What’s Your Advocacy Story?
As Advocacy Coordinator, I’m gathering our stories to share with you. To kick it off, here’s Katie Hauser’s. Call or email me and let’s get the conversation started! -Christy Mulhall, IIDA, NCIDQ. ([email protected])
Taking and passing the NCIDQ was one of the most amazing professional accomplishments I have experienced. It was also one of the most stressful, trying and borderline traumatic experiences. – Sidenote: I think it’s important here to take a moment and talk about the fact that not everyone passes these exams the first time around and not enough people are talking about it. So if nothing is gathered from this, to those folks preparing to take the NCIDQ please know that it is okay if you don’t pass it all the first time around! Just keep on keepin’ on! You will get there and it will be all the sweeter when you do!
Anything deemed that amazing will inevitably have a great commitment of time, effort, and even a certain amount of struggle to it. Quitting or simply not entering into the certification process would have been the easier road to take, but for me, working alongside such esteemed professionals (think architects, engineers, seasoned designers, etc.) it was important for me to demonstrate the level of pride and professionalism I took in my career as well.
As designers, we have it hard. We work in a field that most don’t understand. It starts with being able to explain what it is we do. Most have no concept of the time involved, the crazy deadlines and heavy workloads we balance, nor the delicate line that we must tow working amongst other professionals and our clients. We are the face of the construction or renovation process and are charged with forming a personal connection with our clients. We are easily associated with just the aesthetics portion of that process. And don’t get me wrong, the aesthetics are huge – they are often times the only thing the client wants to really focus on – but there is so much more to what we do and the value we bring to a project. The popularity of HGTV, Pinterest, and the maker/DIY movement in general, although creatively inspiring, puts us at an immediate disadvantage. With the title of interior designer being thrown around so casually, anyone with good taste believes they’re equipped to be a designer.
Taking the time and effort and spending the money that is involved in the NCIDQ certification process is a very important step we need to take in an effort to differentiate our skill sets. Differentiate (notice I am not saying elevate) and truly begin to set apart the training, education and experience that we have obtained that allows us to make informed decisions like working through space planning challenges appropriately, applying the necessary building codes to our designs, helping with coordination of building systems, and when we are making finish selections, making responsible finish selections. Can these tasks be completed without an NCIDQ certification? Of course. But it is just one way we can demonstrate how we as trained and educated designers are differently equipped.
In today’s political climate, the physical act of licensing in our state is likely a ways off, however, this is no reason to become lax in advocating for the importance of our profession and the importance of our certification options. When the time is right and we can align the necessary efforts to push for legislation in our state, it is critical that we have as many NCIDQ holders in our ranks as possible. And until then, we can only continue to fight the fights we can, one informed conversation at a time.
So in parting, I encourage you to take a moment and think about what you can do to help further the conversation about interior design and the value of interior design professionals as a whole. Consider pursuing certification if you have not, consider joining IIDA (IIDA is THE commercial interior design association), but also, consider taking the time to explain what it is you do everyday the next time you encounter someone who doesn’t get it or just doesn’t know.
We are all charged with being advocates for our profession.
Katie Hauser, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED AP
IIDA Member of the Year, 2016