Winter CLC 2015, Focused on Advocacy

Three IIDA board members. 10 IIDA HQ staff. 120+ Chapter leaders, presidents, and president-elects. This winter saw the biggest IIDA CLC turnout yet in its 20-year history. The two-day leaders conference kicked off February 6th in Chicago with a welcome reception at the Kimball Office showroom followed by a packed weekend of idea sharing and incubating, networking, and general catching up!

This winter’s CLC conference focused on advocacy, a call to action for interior designers to get the tools they need to advance the profession. Advocacy has been a hot topic as legislators throughout the country have been making key decisions that affect to what extent an interior designer can practice in his or her state (New York and Utah recently introduced two new interior design bills).

Emily Kluczynski, Director of Advocacy, Public Policy, and Legislative Affairs at IIDA HQ, played a huge role in preparing for this CLC conference. Through presentations from advocacy experts and fun breakout activities that used improv to help designers talk about what they do to the public and lawmakers, this winter’s CLC’s conference showed that advocacy isn’t so intimidating. Here, Emily talks about how the idea for an advocacy-themed conference came about and describes how it emphasized grassroots advocacy to harness the power of IIDA membership and truly make a difference in the Interior Design profession.

Why an advocacy theme?
Since IIDA branded itself as the member association for the commercial interior designer, I have aspired to elevate the level of advocacy knowledge and participation for all members. The very hardworking Advocacy Committee–IIDA VPs of Advocacy from each chapter board–has wanted to learn more and grow their skills in grassroots advocacy. Having an advocacy-themed CLC provided them with experts in that field as well as opportunities for them to learn from one another, while encouraging other chapter leaders to be supportive of advocacy work.

How did the theme guide the meeting’s agenda?
We gave a presentation on legislative initiatives throughout the country and introduced the IIDA Advocacy Advisory Council, a group of members who are leaders in advocacy and act as consultants for the International Board, Cheryl, and me in how best to engage members in being better advocates. On Saturday, the Council for Interior Design Qualification gave an update on recent happenings with the National Council on Interior Design Qualification. Amy Showalter of The Showalter Group, and an expert in the field of grassroots advocacy, presented to members. The day ended with a breakout session for the VPs of Advocacy on how to develop their “elevator speech.” The conference ended Sunday with an informative panel on the purpose and functions of state legislative coalitions.

What were the main goals and objectives?
To learn from one another and learn more about grassroots advocacy from experts in the field. Also, to have chapter leaders practice talking about what interior designers do to others. It doesn’t have to be scary talking to legislators and policymakers about interior design.

What would you say was the biggest takeaway from CLC?
Everyone can be an advocate for interior design. Remember that your story is important.


Be on the lookout for details about the next CLC conference this coming June during NeoCon! To learn more about advocacy and how to get involved, check out the new IIDA advocacy microsite. #IIDAadvocacy

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