Cultivating Emerging Designers: Education to Practice

As the premier developer of quality standards for interior design education at the college/university level, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) has a vested interest in design students moving on to thriving, impactful, and rewarding careers. As academic learning concludes, how can mentorship and collaboration--even including the larger design community of allied professionals--be used to support emerging professionals and strengthen professional development ? Does it take a village? Simultaneously, as the practice world undergoes tectonic shifts, how might reverse mentorship be used to harness the knowledge and ambitions of a new generation of designers and ultimately advance the profession at large?

Our panel consisting of one interior design educator, one small firm practitioner/owner, and one large firm practitioner at the leadership level will engage in a moderated discussion to explore the connections and pathways between education and practice. The dialog will be focused in the context of several macro trends impacting the future of the design profession, including Environmental Sustainability, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Advanced Technology. How young designers transition from academia to practice is an especially urgent question in a time when the economic and competitive pressures of practice divert attention from mentorship and post-COVID realities have disconnected individuals and teams from leaders and organizational culture.

Amanda Gale, Ph.D., NCIDQ, WELL AP, LEED AP (BD+C)

Undergraduate Program Director + Internship Coordinator

Department of Interior Architecture, UNC Greensboro

Amanda Gale, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina Greensboro who explores wellbeing in higher education and career preparedness. Her research has been recognized through grants and awards including the Stantec Innovation Partnership Grant, IDEC Special Projects Grant, the Edison Price Fellowship from the Nuckolls Fund, Bernard Glickman Deans Professorship and Best Scholarship of Design Research Presentation from IDEC. Amanda serves on the Board of Directors for the Journal of Interior Design and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Jennifer Busch, Hon IIDA

Vice President, Business Development

Officeworks Inc.

Jennifer Busch, Hon. IIDA, is Vice President, Business Development for Officeworks Inc., a design, space planning, project management and furniture installation consultant dedicated to providing innovative interior solutions to commercial and institutional clients. Prior to Officeworks, Jennifer served as the Director of Client Partnerships for Eventscape, a sthe Vice President A&D at Teknion, and as the Vice President, A&D Market Development at Interface. In all of her roles she has been responsible for the development and maintenance of key business relationships with major architecture and interior design firms throughout North America.

Prior to joining Interface, she held various editorial positions at Contract magazine for 21 years, including serving as Editor in Chief from 1999-2011. At Contract, she routinely reported on the social, political, technological, economic, and business trends impacting the practice of commercial interior design, with a particular emphasis on design’s influence on business and society.

As an industry throught leader who promotes the value of design for organizations and institutions with real business goals, Jennifer is also a respected speaker and moderator at numerous industry events and conferences. She applies knowledge of current design and real estate trends and human and environmental sustainability to develop and promote content focused on the effectiveness and efficiency of commercial real estate and the positive impact of thoughtful design solutions.

In 2009 she was bestowed with Honorary IIDA status, the first design editor to have achieved such recognition. She currently serves on the CIDA Board of Directors as Chair Elect, and the FIT Interior Design Program Advisory Board. She has also served on the IIDA Foundation Board of Trustees, the Advisory Board for the FIT Sustainable Interior Environments Master’s Degree program and the Board for Interior Designers for Legislation in New York.

Felice Silverman, FIIDA


STA Design

Felice Silverman, FIIDA is a Principal at STA Design Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). She served as President of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) from 2013-2014, and served on IIDA’s International Board of Directors from 2009-2016. Felice has been practicing interior design for the past thirty years, with a focus on the design of interior spaces for innovation, workplace, education, children, hospitality, healthcare, and well-being.

Felice is NCIDQ certified, and was the 2006-2007 President of the IIDA New England Chapter. She served on the Boston Architectural College’s Board of Trustees from 2009-2012 and 2016-2018, as an Overseer from 2012-2016, and was the Chair of the BAC's Interior Design Advisory Board and Student Development Committee. Felice is the Past President of the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC), and has served as a member of the Massachusetts Interior Design Coalition Advisory Council. She has been an educator and guest critic at many colleges, and has served on numerous competition juries nationally and internationally.

Felice was the Co-Chair of the Boston Society of Architects Women in Design Award of Excellence for the past nine years, and a member of the Design Museum Foundation’s Center for Workplace Innovation Think Tank.

Felice was elected to the IIDA College for Fellows in 2014, and is the recipient of a 2014 Design New England Mentors in Design (Middies) Award.
Ms. Silverman received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Harvard University in 1985, and her Master of Interior Design from the Boston Architectural College.

Jennifer Graham, FIIDA, LEED AP

Managing Principal

Perkins & Will

Jennifer Graham has delivered multiple award-winning, high-profile projects for over 30 years. Her success comes from her special approach to project leadership that builds mentorship into the process. As a Principal at Perkins&Will, a renowned Architecture & Design firm, she creates and upholds a supportive, positive, and empathetic work environment for her teams.

As a bold champion for DEI, social purpose and sustainability, Jennifer brings these issues to the forefront in her client work and community service. With 35+ years of experience in design, Graham’s extensive accomplishments demonstrate her passion and commitment to the needs and growth of the industry. Always putting the design and architecture community top of mind, Graham has spearheaded numerous initiatives to provide accessible workshops, mentoring, and networking activities for those wanting to learn and connect with others. In 2009, she founded LMNOP NYC, Inc., an organization that offered networking and affordable continuing education credits to designers. Following LMNOP’s acquisition by IIDA NY, she currently serves as IIDA NY’s Vice President of Action and 2021 Catalyst Chair. Jennifer has recently joined the AIANY Board of Directors as a Public Director.

In 2021 Jennifer was recognized as a 2021 Female Frontier Awards, Highly Commended ‘Unsung Hero’ and Architizer, 100 Women to Watch in Architecture, 2021. In 2022, she received an honorary doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) in May, her alma mater the same year receiving the prestigious IIDA NY Leadership Award of Excellence.

Native to Barbados, the influence of Jennifer’s beloved family and the values they shared are evident in everything she does; from fulfilling her late father Sir Albert Cecil Graham’s own dream of working in architecture and following his dedication to serve; to epitomizing the resolve and relentless pursuit of knowledge passed on through her grandmother.

Her character and record demonstrate her advocacy and commitment to both the design and global communities.

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