78 interiors+sources november2016 interiorsandsources.com
What happens when you gather more than 100 interior designers, lobbyists, and a marijuana advocate for three days in Denver? You get an inspiring and successful second annual IIDA Advocacy Symposium. Interior design advocates
from around the country descended upon Denver Sept. 23-26 for an opportunity
to develop a deeper understanding of the legislative landscape and gain
access to resources designed to bolster advocacy efforts.
“The IIDA Advocacy Symposium not only trains advocates on how to talk
about the profession of interior design and the complexities of government, it
also brings together design advocates from around the country to meet and
learn from one another,” said Emily Kluczynski, MPPA, director of Advocacy,
Public Policy and Legislative Affairs at IIDA.
Colorado Senator Pat Steadman and Representatives Tracy Kraft-Tharp and
Jeni Arndt kicked off the symposium with insight into how legislators view
advocates and what they hope to gain from meeting with them.
The key takeaway: Relationships matter. “We’re just your neighbors,”
Representative Arndt said. “We come into this line of work as community
service, so nothing gives us more pleasure than helping someone, under-
standing an issue, or knowing what’s going in our community.”
The panel, “How to Define Interior Design Advocacy Success,” featured
lobbyist Amy Coombs, MSW, from IDEAL-Utah, and IIDA members Holly Baird,
MBA, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, and Stacey Crumbaker, IIDA, Assoc. AIA. The panelists
made clear that beyond legislative action, civic involvement and community
engagement are important successes that shift attitudes and educate constituents
about what designers do—a critical step in the advocacy process.
The highlight of the day was keynote speaker Mason Tvert, communications
director, Marijuana Policy Project, who spoke about how grassroots advocacy
changed Colorado’s perception of marijuana. Tvert recounted his organization’s
success, from educating the public on the true effects of marijuana to pushing
people to talk openly about their usage. Whatever your opinion about marijuana
may be, the campaign changed the way people talk about it, perceive it, and own it.
“We started pushing people to talk to each other about the issue, which
sounds so trite and simple, but is amazingly not done a lot of times,” Tvert said.
Tvert’s message resonated with designers who must get comfortable with
who they are and proactively educate the public on what they do, especially
as they play an increasingly fundamental role in ensuring health and well-being in the built environment.
To recognize the efforts of dedicated interior design advocates, IIDA created
two awards naming both an Advocate and a Legislator of the Year.
What this year’s award recipient accomplished as vice president of
By Genny Ramos and Abigail Rathbun | Photography courtesy of IIDA
CHAMPIONS OF ADVOCACY
The IIDA Advocacy Symposium encourages designers to define the profession and shift public perception.
The IIDA Advocacy Symposium not only trains advocates on how to talk about the
profession of interior design and the complexities of government, it also brings together
design advocates from around the country to meet and learn from one another.
—Emily Kluczynski, MPPA, director of Advocacy, Public Policy and Legislative Affairs, IIDA.
Ryan Ben, student engagement and advancement manager
at IIDA, moderates the Engaging Students and Universities
Panel at the 2016 IIDA Advocacy Symposium.