March 8th is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #BreakTheBias– a commitment to end gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. International Womens’ Day is a time to celebrate progress and recognize all womens’ accomplishments not only throughout history but also today.  We sat down with seven design leaders to learn how they have challenged themselves personally and professionally in 2021 and how they will take it with them into the future.

Founder of Wovn Home, Davina Ogilvie
“To say the past year has been overwhelming would be an understatement and I say this as someone in a privileged situation with support around me. One lesson I took away, especially when things feel daunting and insurmountable, is to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing the small things you can control that day.”

Founders of Salvesen Graham, Mary Graham and Nicole Salvesen
“If this last year or so has taught us anything about working through a global pandemic, it is that we have the technology to adapt to long-distance working. Without the ability to travel quite so much, we have reduced our carbon footprint and are adapting to more sustainable ways of working without compromising on our deliverables. However, we have also been reminded of the importance of being in the studio with our brilliant all-female team. Nothing beats face to face interaction to encourage real creativity and fresh ideas. The Salvesen Graham team has sustainability at the top of their agenda. For example, we continue to use antiques and adapt existing pieces of furniture for our clients. If we are specifying new pieces, demanding sustainable practice from suppliers is key to ensuring that change does happen.”
Interior Designer, Anne Hepfer 

“My mantra for 2022 is, ‘Live, Light, Love.’ Suddenly, after a profound period of the pandemic with my husband and four kids, my mind was clear: I want to live in the moment, spread light, and love this journey of life. In order to keep filling our souls, we all need to re-experience what inspires us now — digging into our passions, re-invigorating our interior and exterior spaces, and filling up our calendar with daily activities that trigger happiness, joy, and good energy. For me, traveling, eating healthy, doing a yoga class, or going for a walk in nature cleanses and prepares me for a creative path. I find I thrive the most when I have a community of women to boost me up, make me feel good, and keep me on a positive track toward fulfilling my dreams — and my goal is to lend that same support to other women. More than ever, these are the ties that bond us together and keep us whole.”

Founder and CEO of Framebridge, Susan Tynan
“This International Women’s Day, I have been reflecting on the changing nature of the workplace and how important it is for women leaders to be at the forefront of this reshaping. The new rules will either include more people or exclude more people and women leaders can make sure the opportunity tent is larger.”

Founder of Artistic Tile, Nancy Epstein

“As I slowly step away from the business to spend more time with family and charitable endeavors, it is such a pleasure to see all three of my sons now leading the efforts at Artistic Tile. Balancing building the business while raising my children was challenging, but it gave my sons a high level of respect for women. I see that in the wonderful fathers and husbands they now are, and in their readiness to promote female leadership throughout our company.”


Founding Principal of Purple Cherry Architects, Cathy Purple Cherry 
“I learned in the past year that we all need to exhibit more patience and tolerance with each other and with ourselves. The pandemic and the effect it has had on our industry has required design professionals, now more than ever, to be as quick and efficient as possible in order to keep up with demand. This has created an environment in which we are all being expected to perform at our highest level. Given that 60% of my firm is female, I have witnessed the women in my firm exude patience and tolerance throughout this unique time and have seen that same mindset spread throughout the rest of the team. This has made us a stronger, more compassionate, and an even more patient team.”
Interior Designer, Jennifer Hunter 

“This past year I have made a conscious effort to be more sustainable in my business. I have e been actively sourcing antique and vintage pieces in order to help mitigate our carbon footprint. Every small choice I make as a business owner impacts the greater picture, and I want to make sure I am playing my part in preserving our planet for my daughters and future generations.”

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