Takeaways from ASID’s Fourth Annual GO PRO/NYC Conference

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) hosted its fourth annual GO PRO/NYC conference, September 18-19, in New York. The two-day event geared to emerging design professionals provided ideas, insights, and inspiration from award-winning speakers and professional designers.

ASID Chief Executive Officer Randy Fiser opened by announcing that ASID is partnering with the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI) for a commitment project, “ASID Protocols for Health and Wellness in Design,” which could improve the well-being of 1 million people through better building construction and design. ASID, in partnership with 11 organizations, will train 40,000 interior designers and architects nationwide to use protocols to create spaces that promote the health of body and mind, as well as healthier products and materials.

Fiser stated that the new project would be a single resource tool to discover design, products, and healthcare, and it plans to beta test the protocols early next year.

During his opening comments, a large number of statistics were mentioned to show attendees how interior design is in demand and continuing to grow. Here are a few examples:

  • Two-thirds of interior designers hold a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Over 30,000 interior designers have passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
  • 21,000 students are studying interior design, with 4,600 graduating this spring with a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

The conference focused on five important pros: PROfessional Development, PROcess, PROduct, PRO Bono, and PROject. These five categories were split up between speakers during the span of two days.

Kicking off the conference with PROfessional Development were Aga Artka, Allied ASID, LEED AP, owner and interior designer at Aga Artka Interior Design LLC and Jenny Schrank, Allied ASID, principal at PushPoint Marketing, who talked about “The Brand of You.”


Schrank, Artka’s former instructor, focused on three important topics: education, creativity, and passion, which seemed to be a theme throughout the whole first day of GO PRO. Schrank and Artka also touched on how important is it to create connections, relationships, and promise everywhere you go. “You can’t control the changes,” Schrank commented. “Be in control of who you are.”

During PROcess, designers gained professional guidance and advice from Krista Ninivaggi, founder of K&CO and Contract’s 2014 Designer of the Year. Ninivaggi shared her journey of becoming a successful designer. From juggling multiple internships, jobs, and school, Ninivaggi pushed herself to become the designer she is today. She never intended to start her own company, but after gaining multiple contacts and connections throughout her career, she made it happen. She shared her calendar with the audience that showed what it takes to start your own business, including pitching multiple proposals weekly, creating her own website and business cards, and applying for licenses.

Krista Ninivaggi, Contract’s 2014 Designer of the Year, speaking to attendees.

Krista Ninivaggi, Contract’s 2014 Designer of the Year, speaking to attendees.

Ninivaggi gave attendees the down-and-dirty truth about design and standing out, including these tips:

  • Every element needs a contrast partner.
  • Create your own style, texture, and unexpected, warm places.
  • Create flashcards as a low-fied Pinterest to see what clients are attracted to and then show them design ideas later on.
  • Check in regularly with your team members on an individual basis to make sure that everyone is happy and excited with their tasks.
  • Have daily brainstorms, with yourself and your staff.
  • Find a way to blend your personal and business life instead of trying to keep them separate.
  • Design. Drink. Sleep.
Contract's Editor In Chief John Czarnecki, Associate Editor Mallory Szczepanski and 2014 Designer of the Year Krista Ninivaggi.

Contract‘s Editor In Chief John Czarnecki, Associate Editor Mallory Szczepanski, and 2014 Designer of the Year Krista Ninivaggi.

Ninivaggi’s long-term goal is to see herself have a team as good as what she had built at SHoP. She also hopes to mentor and help designers build their vision.

Other GO PRO speakers included Make It Right experts and architect, designer and educator Janus Welton, LEED AP BD+C, AIA, and chemist Mark Dorfman of Biomimicry NYC.

Photography by Lindsay Marshall, ASID