focus is on Professional and Financial Service Firms. Prior to joining Gensler, Molina had her own practice for 4 years.

Molina is a Past President of the Southern California Chapter of IIDA, a former Vice President on the International Board of IIDA and was inducted into the College of Fellows. She has been an advocate for the recognition and licensure of the practice of commercial interior design for over 15 years, spoken at various advocacy symposiums, testified at hearings, and is currently actively engaged in licensure efforts in the State of California.

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Jon Otis, IIDA
New York Chapter


Jon Otis
is the Founder and Principal of OlA - Object Agency founded in 1999. O|A is a multidisciplinary design studio and design strategy agency, whose work ranges from interior architecture and design, exhibition design, branding & visual communications, product design, web/media design, and strategic consulting.

OlA clients have included: Sundance Channel, Nike/ESI Design, General Motors, Mercedes NA, Corning Museum of Glass, Vitra Design Museum, George Nakashima Woodworker, Edelman Leather, National Basketball Players Association, Tarkett/Tandus, Bentley Mills, & various residences for private clients.

Otis is also a tenured Professor at Pratt Institute where he has taught for 25 years. He earned his BA from Moravian College, and MS Design from the University of Massachusetts. His credentials include having been awarded Fulbright and Lusk Fellowships to Italy where he spent three years working with Ettore Sottsass’ design studio. Otis has also lived and worked in Copenhagen, Denmark for six months.

Otis was honored by being named a 2009 Design Intelligence Most Admired Educator, the 2017 IIDA Educator of the Year, and was awarded the 2020 Robert Herbstman Memorial Leadership Award from Moravian University.

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Cyndi Pederson
Advisor


Cyndi Pederson
has been involved in state government work for 13 years. In that time she served as Chief of Staff to Iowa’s First Lady, Christie Vilsack and also served on the Governors Senior Management team. She was appointed as the Department Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in Governor Culver’s cabinet. During her time in state government she worked closely with the legislature in many capacities. As Director of DCA she handled the department's legislative liaison work and passed instrumental legislation raising the cap on the Historic Tax Credits from 4M to 50M. Due to this passage an enormous amount of historic buildings have been renovated and added to the economic value of the community.

She also spent many years in the nonprofit world starting Iowa’s first non-profit conference in 2010. The conference still exists today educating and providing training to many non profits in the state.

Pederson gives back to her community by serving as President of the Young Women’s Resource Center, Vice President of Arts Midwest; a nine state regional arts organization, board member of the After School Arts Program (ASAP), served on the Capital Campaign for the Des Moines Social Club and was hired as COO and has served on numerous non profit fundraising committees. Art & Design has been a priority as she pursued a degree in Art Education from Iowa State University and a certificate from Drake University as a Certified Public Manager. Pederson also has an Iowa Real Estate license and works with designers in her real estate profession.

In 2017 Pederson joined her husband’s multi-client lobby firm, Pederson Consulting as Vice President. Combined, they have over 45 years of legislative experience at the state capitol. She was excited to lead the charge to help the IIDA-Iowa Great Plains Chapter secure their legislative priority of passing stamp & seal privileges in Iowa during the 2023 legislative session.

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Stacey Crumbaker, IIDA
Pacific Northwest Chapter


Practicing at the intersection of architecture and interiors, Stacey Crumbaker, IIDA, AIA, Advocacy Advisory Council Chair brings a unique perspective and expertise to the design of educational facilities. With more than 15 years of experience, she has cultivated her practice as a response to human experience and deeply believes in design's ability to shape community. Crumbaker was one of five nationwide recipients awarded the 2020 AIA Associates Award. This award is given to Associate AIA members who are outstanding leaders and creative thinkers; recognizing their significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession. She received a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and a Master of Architecture from Arizona State University.

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