A Pivotal Year

Hello! My name is Kate Stuart and July 9th will mark my official IIDA Oregon Chapter Presidential inauguration for the 2020-2021 board year! Although I’m saddened I can’t celebrate with all of you in person, we still have a bright year ahead and an amazing year of accomplishments to celebrate. I hope you can join me on Thursday, July 9th to celebrate virtually at Pivot!

Last month the President of IIDA, Cheryl Durst, wrote a letter to all IIDA members across the United States called ‘Design for Humanity‘. In it Cheryl pointed out that we are in a pivotal year. A rising pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and an upcoming presidential election. This is a year with a lot of uncertainty and change, but we will remain strong and optimistic and we will uphold our mission to be the face of professional Interior Design in the State of Oregon. To be a resource for our members and people who seek the services of professional Interior Designers. To uphold our profession to the highest standards and support legal recognition of the Interior Design profession in Oregon.

This organization is dedicated to serving our members and our community through this change and uncertainty, to design for humanity with dignity, equity, and justice. I have always been inspired by the IIDA manifesto, which states that:

“design is personal.  not political. design dignifies. it does not discriminate. design provides and provokes. it has no prejudice. design heals the heart, replenishes the soul, ignites the mind. design civilizes, not demonizes, design excites and exalts. it never excludes. design educates. it does not repudiate. design has empathy not antipathy. design is culture. design is craft. design is art. design is science. design is history. design is love. design speaks. design listens. design is everywhere. we are design.”

As President of the IIDA Oregon Chapter my first initiative is to continue to the fulfill the chapter mission statement and honor our organization’s manifesto throughout all we do this year. Here is a brief summary of the other initiatives and goals I have for our chapter.

Inspiration for the 2020-2021 bright color palette and graphic style.


Continued Growth

Last year we gathered in the Redd on Salmon and spoke about our initiative to grow our chapter. This year we plan to continue forward with that initiative, by evolving our chapter and finding brand new ways to reach a broader audience and make a larger impact.


Community Involvement/Philanthropy

With that continued initiative in place, I’d like to challenge our chapter to become more involved with our communities. 2020 has been a hard year for our country, and Portland needs us to give back. We’re such a strong group of talented, creative, and hardworking people and when we come together we can really make a huge impact. This year we will strive to use that talent and passion to help us grow and give back to the people in our community. 

Through this effort I hope to further educate our growing chapter to the advocacy efforts of the commercial interior design profession in the state of Oregon.


Virtual Events/Digital Presence

Our world was turned upside down this March. Some of our favorite events were planned, re-planned, and rere-planned to accommodate everyone’s safety and well-being. While we are saddened by this, and we miss seeing your faces in person, our number one priority is your safety. With that in mind we made the tough decision to virtualize all of our events until 2021. We will continue to reassess this decision every few months, but with this challenge some exciting opportunities arose. 

For example the design crawl planned for April has been re-introduced as a virtual design crawl series. We just wrapped up our tour of the Meir and Frank Redevelopment by Bora Architects, and are looking forward to our next two tours coming up in July and August. The virtual version of the event opens the door to touring new projects that we might not have normally considered due to their distance from Portland. We’re also capable of reaching a greater audience in other parts of Oregon who might not have traveled to Portland to attend. It’s possible that in the future a virtual version of this event could continue alongside our in person Design Crawl now that we’ve developed the necessary tools and programming for hosting it!


Catalyst Grant

IIDA HQ recently launched an exciting program called the IIDA Catalyst grant program. The purpose of the program is to fund projects that move our chapters forward, enrich the organization and promote the association’s mission of advancing excellence in Interior Design. Our summer board retreat kicks off on July 23rd and it is here that we will be generating ideas for a program or project the IIDA Oregon Chapter would pursue, if we had the funds to make it happen.  Whether it’s membership, education, branding, leadership or just organizational basics, the Catalyst Grant is designed to help meet our chapters most desired programmatic needs. We look forward to providing you updates on our efforts with the catalyst grant initiative for our chapter.

Last year we were awarded the Catalyst Grant to conduct the State of the Industry Survey, we used the grant funds to hire a third party organization, Chmura Economics, to conduct the survey, collect results, and analyze the data for us. Chmura’s role in this process ensures security and anonymity around all responses, only aggregated data will be shared with IIDA. The State of the Industry Survey will be kicking off this month and I encourage you all to help us make it a successful representation of the State of our Industry in Oregon by participating.

We have more challenges to overcome, more events to re-think, and creative solutions to develop for our very unique year. I am looking forward to what this strong group and tight knit community can do!

With that I would like to remind you all about the call for submissions for the 2020 (Virtual) Design Excellence Awards, as well as nominations for the 2020 Emerging Professional Award, Legacy Award, and Industry Award in August.  Be on the lookout for instructions on how to submit!

Lastly, I’d like to thank my firm, GBD Architects for the tremendous amount of support the firm has afforded me so far in my new role with IIDA. In addition to GBD, many firms and companies commit time and resources to the Chapter by supporting Board members. Our 30 member board is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who come from different design backgrounds but who are rooted in their passion for community engagement and the power of design.

Board members and IIDA Oregon Chapter members, I look forward to collaborating with you this year, and I am honored to serve as your 2020-2021 IIDA Oregon Chapter President.




Kate Stuart, IIDA
IIDA Oregon Chapter President