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Mar 18, 2024 By Vasia Rigou
Meet IIDA Senior Industry Sales Manager Adrienne Smith
Blending passion and purpose at IIDA
By Vasia Rigou Mar 18, 2024
Published in Articles

We sit down with Adrienne Smith, Senior Industry Sales Manager and the latest addition to IIDA HQ. With a rich background spanning broadcast sales and sales management across both nonprofit and commercial sectors, Smith shares how her diverse experiences have seamlessly transitioned her into the creative and purpose-driven world of IIDA. From her initial attractions to IIDA's mission to her strategic approach to sales and community building within the interior design industry, she offers insightful reflections on her role, the importance of communication for success, and her aspirations for the future. Beyond her professional endeavors, she opens up about the personal passions and pursuits that inspire and ground her—from the joy and awe she finds in her family, the thrill of live music, and her ventures into container gardening as a strategic move against the squirrels of Oak Park.

You have extensive experience in broadcast sales and sales management within non-profit and commercial organizations. In what ways has your background prepared you and how will it inform your new role at IIDA?

I’m finding my combined past experiences to be excellent preparation for my role at IIDA. My former non-profit job didn’t allow for any sort of creative outlet. While my previous commercial experiences had some creative elements, they didn’t fulfill my desire to work within an organization that was working toward a greater good, something beyond a corporate bottom line. Being able to support IIDA and our members while working in the creative world of Commercial Interior Design and the ability to create sponsorship opportunities for clients is my idea of a perfect match.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind to ensure a seamless and cohesive approach to our sales initiatives?

Communication, for sure. Strong internal communication is key, along with a healthy dose of spreadsheets or project management documents.

What do you hope to accomplish in this position—both short and long-term?

My most immediate goal is to ramp up my knowledge of IIDA and the opportunities we offer to all of our members, both on the design and manufacturer side. It’s a learning curve and I’m thrilled to be expanding my knowledge every day. My long-term goal is the same as in all my previous jobs: address client needs, find existing or curate new opportunities to address those needs and finally do it so well those clients are long-term partners who continue to support the organization for many years to come.


Can you talk about the importance of community within IIDA, interior design, and the world at large?

In my mind, at its most basic, community is people working toward a common goal for the betterment of all. As a member association, IIDA is a great example of community both amongst our members and of course internally within the IIDA team. I’ve heard manufacturers and designers say they can’t do their jobs without the other. It’s a symbiotic relationship, another sort of community. We all have our own communities in various parts of our lives and I’m forever hopeful that building community in our own lives will ultimately impact the world at large.

What inspires and motivates you?

At the risk of sounding cliche, my family, and especially my children inspire me. They are the best of my husband and me. I feel such awe at what interesting, kind people they’ve become. I’m also greatly inspired by music. There is a sense of connection in a live music audience that I haven’t felt anywhere else. I’m an avid container gardener, planting flowers and vegetables when the weather turns warmer. Container gardening, instead of putting plants in the ground, is a strategic choice as it gives me an advantage in my ongoing battle with the squirrels of Oak Park. They like nothing more than to wait until vegetables are just about ripe to eat them right in front of me!

When you’re not busy supporting the IIDA Sales Department, how do you relax and unwind?

My husband and I see a lot of live music and travel to a few destination music festivals. We also enjoy cooking together. I thrift, rather unsuccessfully, wondering if those Instagram-worthy thrift stores actually exist. I also throw pottery. It’s an incredibly humbling hobby that keeps me striving to get better. Seeing the evolution from my initial pieces to those I throw now is motivating but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I also research my family genealogy during the winter months when the rabbit hole of all that documentation is a welcome addition to the cold days.

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