March 1, 2005
John Lijewski, FIIDA, LEED AP

IIDA membership provides opportunities as diverse as the profession.

SOMETHING Greater IIDA membership provides opportunities as diverse as the professionby John Lijewski, LEED APThe International Interior Design Association and its members are unique. There are as many different reasons for joining IIDA as there are for getting involved in the interior design profession in the first place. Ours is a creative profession that necessitates as much business acumen and scientific and sociological savvy as it does artistic interpretation to create spaces that enhance the public's health and well-being. So when someone asks why he or she should join IIDA, the answers are many, but it most simply boils down to this: becoming a part of something greater.New practitioners have distinct needs during the transition from student to active designer. But recent graduates can add value to their career credentials merely by adding IIDA after their name. They may be looking for assistance in preparing for the NCIDQ examination or wanting to stay abreast of the most recent code changes. Educational opportunities presented through IIDA are an invaluable resource. Participation at the chapter level allows these individuals to tap into a network of like-minded professionals within their peer group to learn through shared experiences. Moreover, they gain access to an invaluable network of industry leaders who may evolve into mentors or even future employers. Participation in IIDA also provides avenues to develop leadership skills, something every employer wants to see. Whether participating on the local board committees or even assisting on-site at an event, taking an active role in IIDA can help hone business skills designers can translate into one's work life. Mid-career professionals often walk the fine line of prioritization, trying to juggle the demands of work and family life. IIDA provides tools to help members work smarter rather than harder. Resources like Perspective magazine and the online Knowledge Center give members an edge through access to the latest research, trends and practice tools to support current project work. Designers share global issues, but corporate, education, facility-planning, government, healthcare, hospitality, residential and retail designers also have specialized concerns, and IIDA is there to help. While our social events present avenues for invaluable networking throughout the community of design, IIDA Forums let one further specialize his or her IIDA experience. With events and information disseminated based on specialty areas of practice, IIDA Forums are an invaluable resource and can be an integral part of one's experience with IIDA—especially for professionals investigating their career niche as well.Seasoned professionals have a distinct home in IIDA as they look for resources to help grow and manage their firms, gain access to the latest research to inform their projects and policies, and find ways to give back to the profession. IIDA has resources to help mangers hire and keep the best designers in the field. The best and brightest students know there is no better place to post their resumes than on IIDA's online Career Center. It is where employers should be looking as well. Firm growth, however, can mean real estate or project development as much as human capital. We live and work in a global environment. Through membership you can tap into the worldwide resources of international colleagues. IIDA is comprised of designers with diverse backgrounds who have faced similar project challenges and are ready to share their unique solutions. And when it's time to give back, participation in IIDA chapters and legislative coalitions gives leaders a chance to shape the future of design through legislative and advocacy activities. Participation in IIDA makes you a part of something greater, no matter where you are in the student-to-expert continuum. We provide a planned approach to developing our profession and your career, and offer all members the opportunity to lead. It is your opportunity to actively engage in the exchange of ideas and shape your future in design.IIDA president John Lijewski, FIIDA, is a principal at Perkins & Will, New York. IIDA is headquartered in space 13-122 at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, and can be reached at (888)799-IIDA;

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