Karen Hailey, IIDA, is the Vice President of Advocacy for the Rocky Mountain Chapter. She recently created an excellent presentation that covered the basics of interior design advocacy using Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software. We asked her a few questions about the presentation and advocating in a state without pending legislation.
What inspired you to create the presentation?
Explaining legislative issues can be tricky. We really needed a presentation that was stripped down and simplified in order to focus on a single message. The intent was to make the content clear and, most importantly, usable. In addition, we needed to present definitive and concise answers to some of the misconceptions and opposition that we face when advocating for interior design. None of the content is new or groundbreaking but is just gathered and presented in a fresh way.
Prezi isn’t the usual presentation format, but it makes for a more dynamic presentation. How did the chapter respond to a new presentation style?
One of the best features that Prezi has to offer is its ability to organize information graphically. The ability to make dynamic thought bubbles and visually describe the links between concepts really helps to explain a multifaceted topic. The audience seemed to respond really well to the presentation format. The less formal nature of it seemed to make it easier for people to open up and participate in discussion. I didn’t see anyone fall asleep, so I think that’s a good sign.
What impact has the CEU and your advocacy efforts had on the chapter and level of interest from members?
The CEU presentation sparked great discussion and helped to empower the participants to be advocates in their day-to-day lives. IIDA Rocky Mountain Chapter’s advocacy efforts continue to evolve. This CEU was a kick off to a fresh and intentional approach to outreach for us. One of the main messages in the presentation is that making change for the profession is accomplished by grassroots advocating efforts. The more our coworkers, friends, families, and colleges understand the health, safety, and welfare impacts of interior design, the more they can spread this clear message to their networks. My goal for our chapter is to give the design community the right tools to do this.
How do you promote advocacy in your chapter when there isn’t an active interior design bill in your state?
In Colorado, we do not currently have an active bill. The purpose of creating the aforementioned presentation was to drum up advocacy efforts in this “off-season.” This can be the most important time to promote advocacy because you are building a network base of supporters in order to be prepared for new interior design legislation. This is also a time to take a step back and critically analyze past efforts.
During an inactive legislative year, it is important to stay present. Work with your coalition and lobbyists to get designers in front of legislators and start changing perceptions when the stakes are not so high. Most importantly, remind people to continually advocate for the future of the Interior Design profession.
What do you wish other people knew about interior design legislation?
It is a long process to turn a big ship. It takes a LOT of small conversations to change a big perception. These grassroots efforts require everyone’s participation. Our coalitions can’t reach all of the people that the individuals in the design community can. It is crucial to promote the profession through support of the coalitions and through individual advocacy efforts. It is often difficult to get coalition membership but it is a vital component in influencing legislative outcomes. The coalitions employ lobbyists and act as the legislative watchdogs for the profession; they need member support.