Name: Jen Imbaro
Company: Sasaki
Fashion Show – Co-Chair 2021, Chapter Sponsorship – Master Contact Keeper

How many years have you served on this Committee?
I joined the Fashion Show Committee in 2017, and the Chapter Sponsorship Committee in 2019.

Why did you choose this Committee?
The IIDA NE Fashion Show has been one of my favorite events of the year since I first attended in 2004 while in grad school at Suffolk University. It filled the void left from years in musical theater in my high school and undergrad life. I first participated as a student, and walked the runway in 2005. I think the theme was Modern Classics. I have participated to varying degrees with my firms ever since, only missing one show in 2012 because I was home with my new born. A few years later, in 2015, he attended a walkthrough taped out on the expo floor and had a blast running between the taped lines. That was my second walk on the runway for Sensation. Do I really need to explain why I joined the committee?

It was my role heading up the sponsorship sub-committee which lead to my recruitment to join the Chapter Sponsorship Committee. The benefit charts and contact tracking spreadsheets I somewhat nerdily created were seen as beneficial across the organization, and I was asked to compile a central repository to share between all event committees.

How did you get into the industry?
I have a degree in Communications Design (Graphic Design) from Syracuse University. I worked in the advertising and marketing industry for several years. The industry was unfortunately a bit unstable at the turn of the century, and while freelancing from home after the crash, I had time to fit in quite a bit of TLC watching. I began to understand interior design as something similar to, yet different than architecture, which I had been interested in before college but somehow felt a little too stiff for me to pursue. I also related to Genevieve Gorder, who also had a background in graphics which she often used to enhance her designs. A few years later, while waiting for yet another ad agency to close it’s doors, I had a conversation with myself as I walked from the bus to the office and decided if I wanted to be like here, I needed to take a class. The first thing I did when I fired up my computer that way was to type into Yahoo (yes, Yahoo, we didn’t have Google yet), “Interior design school Boston.” A few weeks later, I was taking an intro class and working on my application to the grad program.

What is your favorite IIDA NE event?
It's pretty clear that the Fashion Show is all the things to me. But I also hold a fondness for the Business Leaders Breakfast. I was invited to my first breakfast in 2006 by the director of my grad program. The speaker that year was Kevin Carroll who spoke about the wonders of a red rubber ball - to this day one of the most memorable keynotes I've seen at this event. We were seated at one of the random single ticket holder tables in the back. At that table was also seated the late Nina Monastero, who was a gradate of the Syracuse Architecture program and had her own firm. She gave me her card and I later reached out to her to snag my first job/internship in the industry. Sadly, this would later turn into helping to close up the office as she neared the end of her life. I inherited a lot of my professional reference library from her including my trusty copy of Architectural Graphic Standards. So, while I am not an early morning networker, I will always accept an invitation tot his breakfast as it reminds me of how I got my start in this community.