LEAD Questionnaire 2022

Name: Kaitlin Mangan
Company: Christine Burdick Design
Concentration: Commercial Interiors – workplace, retail, hospitality
Title/Role: Senior Interior Designer / Project + Studio manager
Years in the industry: 12

What is a fact that may surprise people about you?: have been with the company since it was founded, which was in the basement of Christine’s home. I used to ride to and from her child’s daycare drop off with her so that we could pack the car for the day and hop around to our different project meetings. It was a hard and fast way to learn all aspects of the business and what it required to be in this field, fresh out of design school.
What past project of yours holds the most meaning to you and why?: We provided pro bono design services to Spectrum Youth Services for their Drop-in Center in Burlington, VT. This location provides young people ages 14-24 to eat a meal, use a computer or phone, do laundry, get clothing, take a shower, and get other basic needs met. Being able to provide an environment that not only met the functional requirements – kitchen space for meals, locker storage for personal belongings, access to computers - but also to create a sense of comfort and belonging for the youth was beyond rewarding. Utilizing our creativity and access to industry partners to give back to the community felt really special. Lastly, our firm commissioned a local artist, Mary Lacy, to collaborate with the youth to paint a custom peacock mural, on behalf of our clients and in exchange for our yearly gifts to them. With every decision, we wanted to bring the gift of art, inspiration, and ownership to their new space.

Name a favorite space or experience you wish you had designed?: There is a local pizza shop here in Burlington that feels new and fresh but very authentic (and so delicious!). The designer implemented many new finishes and furnishings while utilizing the character of the building and some thrifty elements - many of which she created or sourced herself. I love the idea of being hands on in a project and giving things a new life.

How would you describe your leadership style in 3 words?: Direct, lead by example, evolving!
What advice would you give to this year's class of emerging leaders?: Orient yourself to the company’s values as well as your own and let that be the reason or framework in which you lead others. This will give you the “why” behind how the work is done and the way in which you and others conduct themselves within the organization.
Recall a moment you felt the most empowered as a professional Interior Designer?: Every time a client, collaborator, or colleague trusts your vision AND process which allows you to use your experience and creativity to lead them through a successful project. This results in a beautiful space that everyone can be proud of.
Do you have a "design mantra" or saying you find yourself repeating?: It is not good to have TOO MUCH of anything. Ie- create balance! Bold and conservative colors, hard and soft textures, new and old, privacy and collaboration, words and pictures, splurge and be thrifty ... 
What makes a project successful for you?: A collaborative process where all parties are mutually respectful of each other and their skillset. Whether that means internally in the firm or when working with architects, contractors, clients, vendors, etc. Lean on each other’s expertise and communicate often! 
How has IIDA helped you the most in your career?: Providing this leadership class which is helping me take the next step in my career.
How would you explain the difference between a professional Interior Designer vs Interior Decorator to a stranger?: While interior decorators possess a natural ability to create spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, a professional interior designer has gone through formal schooling and in most cases obtained a nationally-recognized certification that shows a level of competence related to design principles, construction methods, and building codes that are important to life safety and public health.