LEAD Questionnaire 2021

Name: Emily Modoono
Company: SMMA
Concentration: Corporate Commercial
Title/Role: Senior Interior Designer
Years in the industry: 14

What is a fact that may surprise people about you?: I knew I wanted to be an interior designer in middle school.
What past project of yours holds the most meaning to you and why?: This is a tough one! Each project has such different meaning for different reasons, I cannot pick one. One of my most recent projects was the northeast headquarters for Olympus Corporation. Their café and survey space is now almost complete! It holds meaning to me more now than ever because, during this pandemic, I think everyone really misses social interaction and the ability to gather. I hope this space will help celebrate that again in the near future.  



Name a favorite space or experience you wish you had designed?: Most of my favorite spaces and experiences are from nature. I wish I could have designed them, but the beauty in nature is that it cannot be designed! They are romantic, everchanging places where no designer is needed, but we can surely try to replicate them!



How would you describe your leadership style in 3 words?: Approachable. Devoted. Loyal.  
What advice would you give to this year's class of emerging leaders?: Spend time on making connections with people. You will always learn new skills and grow them over the years, but connections and experiences cannot be taught. They are invaluable. 
Recall a moment you felt the most empowered as a professional Interior Designer?: I was co-host of the IIDA Business Leaders breakfast for 2 years. Gathering in a room with that many talented people, who all have a common interest and goal, was wonderful. I felt like I had chosen the right career path, and the community surrounding it, was amazing. Speaking in front of over 1000 peers was also mind blowing and empowering in itself!
Do you have a "design mantra" or saying you find yourself repeating?: Incorporate elements that have a purpose and are beautiful. Both aspects matter.
What makes a project successful for you?: A successful project is one where the design is outstanding, the team is united and excited, and the client is happy. 
How has IIDA helped you the most in your career?: The connections and friends IIDA has given me are tremendous. The educational seminars and events have helped me be a better designer.
How would you Explain the difference between a professional Interior Designer vs Interior Decorator to a stranger? 
I often find myself saying things like:
“You see that reception desk over there, not only did I make sure it was beautiful, I figured out how to build it and drew it so a millworker could make it.” or
“That auditorium, not only did I pick the finishes for it, I made sure it was safe for large groups and the sound quality is excellent.” or
“I just don’t pick colors for a room, I build that room and all the elements that go into it”