Tag Archives: Leaders Breakfast


Leadership of Excellence Award: Presenting the Herman Miller Red Walnut Stool

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Throughout the years, Herman Miller has presented recipients of the Leadership of Excellence Award with an innovative and steadfast symbol of design excellence. Until late 2014, Herman Miller honored award recipients with a molded plywood splint in its original packaging from World War II designed by Charles and Ray Eames. With the splint in limited quantities and held in the Herman Miller archives, Herman Miller produced a special edition stool made from sustainable ash, stained in a signature translucent aniline red, a favorite color of Charles and Ray Eames. Exclusive only to Leaders Breakfast award recipients, the stool is now the symbol of the Leaders Breakfast series. A specialty book about the history of the stool, including a framed print from the Herman Miller design archives, accompanies the award.

We are excited to present this year’s 2017 Leadership of Excellence Award to Affordable Living for the Aging! Please join us next Friday, September 15th to honor this great organization in Los Angeles!

Leaders Breakfast
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.


Meet the Designers Behind the Wilshire Grand Center – AC Martin!

*This interview was conducted with some members of the design team – Christopher King, Sandra Levesque and Michelle Sterling.

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Overhead view of the Wilshire Grand Center and the Los Angeles skyline. Photography provide by AC Martin.

“The Wilshire Grand Center, encompassing the new InterContinental Hotel, aims to become a vital part of downtown Los Angeles’ ongoing renaissance. Its businesses, restaurants, bars and residents are fresh, vibrant, creative, innovative and constantly evolving. Formulating an “authentic” experience for local urban dwellers and visitors alike requires thoughtful understanding and representation of place, culture notwithstanding LA’s inescapable yet widely revered clichés such as weather and traffic.” – AC Martin

Wilshire Grand Center Quick Details:
Client: Hanjin International Corporation/Korean Airlines
Address: 900 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90017
Architect: AC Martin
Structural Engineer: Brandow & Johnston, Inc./Thorton Tomasetti
Contractor: Turner Construction Company
Hotel: InterContinental Hotels Group
Type: Mixed-Use Commercial
Construction Started: 2012
Completed: 2017
Height: 1,100 ft.
Floor Count: 73
Floor Area: 2.1 Million SF
Elevators: 38
Sky Lobby Express Elevator Speed: 1,600 FPM (feet per minute)

What was the program for the Wilshire Grand Center? What was AC Martin’s scope of work for the project?
AC Martin was the design architect, architect of record, interior architect and hospitality designer of the 2.1 million square feet contained within the project.  The program for the Wilshire Grand includes the InterContinental Hotel, convention and meeting spaces, restaurants, retail, and offices.
Under the signature curving skylight is a gallery space that features a coffee shop, lounge and arrival lobby connecting to the porte-cochere. The lower hotel lobby features a custom three-story art installation by Do Ho Suh, made up of 86,000 3” tall resin figures.  From there you experience a 35 second ride into the sky in one of the double decker, high-speed elevators delivering you to the 70th floor sky lobby and check-in.

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Up-close view of the plaza lobby art installation by Do Ho Suh. Photography by Sylvia Yoo.

The client didn’t want the top of the building to be exclusive, but rather desired a ‘neighborhood in the sky’ of sorts – this was to be the differentiator. It consists of the highest open air rooftop bar in the United States, several bars and restaurants including a sushi restaurant, all-day dining and marketplace, steakhouse and a series of public lounges, all of which are publicly accessible.

Meeting and ballroom spaces occupy floors five, six and seven, including the grand ballroom – the third largest ballroom in Los Angeles.  While both ballrooms have access to outdoor light, the junior ballroom on the 7th floor has a retractable glass door to open seamlessly to the adjacent outdoor space and pool deck which is the terminus of historic 7th street.

The health club, which will be available for outside memberships, will be opening this fall and Seoul Jung, the signature Korean restaurant, is currently under construction (both designed by AC Martin) and will be open in January 2018.

What was your design inspiration?
The interior design concept focused on how the guest experience could authentically relate to Los Angeles.  We didn’t want the guest experience to only rely on the view but rather we wanted the interior design to interact and respond to the key landmarks or signature elements as viewed from each area of the project.   Back in the 70s, architect Reyner Banham wrote a book entitled Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies and classified the four different ecologies he observed in Los Angeles – beach culture, or what he called “surfurbia”, “autopia”, foothills, and the flats which he referred to as “the Plains of ID”.  Since this project was located downtown, we ended up adding downtown as the fifth ecology.

From the 70th floor, with 360 degree views of Los Angeles, you end up viewing all the different ecologies – one way you’re looking towards the foothills, or the 110/10 intersection, or you see the bustling downtown below.  For example, immediately above the check-in area hangs a three-story tall light sculpture made up of internally illuminated, multi-color resin segments. The intersection of the 10 and 110 freeways, directly in view, are the inspiration for this “autopian” design. Freeways, while often uninspiring by car, become a light show of red, white and orange lights at night from 70 stories above. The ‘strung’ form is derived directly from mapping this key intersection including the on and off ramps, underpasses, overpasses and connectors.  As if made from string, these draped strands are given form by gravity. The resin is molded to resemble head lights, tails lights and side lights.

Custom-designed light installation at hotel lobby.  Photography provided by AC Martin.
Custom-designed light installation at hotel lobby. Photography provided by AC Martin.

How do you think the Wilshire Grand impacts the overall Los Angeles skyline?
It adds a unique profile to the skyline because of its three dimensional rooftop. AC Martin together with the City of Los Angeles forever altered the ordinance requiring the helipad for emergency purposes and ultimately opened up the possibility for more uniquely shaped tall buildings to be built in LA in the future.

By code, high-rise buildings in LA were required to have a helipad.  We worked with the building and fire departments to change the code by implementing more modern and efficient methods of both fire rescue and fire suppression.  We added a very large holding tank of water stored onsite in the parking garage and a dedicated fire department elevator with three foot thick concrete walls surrounding the elevator shaft.  We also added a third exit stair from the upper floors of the tower – more than what is required by code.  We were able to achieve a more complex, three dimensional rooftop design and overall help other high-rise projects in the future achieve a unique building shape.

Leaders Breakfast
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


Get to know the Leaders Breakfast Speaker Julie Burstein – Part Two

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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.

This week, we conclude our conversation about creativity with Julie:

One of the main things you do is create conversation through questions…which do you prefer – the quieter moments of conversations, such as listening and asking questions, or the lively moments of conversations, such as discovery and having revelatory moments?
I love them both!  I’ve been interviewing now for more than 30 years and one of the key things I’ve learned is that I need to prepare ahead of time. The more you prepare, the more space you can create for both of those kinds of moments – the intimate along with the raucous – so the preparation has always been really important. The next key thing is preparing well enough that I can throw it all away, if need be, and follow the course of the conversation so that I can get to something that could even surprise me! The third key piece – and this was the hardest piece for me to learn, but is the most important – was to understand that when I’m interviewing someone, it’s often the first time they get to speak their own story in this way. I need to stay quiet to let them find their way to what it is they want to say.  The hardest work is not what you ask, but waiting to see what happens, even if it causes discomfort, in order to let the interviewee feel what they feel. That’s what I often teach, is that you have to learn to stay quiet. When you do this type of work, the job is to remain PRESENT and to connect in the non-verbal ways we can connect with one another.

If someone is in an emotional moment and I can feel in myself the urge to defray the moment during this person-to-person conversation, I sometimes have to keep my hand on my leg to remind myself to be present and to slow myself down. Through our body language we can actually communicate so much.

You have worked with many creative people in your career – what was the most inspiring story that have come out of one of your conversations?
That’s always the toughest questions because there are so many moments! Rather than a particular conversation or story, let me tell you about what I love to do when creating conversations. I’ve done a lot of events and panels bringing people of cross-disciplines together. For Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, I have been moderating a series about climate change in Maine, from the perspective of a visual artist, a climate and marine scientist, and a lobster fisherman in Maine. The scientist was able to help us understand climate change; the lobster fisherman was able to talk about how he’s experiencing it while he is out on the water; but what the visual artist did was help us feel it. Her work was inspired by ice in Greenland and had created large scale porcelain installations that don’t make us think, but make us feel. We needed to hear from all three of them to get a holistic understanding of climate change. The moments I treasure the most are when I have a sense of where there might be synchronicity between the stories from people of cross-disciplines. People from different worlds are starting to talk to each other and recognizing similar patterns in each other’s stories. A lot of the work that I’m doing now is oriented towards how I can create a space where something unexpected, but powerful can happen.

A few years ago I created an event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I brought the Curator of Arms and Armors (Pierre Terjanian), costume designer from Game of Thrones (Michele Clapton), and a Japanese-American sculpture and artist (Miya Ando) who’s family was from a long line of sword makers for centuries. What was so exciting about that conversation was that they were all approaching the idea of protecting themselves from different perspectives. Miya spoke about her family history of Buddhist priest and sword makers, something that seem to be mutually exclusive, but she was able to articulate that both were about serving a higher purpose. That lead Pierre to speak about arms and armor from his perspective as a curator at the Met. Then, Michelle took us to an entirely different direction with costumes and explained how the things we wear can signify certain meaning to other people. As a costume designer, she can create that “coat of armor” through clothing and costume. I love these types of moments where concepts that you wouldn’t necessarily think can connect, suddenly you can realize how they are all woven together.

It’s not a particular story that has come out of my conversations, but these types of moments and situations that I’m working towards. Trying to figure out how to bring the right people together and create the best atmosphere so that the participants are comfortable enough to venture out of their familiar space and start thinking in a way they haven’t thought of before.

What is your best creation to date?
My kids, though I can’t take full credit! I have two sons – one is 22 and just graduated from college. The other just turned 19 and graduated from high school. What I’m most proud of is that each of them have grown up to be themselves, even with the pressures to conform these days. Both of them are artists – one is a writer and the other is a sculpture – and they have been able to keep that creative spark alive and sustain them personally. Creative space is so important to each of them, and it gives me a lot of hope for our world that there continues to be creative young individuals out there today.

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


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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

PATRON
Bentley
Mohawk Group

DONOR
Herman Miller
Interface

FRIEND
Allsteel
Arcadia/Encore
Crossville
EEI
Emser Tile
Garrett Leather
Haworth
Knoll
MetWest
Milliken
OFS Brands
Pinnacle
Pivot Construction Services
PlanNet
Steelcase
Tangram

DESIGN PARTNER
AECOM
Gensler
HOK
Wolcott


Leaders Breakfast 2016 Was a Huge Success!

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Celeste Headlee captivated the audience of more than 450 attendees last Friday at the LA Hotel for the Southern California 2016 Leaders Breakfast. Everyone walked away from the event with a refreshed sense of conversations. “Over the 18 years that I’ve been a journalist, our conversations are dropping in quantity and deteriorating in quality. I see the effect that has on our politics, our education, and our medicine because I am reporting on those issues daily. Once I found what was lacking in my own conversations, I decided to spread the word as far as I could.” – Celeste Headlee 

A favorite audience quote – “A good conversation is like a miniskirt: short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.” – Adaptation of a Winston Churchill quote.

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Herman Miller, an event sponsor, honored this year’s Leadership of Excellence recipient, Skid Row Housing Trust – which provides housing for those in need in the greater Los Angeles area – with their custom Eames walnut stool,  an innovative and steadfast symbol of design excellence.

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Thanks also to Sponsors ID Magazine, Howard Building Corp., Clune Construction, Taslimi, and USG…and our Chapter Sponsors as well!

See the photos from the event here!


2016 Leaders Breakfast – Herman Miller: Behind the Red Stool

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Herman Miller — Throughout the years, Herman Miller has presented recipients of the Leadership of Excellence Award with an innovative and steadfast symbol of design excellence. Until late 2014, Herman Miller honored award recipients with a molded plywood splint in its original packaging from World War II designed by Charles and Ray Eames. With the splint in limited quantities and held in the Herman Miller archives, Herman Miller produced a special edition stool made from sustainable ash, stained in a signature translucent aniline red, a favorite color of Charles and Ray Eames. Exclusive only to Leaders Breakfast award recipients, the stool is now the symbol of the Leaders Breakfast series. A specialty book about the history of the stool, including a framed print from the Herman Miller design archives, accompanies the award.

Leaders Breakfast
Friday, September 16, 7 – 10am
The LA Hotel Downtown
333 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

SPEAKER
Celeste Headlee
Public Broadcast Radio Show Host & Author of Heard Mentality

HONOREE
Skid Row Housing Trust

To purchase tickets and sponsor visit iida.org. For up-to-date information about the event and to read more about the speaker and honoree, visit iida-socal.org. See Sponsorship Opportunities here.


6 questions with Celeste Headlee – Leader’s Breakfast Keynote Speaker

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Which one of your professions was the key driver for Branching into motivational speaking?
Journalism. It’s been clear, over the 18 years that I’ve been a journalist, that our conversations are dropping in quantity and deteriorating in quality. I see the effect that has on our politics, our education, and our medicine because I am reporting on those issues daily. Once I found what was lacking in my own conversations, I decided to spread the word as far as I could.

Who was your most notable interview subject?
I’ve interviewed presidents and celebrities and Nobel Prize winners, so many of them are notable. But my favorite is Salman Rushdie. He’s a delight to talk to and taught me how to really listen to a question and make sure I understand it before I answer.

Biggest success story.
My son. He starts college in the fall at Georgia State University.

Favorite pastime?
My favorite pastime is hiking or kayaking, I haven’t been able to do it for a couple years because I need foot surgery. But once that’s done, I’ll be back out in the hills of Georgia or paddling down the rivers. Once you get into a rhythm with your paddle or your feet, it’s almost like meditation.

You help lead the Next Generation Project for NPR, training young broadcast journalists, what do you see as the most challenging factor for graduates now?
I think the biggest challenge is to get past the social media identity. Connection can feel like communication and young people sometimes struggle to understand the difference. Some confuse a text exchange for a conversation or feel they are close to people whom they only know over Facebook. When you communicate with printed text only, through email or text, you are missing out on a lot of data that helps you understand the meaning of what’s being said: non-verbal cues and tone of voice. That’s two-thirds of the meaning in a conversation and it’s lost if you are connecting through text.

What keeps you motivated?
The response of people that I meet. I can tell that I’m making a difference because I see the lights go on in people’s eyes. And I get emails from people that are so heartfelt and touching, it’s impossible to mistake the impact that I have.

Leaders Breakfast
Friday, September 16, 7 – 10am
The LA Hotel Downtown
333 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

To purchase tickets and sponsor visit iida.org. See Sponsorship Opportunities here. For up-to-date information about the event and to read more about the speaker and honoree, visit iida-socal.org.

Elise Ozawa, IIDA
VP of Communications
Momentum Textiles