A Season of Beginnings

Autumn is a time of transitions and fresh starts for all of us. As ASID prepares to change leadership, I offer a few closing thoughts on where we’ve been and where we’re going.

By Barbara Marini, FASID, IDEC

In his novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” author Truman Capote famously wrote, “Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” That concept might seem a bit unusual to most of us, considering that fall typically signifies the end of summer and the beginning of longer days, heavier workloads and regimented schedules, but it does represent a season of change to which we have grown accustomed.

In the fall, students return to the classroom, vacations are over, and cottages and boats are prepared for the winter. Landscapes and homes are winterized, and we look forward to tailgates and football games. (Go Spartans!) Likewise, at ASID, we transition our leadership and take time to survey both our accomplishments and the exciting things to come. It’s hard to think that it has been a year since I embarked on this journey of leadership as president of ASID, and the approach of fall gives me cause for some personal reflection on our successes and future initiatives.

When I look back at the last year, it is with great respect that I acknowledge the ASID Board of Directors, who had the courage to craft a new vision for ASID, venture into uncharted waters organizationally, and define a future for our profession. As we considered the novelty of the words collaboration, interdisciplinary, global, technology, research, business and metrics, our strategic plan looked and felt different. By the end of the year, we looked, felt and acted differently as well!

This year we committed to emerging as the core of the design network and leading the profession. To that end, we focused on collaboration with stakeholders, allied organizations, members and industry players at all levels of the profession. We also launched the ASID Leadership Academy and expanded our annual Chapter Leadership Conference to build the leadership needed at the chapter, state and national levels.

We were invited to China to experience and explore design from a global perspective; participated in numerous forums throughout the year to discuss interior design issues; advocated for practice rights in California, Texas, Massachusetts and other states; and participated on a national level in groups that impact the practice of interior design, such as the International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). We are also beginning to work with organizations such as the Decorative Furnishings Association to develop new business models for residential design, and continue to look at the impact of technology and new business models that promise to change our practice.

Organizationally, we moved forward with an internal focus on governance, presented our first “State of the Industry” report, and demonstrated leadership by committing to a research agenda focused on demonstrating the impact of interior design on the human experience. We advanced the education of our members through increased CEU requirements, and supported students and emerging professionals through exciting networking events, such as GO PRO (to be held again this October in both New York and Los Angeles).

We continue to seek out opportunities for collaboration, and advanced this initiative over the past year through increased levels of communication with our colleagues at both the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC). By acting collectively, we can have a stronger voice for the profession, and we are working together to make that happen. Likewise, our focus on collaboration has helped us strengthen our ties with Dwell, NeoCon, and a host of other allied organizations and industry leaders.

In the coming year, we will continue to focus on delivering programs and products that help our members succeed in the changing world in which we live. As market sectors and design approaches continue to evolve, we will continue to consider what our members want and need from a business perspective. ASID is also committed to communicating the impact of interior design on the human experience, as we know that the metrics that drive business decisions are based on the validation of interior design as a value proposition. The ASID Foundation will be the primary means through which we’ll accomplish this goal, and we’re eager to share its research with designers, businesses and consumers at multiple levels.

While autumn represents a time of change from a leadership perspective, the confidence in our vision as a solid foundation remains strong. I leave this role proud of our achievements and our plans for the future. It hasn’t always been easy as we’ve pushed into some uncharted waters, but I firmly believe that we’ve ultimately emerged stronger and better equipped to support today’s design professionals. I have loved every part of this challenging journey, and thank all of you who have supported and believed in our organization.

Next month, incoming president Rachelle Schoessler Lynn will be taking over this column and outlining her own vision about ASID’s future. In the meantime, whether you’re planting fall mums, closing up the cottage or heading back to school, let the change in seasons inspire a spring of ideas in your own life.


Barbara Marini, FASID, IDEC, is the national president of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and owner/principal of Marini Interiors Inc., a commercial interior design and consulting firm in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. ASID can be reached at (202) 546-3480 or asid@asid.org, and on the web at asid.org.