Alumni Profiles
JS1 Jason Shields
Year of graduation: 2017
Current Position: Interior Designer, LM Architectural Group / Environmental Space Planning, Winnipeg

What do you do in your current job?
  • In my current job, I work with a multitude of Architects, Interior Designers, Technicians, and Specification Writers in a highly collaborative and team-oriented workplace. My duties on projects include: creation of construction documents, project management, schedule preparation, FFE selection, and coordination with applicable trades and consultants.
What advice would you give to those who are considering a career2017 in interior design?
  • Hard work will pay off. Once you enter into the field and see your visions realized, it is an incredible feeling. Always look toward contemporary solutions and constantly research the topics and subjects which pertain to your current design projects. As you continue to further yourself in the field, this research and information will be invaluable and will help guide you in your future design endeavors.
What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?
  • Interior Design allows us to create spaces which people constantly interact with during their daily lives. Being able to engage with these spaces and better understand how they can properly function to serve people’s needs has always been something that drew me toward the field of Interior Design. I love how there are countless design solutions that will allow you to reach your desired outcome. As I further my career in this field, I constantly learn about unique design solutions which can be applied to a plethora of different projects.
What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?
  • The graduate program at the University of Manitoba allowed me to better understand the importance of teamwork and collaboration in relation to design methodologies. Learning from others and engaging with my peers has allowed for incredible insight and helped guide me in my approach to innovative design. Networking and creating relationships with professors, practitioners, and my peers has also assisted in furthering my career in this field and has opened up many opportunities for me to grow as an Interior Designer.

 

   
JB Jaymie Borchardt
Year of graduation: 2016
Current Position: Interior Designer, Design Poole Inc., Winter Park, Florida 

What do you do in your current job?
  • Since we are a small interior design firm (only 4 designers) I was thrown right into the heart of the design process from the start. I have the pleasure of participating on everything from interior design documentation (plans, elevations, details, IA & FF&E specifications), developing initial concepts, pulling imagery to create conceptual presentation boards, making FF&E selections, and corresponding with vendors & clients.  Additionally, when time permits, I meet with vendors for product presentations and manage the organization of the product library.
What are you doing right now that you are most excited about?
  • I am currently very excited to have been given the opportunity to be the project manager of my own small project. With the guidance of my colleagues, I developed the concept and design of a designer inspired space for the Boutique Design Trade Show in NYC (BDNY 2017). Managing this project has helped me to develop increased skills creating detailed drawing sets and 3D renderings as well as learning to confidently speak with vendors, and lead conference calls between everyone involved. I have learned so much through this experience and I look forward to traveling to New York City in November to promote the firm and exhibit the design that was created.
What is your proudest achievement since graduation?
  • My proudest achievement since graduation was obtaining the job in Florida and having the courage to start a new life so far from home. It is definitely frightening to think about how different the experience of working in the field is compared to learning in school. In less than a year however, I have been given the opportunity to prove myself with more job responsibility than I would have ever imagined in such a short amount of time. I am very proud of what I have accomplished at the firm so far and look forward to working with this great design team for years to come.
What do you find to be the most challenging, and the most rewarding aspects of your career? 
  • The most challenging aspects of my career so far is having the ability to separate work life from personal life. It is so easy to get wrapped up in several projects at a time and forget how important it is to stop and take care of yourself both mentally and physically as well. The most rewarding aspects of my career however are being able to complete a deadline and be proud of the documents that you have created. There is no better feeling than flipping through a beautiful, complete set of drawings or renderings and envisioning what the space will look like when it is complete. I also enjoy being able to travel and network with so many people in the design industry.
What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design?
  • Be prepared to work very hard. Nothing comes easy. Work hard in school to learn as much as you can, apply for as many scholarships as possible and get involved. Use the relationships that you create through networking to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you have met when it comes time to find a job. I met my employer in New York City while at an event accepting a scholarship that I never thought I would be awarded. I contacted her upon completing my practicum project, and was on my way to Florida months before even graduating. But the hard work doesn’t stop there. Continue your hard work even after you’ve landed your first job. And most importantly, be humble. The learning doesn’t stop once you have your degree in hand. Listen to your colleagues and learn as much as possible from them. Real life is a completely different experience from what we are taught in school and it is a fast-paced, forever learning process. Embrace it, work hard, and stay positive. It is all worth it to be able to do what you love every single day. 
What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?
  • Initially, I was drawn to interior design while watching decorating shows on TLC. It was not until I was accepted into the Faculty of Architecture that I realized there is much more to interior design than the decorating depicted in these shows. I quickly lost interest in residential design and developed a passion for hospitality design. What I love most about interior design is being able to develop beautiful spaces that create an experience for everyone who visit them. Being a very detail oriented person, the processes that I love most about interior design are developing the initial concept boards for a project and creating very detailed and organized drawing sets.
What do you see as the most compelling trends in the interior design field?
  • To me, the most compelling trend in the interior design field (specifically the hospitality industry) is the forever changing use of color in a space. The use of color in design can be intimidating, especially as color trends change from year to year. What I find most intriguing about color, is the way that designers have begun to use it in unconventional ways that bring excitement and interest to the space. It is common to see color used as accents whether it be through a single accent wall, textiles, or art, but more recent trends have shown color being used in much more bold applications such as bright, colorful tile on the floor and ceiling, painted columns and beams, and digital printed wallcovering.
How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career?
  • The MID degree helped to prepare me for my career by providing me with the basic technical skills necessary to work in an interior design firm and the importance of applying theory to every design. Although it did not seem so at first, the extensive process of completing a practicum project was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The completed practicum document sits on my desk at work and is a daily reminder of what I was able to accomplish in graduate school. I truly value everything that I learned throughout the MID program as it taught me to consider every detail of a design in order to provide a well-thought out solution for every project.
In what ways did your experience at the U of M contribute to your success?
  • I do not think I would be where I am today if I had not been so involved with the Interior Design Association of Students at the U of M. Of course the Environmental Design and MID programs provided me with the skills and design knowledge that I needed to begin a career in the industry, being involved with IDAS and all other correlating councils taught me the life skills necessary to become the person that I am today. Serving as president in my last year of the MID program, taught me about time management, leadership, independence, networking and the importance of teamwork.
What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?
  • The best part of my experience in the graduate program at the U of M were the life changing studio trips to both New York City and Istanbul, Turkey. I have so much appreciation for being able to travel and experience different cultures and design. Every studio course in the MID program taught me the importance of research in order to incorporate the essence of the regional culture into each design. I have learned that this is increasingly important in the hospitality industry as people who travel expect a certain type of experience in the region that they are staying. As our team at Design Poole designs projects both regionally and internationally, travel, research and experience are very important at the start of every project.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned at the U of M?
  • The most valuable lesson that I learned at the U of M is that success comes to those who work hard and believe in themselves. It is easy to let others discourage you but it is important to stay positive and give 100% at everything you do.

 

   
umid Umid Abdullaev
Year of graduation: 2015
Current Position: Interior Designer, DIALOG, Edmonton

What do you do in your current job?
  •  I work at an interdisciplinary design firm in Alberta. My roles include research, user interviews and programming, schematic design (space planning, concept development, sketching, rendering, drafting), design development, reports, contract documentation (mostly coordination and markups), contract administration (submittals and issuing change orders and site visits) and coaching the young staff.
What are you doing right now that you are most excited about?
  • I'm working on three high-profile projects that are shaping my understanding of how Interior Design is practiced in real life thanks to excellent mentorship that I receive at my workplace. And, compared to academia and studio environment, it is different yet complimentary to the education I received through the MID program at the U of M.
What is your proudest achievement since graduation?
  • I have recently registered as an Intern Interior Designer with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) as well as Interior Designers of Canada (IDC), and completed the first part of the NCIDQ examination. In the past few years after graduation I realized that the analytical skills that I learned while enrolled in MID Program allows to approach design problems from a different perspective. Besides, these two big achievements put me in a unique position where I can gain experience in the field of Interior Design and influence the direction where the field and practice are headed.
  • Interior Design is a younger discipline compared to architecture, and it is up to us, young professionals who graduate from the CIDA-accredited schools, to shape the future for the profession. This means establishing a stronger nation-wide governing body that protects the interests of the new graduates and recognizes their education. On the other hand, it means connecting the industry with academia and creating a reciprocating feedback on what type of erudition and skills are required based on changing work and economic environment.
What do you find to be the most challenging, and the most rewarding aspects of your career?
  • The most challenging and rewarding part is learning how to apply what was taught at school to the real life scenarios as well as coordination of the design intent with other disciplines such as engineers.
  • Another challenge I have faced is not knowing certain crucial aspects of contract documentation, i.e. putting together working drawings, and contract administration, for example, submittals. For this reason many companies, particularly in Alberta, prefer hiring graduates with technology diploma as they can fill the much needed gap in the production phase of the project as they gain a hands-on experience in their education.  Despite these drawbacks, my strong conceptual thinking and analytical understanding of space, that were nurtured at the Master Program, allowed me to carve my niche in the firm. Combined with continuing education through AAA and IDC, I hope to gain further experience in the production aspect of projects.
  • The last, but not least, challenge that I continue to face is often educating the general public and even other design professionals about Interior Design, particularly, what differentiates the MID program from other programs in Canada. On many occasions I had to present an argument that perhaps it is possible to learn technical aspects through experience but not when it comes to design and analytical thinking. I am a strong advocate for a studio and theory-based higher education. The development and maturation of the Interior Design industry depends on the strong academic research and constant quest for knowledge to broaden the horizon for the profession.
What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design
  • My biggest advice would be to lower the expectations of what your role might be as a Junior Interior Designer in a firm. With this attitude you set the foundation for continuing to learn and gain experience in all aspects of Interior Design after graduating from school.
  • I would also like to encourage the current ED and MID students to learn more about the theory of space and built environment, not only in relation to Interior Design but also Architecture. Also being aware of the current socio-economic, ecologic and political local and global environment will help you to understand why design evolves the way it does.
What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?
  • I was drawn to the way Interior Design looks closely and intimately at "moments" of the built environment whether they are space planning, colour, materials, finishes or furniture. I love how spatial elements that are common in the Interior Design realm allow to examine the meaning behind spatial compositions, expressions of identity, contentment or frustration through colour or material choices, and tell the story of social, political and economic motives. 
 What do you see as the most compelling trends in the interior design field?
  • The current political, social and economic turmoil will force people to re-examine the space that they occupy and evaluate the concept of ownership in an increasingly dense urban environments. I think we will start to see more de-materialization of spaces that are becoming more evident in trends such a micro-living, Slow Movement and Minimalism.
How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career?
  • As mentioned previously, the MID program and strong design community of the The U of M's Faculty of Architecture nourished my understanding of design and theory. I gained education that will help me to draw a line or speak a word that is well-informed. I became more aware of socio-economic problems that dictate the outcome of built environments and how to embrace problems and understand them before sitting down to tackle them.

In what ways did your experience at the U of M contribute to your success?

  • I made lifelong connections with incredibly talented individuals whom I will exchange ideas as my career progresses. The mentorship I received through my practicum was invaluable as it allowed me to explore my topic from different perspectives.
What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?
  • I loved living in Winnipeg and soaking up the ideas on design that the city exudes whether through the design events, Exchange District or just people who are design-savvy. The best part of the graduate program was the ability to link the topic of my interest, exploring design problems and coming up with a solution.
What motivated you to pursue a graduate degree at the U of M?
  • What motivated me was that I wanted to create spaces that are analytical and responsive to the contemporary issues we face as a society. Having talked to my colleagues who had graduated from the same program, I knew exactly that the MID was the program I wanted to enroll into.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned at the U of M
  • The most valuable lesson I learned is that education does not end after you graduate but a strong academic institution with a strong mentorship program is necessary if you want to build a future and career that are meaningful and fulfilling.
Gray Will Gray 
Year of Graduation: Fall 2014
Current Position: Project Designer, Figure 3, Toronto Ontario
 
What do you do in your current job?
  • I am currently a Project Designer at Figure3. I have a wide range of responsibilities that largely depend on the project team and overall scope. So far in my role at Figure3 I have administered:

      -site verification (measuring and cataloguing the existing site information)
      -participated in concept development / design development
      -3D modelling
      -Rendering
      -design presentation composition
      -finish selection
      -permit/tender/construction drawings
      -communication with project team (consultants, clients)
      -construction administration (submittals, site meetings, deficiencies)

  What do you find to be the most challenging?

  • I think for me, being fairly fresh from school, it has been wrapping my mind around the construction, and construction administration process. It's an entire world unto itself, understanding the different timelines, phases, processes, terminology, and channels of communication. So it has been tremendously eye opening doing to be exposed to that side of design. I am learning every day.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design?

  • Understand that it is a fast paced job environment and compensation is not tremendously high. However also understand it is incredibly rewarding to go to work everyday to a job that personally utilizes your particular skill set, a job where you are affecting and shaping the physical world, and a job that you love.

What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?

  • I think what drew me to this profession was a series of small decisions. I knew I wanted to do something creative but also wanted something with structure. This, along with my ever present interest in design, I was lead straight to the doorstep of interior design.
  • It's not an easy question to answer "what do you love most", but I think the best I can describe is the ability to think big, be messy, and explore and experiment with ideas and concepts.

How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career?

  • The question is a little broad, so I will try and be as concise as possible. For starters the University of Manitoba is adequately equipped, as accreditation requires, with all of the courses aligned with a standard professional interior design education (design theory, studio, interior systems). However I think the most valuable take away from the program, in my experience, was the way it taught me to explore environment and space in a deeper way. In my education I was asked to think about and investigate the built environment across a number of dimensions (beit political, social or sensorial), instilling the idea that space/place/environment is inherently complex. That might sound simple or obvious, but I think it's actually extremely important because it is easy in practice to reduce design to just a process, or confine it's parameters in physical or economic ways. The University of Manitoba, Master of Interior Design program helped me frame the act of interior design, not necessarily as a trade (which it can be, and is often taught as), but as a participant in positioning and conceptualizing environments.

What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?

  • It's hard to single out one best part of my experience at the University of Manitoba, but one of the most positive things was the culture. I have made some strong lasting friendships in the MID program that I will always be thankful for. My peers were an extremely important part of my support network throughout school, and at times were a huge part of what got me through. I would also like to point out that they were all immensely talented, which pushed me forward in my design thinking and skills.
  • The staff were also a big part of the reason my experience at the University of Manitoba was so positive. They are an interesting, talented, eclectic group of people. I really enjoyed working with each of them and learning from them and their unique skill sets. The staff's diverse portfolios and design ideologies together gives their students a well rounded, critical, and complex entrance into design.

 

 Rowe01

Natalie Rowe MID, BID, NCIDQ
Year of Graduation: Fall 2014
Current Position: Full-Time Faculty, Honours Bachelor of Interior Design Program, Faculty of Arts, Media & Design, Fanshawe College, London, Ontario
 
What do you do in your current job?

  • I work with students in upper and lower years in our BID, teaching Design Studio, Case Studies in Design and Design Communications. I'm actively involved in the Alliance of Canadian Educators in Interior Design ACEID / ACEDI. When not in the classroom I look for ways to disseminate my graduate research and continue to build upon my area of focus which is the future of design for Alzheimer's Care Facilities in Canada.

What are you doing right now that you are most excited about?

  • Disseminating my graduate research through poster presentations, speaking engagements, panel presentations and most importantly creating partnerships with like-minded individuals to potentially advance research and the approach to the design process related to Alzheimer's Care Facilities in Canada.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design?

  • Be open to the many directions and career opportunities in and related to interior design. Many students come into our program with a desire to pursue one area. Make sure you are passionate, curious and unafraid to make mistakes and push boundaries along the way.

What do you see as the most compelling trends in the interior design field?

  • Individuals from different disciplines coming together and looking at ways to advance the built environment for 'all' end users. I'm also fascinated with the opportunities to utilize multimedia as a means of conveying stories about the design process.

What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?

  • As a graduate of the post professional Master of Interior Design, it was daunting to be a student after many years in the industry. Time spent on campus with access to resources, faculty and the first professional graduate students was extremely beneficial. There were many life long relationships that resulted from face to face collaboration. My experience also further reinforced the value of research in interior design, and the importance of contributing to Canadian perspectives.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned at the U of M?

  • The value of what can be learned from your peers - sharing ideas, perspectives, and constructive criticism can shape your ability to process problems in a more dynamic way. It was exciting as a student to reach out to other researchers and esteemed professionals seeking advice and guidance, creating contacts that were valuable as a student and in my current academic practice. Being a student again made me more empathetic to my students and what they experience on a daily basis!!

 

   
Wagner01  Heather Wagner 
Year of Graduation:  2014
Current Position: Professional Interior Designer at Republic Architecture Inc.
Republic Architecture Inc.

What do you do in your current job?
  • I am a Professional Interior Designer at Republic Architecture Inc. in Winnipeg. My current role has me working on various projects from very small, unique institutional projects to large cultural projects. The projects I work on have a team that consists of a Project Manager and an Interior Designer, and sometimes an Architect if their services are required. I have a lot of autonomy over my design work, which I really enjoy and I can really push the boundaries of design and be as creative as I want. It is very satisfying.

What is your proudest achievement since graduation?

  • My main goal since I graduated in 2014 was to pass the NCIDQ exams and become a registered Professional Interior Designer. This spring I wrote and passed my NCIDQ exams! It was very exciting to receive my new business cards with my full title and credentials!

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design?

  • What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design? To really make sure you understand that it isn't simply selecting furniture and coordinating paint colours. Interior design is much more than we often see it portrayed as on many television shows. Interior design is more than just creating a visually pleasing space, but rather, it is a way of enhancing the experience of spaces. Further, as a practitioner, it is the ability to enhance the lives of those who live, work or play in these spaces. Humans spend the vast majority of their time inside, and as a result, there is a complex formulaic response that we must follow in order to meet everyone's needs. This includes everything from programming to detailing and construction management. My advice would be to immerse yourself in everything that can help you understand and grow your spatial awareness and develop creative responses. Take a painting class and study light and shadow, understand how photography can be a powerful tool not only in capturing designs once complete, but learn how to frame an image, so you are able to understand how to better draw perspectives. Read, extensively, figure out what the issues in design are that interest you most and remember, the details are often the most important part.

What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?

  • My aunt is an interior designer and I was always fascinated by her creative response to both simple and complex design problems. What I love most about design is problem-solving. Finding solutions that fit within certain criteria set forth by the client and how it always leads to unique and interesting solutions. I often find that the projects with the most constraints often lead me to really push the boundaries of design and "think outside the box". I also love how I am constantly being challenged by projects that I never thought I would work on, but that I find equally fascinating and challenging.

How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career? 

  • Research was a main focus in my design education at the UofM and it has led me to understand that it is equally important in practice. Honing my research skills has given me the tools to continue to constantly learn about design and how it affects how we feel, how we behave, what works and what doesn't work. The UofM also taught me that design is ultimately a thought process and a skill that can be used to enhance the every day of those you are working for.

What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U o M?

  • Writing my practicum was definitely one of the most challenging things I have completed and looking back, was one of the most enjoyable parts of my graduate experience. I was able to completely immerse myself and focus on design in a way that I have not yet seen paralleled in my career.

 

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Erin Riediger
Year of Graduation:  2013
Current Position: Interior Designer

What is your proudest achievement since graduation?

  • My proudest achievement since graduation is having the opportunity to work on the re-imagining of the popular Winnipeg public space, The Forks Market. It was a unique challenge to work on a well-known and beloved public space, converting it in to a contemporary food hall and introducing wine and beer in to a family friendly environment. The client was creative and receptive to new ideas, and ultimately happy with the transformation that took place.

What do you find to be the most challenging, and the most rewarding aspects of your career?

  • Responding to unique client challenges is both challenging and rewarding. It is exciting to me to problem solve through design, and when the result is successful for the client it can be very satisfying.

What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?

  • I was drawn to interior design because of the spatial problem solving aspect of the discipline. I find it satisfying to imagine a design solution for a practical problem. I also enjoy the social and communicative aspects. It is interesting to learn about other disciplines like education and work with people to arrive at a physical solution for their needs.

What do you see as the most compelling trends in the interior design field?

  • Interior design is becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary. In the future I see the lines between traditional disciplines like interior design, architecture and industrial design blurred as the professions collaborate.

How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career?

  • The Master of Interior Design degree at the University of Manitoba teaches students how to act as a professional. Professionalism is nurtured through using real life clients for studio projects and developing presentation skills that are directly applicable to the profession.

In what ways did your experience at the U of M contribute to your success?

  • The graduate program taught me advanced research, writing and presentation skills that have allowed me to excel in the profession. My time in the MID program built my confidence and skills enough that I was able to be a valuable contributor to the profession directly after graduation.

 

ni Nicolette Layne
Year of Graduation:  2012
Current Position: Freelance Interior Designer, Winnipeg Manitoba.

What do you do in your current job?
  • I am currently a freelance interior designer specializing in hospitality, retail and residential design. I am also a sessional instructor for the Department of Interior Design. I enjoy my work as an instructor because I feel that my diverse design projects brings unique insight and practicality to the courses I teach.

What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?

  • I was originally drawn to interior design because I see how well thought out design can impact peoples lives. It is a discipline that a lot of people confuse with decorating, but I feel that proper interior design and space planning can better clients well-being and happiness. I would advise any interior designer to stay humble and listen to their clients. Also, be open-minded when speaking to the construction team because collaboration yields the best projects.

How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career?

  • My MID degree prepared me to be adaptable and pro-active. Projects and construction are not always smooth and uneventful; the most valuable skill that I learned at school was to assess the situation, stay calm and formulate a solution. My most valued experience during my graduate degree was working in groups. These experiences taught me that collaboration and teamwork not only produce a more positive work environment, but that projects have a stronger outcome. Shout out to TSL8.

 

connor

Hailey Connor
Year of Graduation:  2011
Current Position: Interior Designer, MMP Architects

What do you do in your current job?

  • Right now I act as an interior designer and project manager. The majority of my projects are in the healthcare discipline, but I also work on retail, corporate office, daycares and sports and recreation. While there is some new construction, many of these are renovation projects where the design has some limitations regarding size and existing infrastructure that we have to work around. Renovations can be really challenging.
  • I usually become involved at the start of a project by meeting with clients and advising them as to whether what they need can fit within a particular sized space and budget. Together we often develop a space program that suits the client's needs and convert this into a working space plan that achieves their functional and operational goals. I also develop an interior concept that dictates the look and feel. For my projects, the space planning and interior concept for healthcare projects is often dictated by evidence-based design. I review white papers and studies relating to the typology I am designing and use this information to design spaces that will result in more positive outcomes for the staff and their patients or clients.
  • These ideas translate into construction drawings. My task here is to ensure the major goals of the schematic design concept are maintained through to construction drawings. I also am responsible for ensuring that work from other consultants (structural, mechanical, electrical) is well coordinated, will achieve what the client wants, and will fit with the design goals.

How did your MID degree at the U of M help to prepare you for your career?

  • My MID degree at the U of M helped me to prepare for my career in a number of ways. Through conversations and presentations with educators and peers, I learned how to explain my ideas in concise, logical, easy to understand ways verbally, graphically and through writing. These are very beneficial skills I use daily for meetings and presentations or when writing emails and proposals.
  • It was specifically through the practicum process that I learned how to translate the topics that I research into the interior design of spaces. This research allows me to make informed design choices based on legitimate, peer-reviewed and well-sourced information.  This way of designing is called evidence-based design. Offering this service to my clients provides them with a peace of mind that specific choices aren’t dictated at the whim of the designer based simply on aesthetics, but have been tested and recorded by researchers who can verify the result.
  • The MID program also helped develop my understanding of research methods, and I plan to contribute to the body of interior design research by developing studies on the effectiveness of spaces I will design in the future.

 

Rogers Natalie Rogers
Year of Graduation:  2010
Current Position: Project Manager, Exhibitions at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

What do you do in your current job?
  • I work at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as a Project Manager, Exhibitions. In this role, I am responsible for the development and realization of our temporary exhibition program. In my day-to-day work I develop schedules and project processes, manage project teams and their deliverables, and oversee the construction and installation of exhibitions. I also chair the Museum's Inclusive Design Advisory Council (IDAC) and our associated internal working group; in this role I ensure our inclusive design standards are adhered to and continue to evolve.
What is your proudest achievement since graduation?
  • I was awarded the Leadership Award for the Advancement of Accessible Environmental Design by the Winnipeg Access Advisory Committee in 2015. This was awarded to me for my involvement in making the Canadian Museum for Human Rights a leader in inclusive design.
What do you find to be the most challenging, and the most rewarding aspects of your career?
  • Every project I work on brings new and exciting challenges to the table. As a project manager, this means that I am always learning new things to properly strategize for the management and implementation of our temporary exhibitions. As each exhibition is completed for public viewing it is extremely rewarding to spend some time in the gallery with the completed work.
What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design?
  • Interior design can jump-start your career in many different fields, especially when paired with other types of education and work experiences. I recommend exploring some options when you are in school and while looking for employment. For me, I paired my background in fine arts and museums with interior design to give me an adaptable and unique skill set which has worked very well for me in my career.
What do you see as the most compelling trends in the interior design field?
  • Although not a trend, the most compelling aspect of interior design for me is inclusive design. Inclusive design is really about making the built environment a better place for everyone. It is the right thing to do.
In what ways did your experience at the U of M contribute to your success?
  • While at the U of M in the Masters of Interior Design I had my first in depth exposure to accessibility, universal design, and inclusive design. The importance of these approaches to design immediately became an integral aspect of how I approach design and the built environment. It is because of this understanding and knowledge that I am able to play a significant role in the development, creation and application of inclusive design at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?
  • Some of the best experiences I had at the U of M were extra curricular ones in Architects Without Borders Canada and the Interior Design Association of Students (IDeAS). When I was in the Interior Design program I was part of a team that started Architects Without Borders, and I started IDeAS; both of these experiences were invaluable when I began my career.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned at the U of M?
  • Throughout my university education, the most valuable lesson I have learned is that you are responsible for your own education and learning. You need to seize upon opportunities to better yourself and even create those opportunities.

 

   
Anderson Heather Anderson
Year of Graduation:  2007
Current Position: Professional Interior Designer / Hospitality and Entertainment Studio Lead, Number Ten Architectural Group, Winnipeg.

What do you do in your current job? 
  • As a senior Professional Interior Designer, my work focusses on new construction and renovation of facilities including hotels, gaming centers, casinos, restaurants, retail outlets, and commercial office interiors. I balance multiple projects at different stages of design and construction. A typical day can involve meeting with clients, consultants, and internal team members; design ranging from schematic concepts and precedent research to space planning, finishes/furnishings selection, or custom millwork design; production of 2D and 3D drawings and specifications for presentation and construction purposes; or site visits and documentation during construction. As lead of our Hospitality and Entertainment Studio, I facilitate studio meetings and research that advances our team’s knowledge in this segment, inspires constructive conversations, and informs our work
What do you find to be the most challenging, and the most rewarding aspects of your career?
  • Balancing tight project schedules and budgets can be challenging but also motivating in the sense that these parameters can inspire creative approaches. I enjoy working closely with clients to successfully implement design solutions that are functional, relevant, and representative of their company’s brand. Clients look to us to translate their vision into a built form that enhances the guest experience and leaves a lasting impression.
What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in interior design?
  • Ask to be involved with different types of projects to understand the varying thought processes. Communicate with your project team that you would appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to all phases of a project from preliminary design through construction. What you learn during construction and post occupancy evaluation of one project may inform your next design approach.
What drew you to interior design? What do you love most about it?
  • My passion for artistic endeavors and an interest in planning spaces led me to pursue an education in interior design. I’m dedicated to ongoing research and remaining current on contemporary design theory, trends, and approaches. I enjoy the full scope of interior design work from developing overall spaces to technical detailing of millwork.
What was the best part of your experience in the graduate program at the U of M?
  • The MID program exposed me to many types of project work that I now do daily from programming and research to design and working drawings. I reflect positively on my experience in the program, working closely with other MID students to support each other’s learning and design development as well as taking advantage of the opportunities to travel and experience design culture in other parts of the world.