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Feb 20, 2024 By Vasia Rigou
Meet IIDA Program Coordinator Sheena Lewis
Join us to uncover Lewis’ vision for inspiring future generations in the field of design through IIDA’s Design Your World program
By Vasia Rigou Feb 20, 2024
Published in Articles

We sat down with Sheena Lewis, IIDA’s new Design Your World Program Coordinator, to dive deep into her rich background, visionary goals, and the profound influence of community and empathy in her life and work. From her roots in Belize and formative years in Chicago to her impactful engagement with the youth at the Boys & Girls Club, Lewis shares how her journey has uniquely equipped her to support IIDA's Design Your World program. She reflects on the critical role of understanding and empathizing with high school students to inspire them towards careers in design, her ambitions for expanding the program nationally, and the foundational importance of community within IIDA and the broader world of interior design. Join us to uncover Lewis’ vision for inspiring future generations in the field of design.

Tell us a bit about where you come from. In what ways has your background prepared you and how will it inform your new role at IIDA?

Originally, I'm from Belize, but I spent about half of my childhood living here in Chicago. Here, I had the opportunity to attend a local Boys & Girls Club and that's where I started to see the beauty of and understand the power of community for young people. Later in my adult life, I went on to work with young people in a similar capacity to what I'd experienced at the Boys & Girls Club. There, I learned that engagement and empathy are keys to keeping students motivated and willing to explore new opportunities.


What’s the most important thing to keep in mind to effectively engage and inspire high school students about design careers through the Design Your World program?

I think one of the main things to keep in mind when dealing with these students is to understand that, though they may not necessarily have what we see as adult issues; teens can go through a lot. So, it's important to empathize with these students and this transitional phase in their lives and there may be some problems to deal with here and there. Luckily for them, design is a problem-solving discipline. With this in mind, the goal is that the students will learn new ways to problem-solve...even outside of their profession.

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

Short term, I'd really like to start a dialogue with the students and their families to see how IIDA can serve as a resource for students year-round. Long term I'd love to expand Design Your World to more cities across the country. Coast to coast!


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

Of course! Well, I think my answer would be the same for all of those. Community is necessary for positive growth in any area because the concept of community lies in accountability. That accountability inspires everyone to be better for themselves and also others in the community. Community also inspires cooperation, and cooperation is paramount for any forward progress.

What inspires and motivates you?

Hmm, good question...well first I would say my mother is my main inspiration. My partner as well is a big inspiration for me. Lately, though, I have been really inspired by my childhood self. Just remembering who that young girl wanted to be as a person has been a driving motivation for me.

Outside of your responsibilities with the IIDA Design Your World Program, how do you relax and unwind?

That depends on what I feel like I need for that day/time. But generally: art, music, cocktails, friends, great food...in no particular order ha-ha

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