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Jan 13, 2023 By Laura Botham
Leaders Breakfast 2022 Recap
Looking back at all the wonderful moments from IIDA’s 2022 Leaders Breakfast
By Laura Botham Jan 13, 2023
Published in Programs

Great leadership is something that can shape the future. From nurturing emerging talent and developing inclusive communities in and out of the workplace, to implementing new innovations and technologies into the ways that we design, work, and live. IIDA’s Leaders Breakfast connects our dynamic design communities across North America to recognize and inspire leaders at all stages of their career. Made possible with international benefactor MillerKnoll and Media Partner Interior Design, we visited eight cities in 2022 for mornings full of celebration, conversation, and networking.

First up, we visited New York on May 12 for an event co-hosted by John Sadlon, Perkins&Will, and Anne Drysdale, MillerKnoll, featuring keynote speaker Leyla Acaroglu, CEO and founder of the UnSchool and Disrupt Design. Sustainability provocateur and cultural protagonist, Leyla challenged the group to think differently about how the world works by connecting systems, sustainability, and design together as tools for addressing the planet’s biggest challenges.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Jennifer Graham IIDA, Perkins&Will Principal was honored for her dedication to her design community. She serves as IIDA NY’s inaugural Vice President of Action and Co-Chair for the Catalyst Committee. Jennifer is passionate about reinforcing IIDA’s goals of equity, inclusion, and openness and would like to accomplish passing legislation of licensure for all interior designers in New York state while working with IIDA NY.

Houston’s August 26 event was hosted by Necia Bonner, Kirksey Architecture and Jessy Fuller Longbotham, J. Tyler with keynote speaker Scott Dikkers, public relations and marketing authority and founder of the Onion who spoke about how he built one of the most famous top comedy brands in the business and how the creative process needs to be open, challenging, and engaging for teams to succeed.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Stephanie Burritt, IIDA, Principal, Managing Director of Gensler, Houston. Stephanie was recognized for her contributions to the interior design profession both abroad and in her local Texas communities, which have paved the way for future generations. As a current member on the Board of Directors for Central Houston she champions for the continued health and growth of Houston and the design community.

San Francisco’s September 9 event was hosted by Yana Ronin, IIDA Northern California Chapter President, FORTYSEVEN Strategy and Cheryl Durst, Executive VP and CEO, IIDA with keynote speaker Jane McGonigal, world-renowned game designer and inventor who spoke about how she believes that by imagining the future we want we can take action now to create that future. She shared how we can train like futurists to apply our design problem solving skills to make a difference in the world by thinking like a futurist.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Donald Cremers, IIDA, Senior Principal and Senior Project Interior Designer, HOK, San Francisco. Donald was celebrated for his passion and his work, where he excels in connecting the interior environments to the architectural context creating holistic design solutions. As a past president for the Northern California chapter of IIDA Donald continues to be actively involved at the international level, consulting on various grant and awards programs.

Toronto’s September 19 event was hosted by Ian Rolston, President, Interior Designers of Canada with keynote speaker Ian McCallum, Munsee-Delaware First Nation. As a Munsee language teacher and researcher, Ian spoke about working with his community promoting culture, and history and the importance of indigenous language revitalization as he reflected upon his language learning journey and the important knowledge within the language.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Marilyn Donoghue, FIDC; Interior Designer and founding member of the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC). Marilyn has been there from the beginning, she forged the pathway for the Canadian design community and was an extraordinary leader every step of the way. IDC was honored to celebrate her life and her tremendous work over the past 50 years.

Los Angeles’s October 7 event was hosted by Jade Li, IIDA Southern California Chapter President, Lamar Johnson Collaborative and Brett Shwery, AECOM with keynote speaker Ben Nemtin, a New York Times Bestselling author, co-founder of The Buried Life movement, Ben spoke about how radical possibility combined with his ‘5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible’ not only inspired but also reminded everyone that it’s never too late to start your Bucketlist and leave your lasting impact on the world.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Barbara Bouza, IIDA, FAIA President, Walt Disney Imagineering who was recognized for her significant contributions over the years to the interior design profession and as the President of Disney Imagineering, she leads the global creative, design, and development teams with groundbreaking ideas. She is a leader ahead of her time and a long-standing IIDA Southern California community member.

Dallas’ October 21 event was hosted by Leigh Ann Cox, MillerKnoll and Michael Francis, MillerKnoll with keynote speaker Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA and founder of The Hip Hop Architecture Camp who spoke about how he is positioning Hip Hop culture as a catalyst to introduce underrepresented youth to architecture, urban planning, and design through his Hip Hop Architecture Camps.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Art Bloodworth, RID-Texas Workplace Design Leader, Principal at DLR Group who was recognized for designing timeless interior workplaces that elevate the human experience for over 20 years. He influences design excellence across 30 global studios and shares this same passion with the many young designers under his mentorship. Art is a vocal design advocate in the interior design industry and in his community, passionately speaking and volunteering.

Atlanta’s October 27 event was hosted by Tara Headley, IIDA Georgia Chapter President, IA I Interior Architects and Elizabeth Heroux, IA I Interior Architects with keynote speaker Maria Brito contemporary art advisor, author, and curator who spoke about her passion for sharing her first-hand studies of more than 450 artists from a variety of cultures and adding her diverse perspective to one of the most important topics today: Creativity in Business was enlightening and inspiring.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Ronnie Belizaire, FIIDA, IIDA’s International Board Vice President and Vice President within JLL’s Project & Development Services business unit who was recognized for her dedication, hard work and impact on the IIDA Georgia chapter, community and industry. Ronnie is passionate about helping her clients transform their organizations through the built environment. Her efforts and work have significantly influenced the design profession over the course of her 16 year career.

And last but not least, the December 9 Chicago event was hosted by Jill Dexter, IIDA Illinois Chapter President, Stantec Architecture and Deborah Nemeth, SmithGroup with keynote speaker Annie Jean-Baptiste, author and Founder of the Equity Army who spoke about how she brought together a human centered approach to multiple dimensions of diversity with the goal of an equitable experience and outcome for underrepresented consumers.

The 2022 Award of Excellence Honoree was named Jim Prendergast, IIDA, FAIA, Design Principal, Gensler who was recognized as a long-standing IIDA community member for his significant contributions as a design leader to both the Chicagoland and Illinois interior design community over the course of his 30 year career.

New this year the Illinois Chapter wanted to celebrate and honor an up-and-coming designer who is making significant contributions to the industry early in their career.

The 2022 Emerging Leader Award was named Justine Scrimali, IIDA, Fitwel Ambassador, Designer at Partners by Design and IIDA IL Board Social Media Co-Director. Justine was recognized for how she is setting the stage for change in the years ahead, in her short seven years in the design industry Justine has committed to expanding community inclusion and diversity in design. Her leadership and motivation to help others is inspiring and her goal of encouraging creativity and positivity from one individual to the next is exactly the type of leadership IIDA is happy to honor.

For more information about Leaders Breakfast, contact Emilee Lyons at eylons@iida.org OR learn more about IIDA’s signature Leaders Breakfast events here.

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