A Bright Year Ahead

Hello! My name is Amber Turner and July 1st marked my official IIDA Oregon Chapter Presidential inauguration for the 2021-2022 board year! I am so excited to have had the opportunity to celebrate with many of you at Urban Oasis both virtual and in person last week! I am looking forward to a bright year ahead and an amazing year of accomplishments to celebrate!

This past year we were faced with a lot! A global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, fires that tore across our beloved state, a presidential election, and just recently the hottest temperatures Portland has ever experienced! There was a lot of uncertainty and change, but through it all our Chapter remained strong and optimistic in upholding our mission to be the face of Interior Design in the State of Oregon; to be a resource for our members and people who seek the services of professional Interior Designers; and to uphold our profession to the highest standards, supporting legal recognition of the Interior Design profession in Oregon.

As outlined in the IIDA manifesto below, this organization is dedicated to serving our members and our community, designing for humanity with dignity, equity, and justice.

“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 fulfill the chapter mission statement and honor our organization’s manifesto through all we do this year. Here is a brief summary of the other initiatives and goals I have for our chapter.

Catalyst Grant
Approximately 4 years ago, IIDA HQ created a new method of financially supporting local chapters and the grassroot efforts that happen at this level called the Catalyst Grant.  It is an application based grant that I am proud to say the chapter has been awarded since its inception. Last year we more than doubled participation in our State of the Industry Survey by hiring a 3rd party to help us conduct it. At our 2020 Board Retreat, we asked, “How can we expand beyond our current majority demographic of white women to include a more diverse membership and audience?” As we shared ideas and brainstormed, it became clear that we can – and should – do more.
Our goal is for diversity, equity, and inclusion to be the thread that runs through all the work we do. Our community-facing engagement tools and the policies and procedures by which our Chapter is run should be analyzed to determine what needs to be added, modified or removed. We feel we could greatly benefit from a professional advisor to help guide us through this process.

I am very pleased to announce that we were awarded a $5,000 grant to hire a DEI consultant to discover actionable steps that we can take to make the Oregon Chapter a more diverse and inclusive group – for our Board, our members, our local design community and the integrity of the Interior Design profession as a whole.

We will begin working with a consultant beginning early this fall. I look forward to the positive change their work will have on our board operations and the impact it will have for years to come.

Student Engagement
In alignment with our efforts for more inclusivity, this year I would like our chapter to expand our reach with more student engagement. Over the past few years we have been working hard to engage with design schools across the state, and this year I would like to challenge our chapter to take that a step further and start engaging with a younger audience. By engaging with K-12 students, we can educate today’s youth – tomorrow’s leaders – on the importance of Commercial Interior Design, what opportunities and career paths are available, as well as the legitimacy of Commercial Interior Design as a profession. All of which leads up to my final initiative…

During a year of many important social and political movements in 2020, we felt it was important to pause our efforts to pursue legislation. With 2022 rapidly approaching as an election year, now is the time for our chapter to refocus our advocacy efforts and start taking steps towards establishing Commercial Interior Design Legislation in the State of Oregon. Our Chapter has already begun reengaging with IIDA Headquarters to strategize next steps, but first we need your help!

Before we approach legislators or engage with a lobbyist, we need to build our base of advocates! To advocate for interior design means to support, champion, and commend the profession to people, organizations, and legislators. Advocates are you & me, family members, friends, coworkers, industry partners…really anyone who supports interior design as a profession can be an advocate!

Phone2Action is an automated program that will provide updates on how you can support Interior Design Legislation in the State of Oregon. By opting in, you will be added to our list of advocates. The more advocates we can get, the more leverage we will have when we approach legislation. Please take a moment to text “IIDA” to 5-2-8-8-6 to become an advocate and receive updates on how you can support Interior Design Legislation in the State of Oregon. There is power in numbers, and together we can do this!

Upcoming Events
We are so excited that we are able to safely get back to in-person events this year! This year we have a full calendar of programming and we can’t wait to see you there. Looking ahead into August, we will be hosting our first happy hour for the board year; keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks, as registration fills up quickly!

Also in August, we will begin our call for submissions for the 2021  Design Excellence Awards, as well as nominations for the 2021 Emerging Professional Award, Legacy Award, and Industry Award. We’re really excited for this event to return to in-person again this year, so please be on the lookout for instructions on how to submit.

You can find our full calendar of events by visiting our website. I look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming events this year!

Lastly, I’d like to thank my firm, Bora Architecture & Interiors for the tremendous amount of support the firm has afforded me so far in my new role with IIDA. In addition to Bora, many firms and companies commit time and resources to the Chapter by supporting Board members. Our 33 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 2021-2022 IIDA Oregon Chapter President.


Amber Turner, IIDA
IIDA Oregon Chapter President