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International Interior Design Association

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Advocacy Symposium


IIDA Advocacy Symposium 2020

Advocacy Symposium 2020 is going virtual! Join IIDA September 8-10 for three days of sessions focused on advocacy and activism topics related to commercial interior design. Guest speakers and design leaders will discuss the benefits of design thinking in public office, the importance of activism and voting, and how having a design background can influence policy making.


September 8-10, 2020


Student Members: Free!
Members: $15
Non-Members: $30.00


Registration is now closed. Please reach out to Abigail Wilson at with any questions.


Tuesday, September 8

Advocacy 101: Just the Basics 
12-1p.m. Central 
Approved for one (1) IDCEC CEU
An introduction to the 2020 symposium and the current issues that the interior design profession is advocating for. Presented by Emily Kelly, the director of advocacy, public policy, and legislative affairs at IIDA and Abigail Wilson, advocacy and public policy manager at IIDA. Featuring guests Thom Banks, CEO at CIDQ and Rebekah Matheny, IIDA, associate professor at The Ohio State University. 
Keynote: Bill Grant, Design Thinking in Public Office 
2-3 p.m. Central
Approved for one (1) IDCEC CEU
John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, deputy director and senior vice president, IIDA in discussion with Bill Grant, president and chief creative officer at Grant Design Collaborative and mayor of the City of Canton, Georgia. Grant will describe examples of the impact that he has had as a design professional in public service as mayor and city council member. 

Wednesday, September 9
Advocacy with Sascha Wagner
12-12:30 p.m. Central  
A conversation between Susanne Molina, FIIDA, design manager at Gensler and Sascha Wagner, FIIDA, 2020-21 President of the IIDA International Board of Directors and president and CEO at Huntsman Architectural Group.
Designers in Public Office 
2-3 p.m. Central  
Approved for one (1) IDCEC CEU
Moderated by Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, executive vice president and CEO, IIDA and featuring panelists Bonnie Limbird, IIDA of SFS Architecture and City Councilwoman of Prairie Village, Kansas and Julie Sayers, IIDA, senior project manager at Encompas and City Councilwoman of Lenexa, Kansas for a discussion covering running for local office and the important role designers can play in making decisions for local communities.


Thursday, September 10

Adapting Advocacy: State of Affairs 
12-1 p.m. Central 
Approved for one (1) IDCEC CEU
Moderated by Emily Kelly, IIDA's director of advocacy, public policy, and legislative affairs and featuring panelists Buddy Julius, founding partner at The Firm Consulting; Dave Roberts, partner at Nortelus Roberts Group; Bryan Soukup, VP of government and public affairs at ASID; and Abigail Wilson, advocacy and public policy manager at IIDA. Panelists will discuss the legislative successes and challenges the interior design community faced in 2020 and how the upcoming elections and COVID-19 may affect state government in 2021. 
Adapting Advocacy: Stories from the Frontlines 
2-3 p.m. Central 
Approved for one (1) IDCEC CEU
Moderated by Abigail Wilson, IIDA's advocacy and public policy manager and featuring panelists Kate Chapman, IIDA, managing director at Blitz Architecture and Design and president-elect at IIDA Rocky Mountain Chapter; Rebecca Davisson, IIDA, partner at Designmind and VP of advocacy at IIDA North Florida Chapter; Melissa Destree, IIDA, AIA, principal architect and interior designer at Destree Architecture and Design, VP of advocacy at IIDA Wisconsin Chapter; and Emily Kelly IIDA's director of advocacy, public policy, and legislative affairs. Panelists will discuss best practices in grassroots advocacy including how to mobilize members to take action and how to best navigate the legislative process as a chapter board leader.



Show your commitment to the future of the interior design profession and reach interior design decision-makers in a meaningful way through sponsorship. Learn how to become a sponsor for one of IIDA's signature events.


For questions or more information, contact Emily Kelly at or Abigail Wilson at