Tag Archives: 2017 Leaders Breakfast

Get to know the Leaders Breakfast Speaker, Julie Burstein, Part One


Julie Burstein is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, TED speaker, and best-selling author who has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative people – interviewing, probing, guiding, and creating live events and public radio programs about them and their work. In her book Spark: How Creativity Works, she maps out some of the coordinates and dimensions of creativity.  No one can exactly explain creativity, but Julie offers a tour through some of its essential byways; shining a beam onto its mysterious workings in a way that is illuminating and can help us find more of that dimension within ourselves, and put it to good use.

Here’s what Vanity Fair says about the book: “In Spark, Burstein offers enlightening answers from the culture’s heavy hitters, including Chuck Close, Yo-Yo Ma, and Richard Ford, on which experiences, memories, tragedies, or landscapes ignited their imaginations, as well as the process by which they stoked these embers into a roaring fire, and how you, yes, you, might too.”

Julie is host of Spark Talks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and produced and directed the museum’s TEDxMet in 2013, the first TEDx in an art museum, which dazzled the audience with talks from curators, artists, dancers, and a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist. The Met asked Julie to collaborate on the second TEDxMet, in September of 2015. Julie often speaks about creativity and innovation at museums, corporations, and universities.

In 2000, Julie created Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, public radio’s premiere program about creativity, entertainment and the arts. Julie is also the host of the podcast pursuitofspark.com, conversations about creative approaches to the challenges, possibilities, and pleasures of everyday life and work.

When Julie is not writing, making radio, producing events, or spending time with her family, she can usually be found in the pottery studio.

This week, we explore Part One of our conversation about creativity with Julie:

Many people correlate the word “creative” to “artistic” – do you feel that being creative necessarily has to do with being artistic?  What makes someone creative?

I believe that artistic creativity is an aspect of creativity.  But I do deep down believe that creativity is in all of us and there are different ways to express it.  It’s something we can avoid – there are a lot of people say they aren’t creative, some of them are right –  they are not creative!  But I have a friend who’s a doctor and she had read my book and after she read my book, she commented she’s not creative at all.  I asked her, when she sees a new patient – what happens?  She talked about the checklist in her head, that she has to be open to what’s going on in that room, and to draw from her previous experience and observe what’s going on with that patient.  She’s coming to conclusions based on her own experience and what’s going on right there.  You wouldn’t say you want a doctor to be “creative” in the way an artist is making something entirely new, but you do want your doctor to not just follow a checklist, but to be open to the “uncertainty” and to respond to you right there and not to a checklist that they have.  My friend who’s the doctor is extraordinarily creative because she’s able to first, ask the questions in order to know what the problem is and pull from her own experience to create a novel approach to that particular patient.  I do believe that in so many different professions, creativity is an essential component, it’s just not talked about the way that it is in the arts.

One of the main points you drive in your TED talk, 4 Lessons in Creativity is to embrace challenges and accept the unsettling feelings to lead us into creating something new or having new ideas, the “VUCA Environment” as the military describes it (VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity).  What tips do you have for people to help embrace the challenges and uncertainty in order to flourish with creativity?

Uncertainty is one of the key challenges in any creative profession because it’s built in [to the process]. If we’re going to make something new, we can’t be certain about it because it hasn’t existed yet. It may draw on all of the pieces that we know, but if it’s truly new, it’s going to be unexpected and will have uncertainty.

The first tip would be identifying it in your own life and understanding that it isn’t something we can avoid, and as you’re in it, understanding where you are. When I was writing my book, Spark, I knew to a certain extent what each chapter was going to be about, what the overall arc was going to be like. There were some things that happened in the writing of the book that I hadn’t expected, but one of the key things I learned in the process was in every single chapter, I’d get to a point where I’d think to myself, “I don’t know how to do this!” and throw up my hands and say, “forget it!”. [My friend noticed this pattern] and it was usually right after that I would come to some realization that I hadn’t had before that allowed me to move forward. In that experience, it really helped me understand and be able to look at that pattern and say, “Oh right, I’m here again, this is what it feel like. I know I’ll get to the next point.”  It was my friend giving me that observation then allowed me in subsequent chapters to say, “I’m in that point again where I want to throw up my hands…okay, what will happen next? Let’s see…”, instead of getting pulled down into the despair that this isn’t going to work. If I look back at other creative processes for me where I think that it’s not going to happen, and often I need to go “there” in order to open up to whatever it is that I need to pursue that I hadn’t expected beforehand.

One of the things a lot of the creative people I interview talk about is sometimes the abandoning frees you up. I think identifying that [uncertainty] is part of the process and acknowledging it and saying, “Okay I know that I’m not a failure”, and knowing it’s part of the creating process – once you can identify it, it frees you up and allows you to say, “Alright where am I going from here?”. This is a part of the process and it’s not the I’m failing, it’s that this feeling is a piece of getting to what it is I want to do. The other piece about uncertainty is PRACTICE. I do think that the more we put ourselves in situations where we don’t know what that outcome is going to be, the better we get at sustaining ourselves to get through that difficult time. Just play with the idea of uncertainty. Great art follows uncertainty.

Julie Burstein will be speaking at the 2017 Leaders Breakfast in Los Angeles.

Friday, September 15th, 7 – 10am
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
900 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017

Purchase tickets and become a sponsor today at iida.org. For more information about the event, visit the event page here.

Sylvia Yoo, CID, LEED AP
Herman Miller

2017 Leaders Breakfast Sponsor – USG


The IIDA SoCal Leaders Breakfast is quickly approaching, less than two months away! USG is excited to aid in sponsorship to this year’s IIDA Leader’s Breakfast 2017, held on Friday, September 15th. Additionally, USG would like to congratulate this year’s honoree, the Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA).

Leader’s Breakfast sponsor, USG, manufactures ceiling and wall products that are committed to sustainability and the Architecture 2030 challenge.They recently introduced the first sustainable wall-board in the industry, EcoSmart, which uses 25% less water and 22% less embodied energy in the manufacturing process.

To reach out to a local USG representative for more information, contact: Lisa Friedman at 310-339-4990 and lfriedman@usg.com

Meet the 2017 Leaders Breakfast honoree, ALA!


Affordable Living for the Aging is a group of passionate individuals committed to eradicate senior homelessness and early institutionalization by providing low-income and homeless seniors with affordable housing options and ancillary services. By providing cost-effective alternatives to institutional long-term care, ALA’s innovative senior housing options and services encourage independence through interdependence.

ALA’s work is grounded in the belief that housing is the foundation for improving health outcomes. The intersectionality of housing and health is a key contributor for creating healthy vibrant communities. Through their supportive services programming and Social Services team trained in age-related challenges, ALA not only supports the entire range of the homeless spectrum, but also help the most critical cases.

Established in 1978, ALA’s founder, Janet Witkin, was caring for her ailing grandfather and struck with the inadequacy of his options: he could remain alone at home with little support or move to an institution where he’d forfeit much of his independence. This experience inspired her to envision new options for aging Angelenos.  Funded initially by a five-year federal grant in 1979, Janet began to explore the shared housing model. She created a roommate matching service where seniors shared space in their private homes. ALA’s Home Share Program was designed to match compatible individuals, enabling them to age in place while enjoying the benefits of mutual support and companionship.

During the time period between 1982 and 1991, ALA developed five shared living residences that provided homes for 60 seniors. In 2010, ALA opened its first permanent supportive housing site expanding its beneficiaries to include homeless seniors with mental illness. In 2013, ALA began delivering social services at its second project for homeless seniors, and in 2014 ALA opened the Janet L. Witkin Center in honor of the organization’s visionary founder. Today, ALA’s senior communities are home to 227 residents and another 200 individuals a year receive program services.

ALA is a pioneer in the shared housing field and the home-sharing service for seniors is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles County. ALA collaborates with local organizations that have similar goals for supporting seniors in the community instead of institutions. Many of ALA’s home-sharing clients are referred by human service agencies operating throughout Los Angeles. A few partners include the Westchester Playa Village, St. Barnabas Senior Services, LA Kitchen, Culver City Senior Center, Jewish Family Services, Wise & Healthy Aging, Pasadena Senior Center, and the City of Beverly Hills. All of these efforts are made possible by ALA’s leadership team, the organization’s history of success, and its relationships with community leaders.

ALA’s work has been featured on MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle’, in the Column One section of the LA Times, online at abcNews.com, and on NPR’s local affiliate KPCC.

Friday, September 15th, 7 – 10am
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
900 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017

Purchase tickets and become a sponsor today at iida.org. For more information about the event, visit the event page here.

2017 Leaders Breakfast Tickets On Sale Now!


Announcing the 2017 IIDA Leaders Breakfast in Los Angeles!

Friday, September 15, 7 – 10am
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown
900 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017

IIDA Southern California will host this year’s annual Leaders Breakfast on Friday, September 15, 2017 at a new location, the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown –  a brand-new hotel inside the Wilshire Grand Center, the tallest building west of Chicago! This annual event provides a great opportunity for IIDA Members and their peers to network with industry leaders and experts, as well as celebrate design’s importance in the global marketplace. The event also features a keynote speaker sparking inspiration and new ideas, as well as recognizes as well as a deserving honoree providing exceptional service in our local community.

This year’s inspiring keynote speaker is Julie Burstein – author, Peabody award-winning radio producer and TED speaker. Her TED talk, 4 Lessons in Creativity, has been viewed more than 1.7 million times!

We are also honoring Affordable Living for the Aging – a passionate group committed to supporting homeless and at-risk seniors with affordable housing, resources and services in Los Angeles.

Tickets are now on sale and available to purchase here.
Members: $195
Non-IIDA members: $225

Become a sponsor!
$3,000 includes the following:
– Table of 10
– Preferred Seating Location
– Company logo on event materials, website, & onscreen presentation at event
– Company logo on table signage
– One blog post in IIDA SoCal newsletter distributed to 3,000 local design professionals.
Sponsor provides copy. Restrictions apply. Content subject to approval by IIDA SoCal Board of Directors.

International Benefactors

Herman Miller
Interior Design

In Partnership with
Interior Designers of Canada

Chapter Sponsors

Mohawk Group

Herman Miller

Emser Tile
Garrett Leather
OFS Brands
Pivot Construction Services