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Keynotes & Featured Presentations

We are thrilled to announce NeoCon 2024’s daily Keynote Presentations which offer an exploration into storytelling through design from three of the creative world’s most interesting and prolific leaders. A number of dynamic Featured Presentations from industry experts will also run daily; check back for announcements.

Programming registration is now open.

Keynotes

  • Monday, June 10, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

Bob Weis, Global Entertainment Leader, Gensler
Leveraging the Power of Storytelling in Commercial Design

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The last few years have tested the limits of our cities and built environments across the globe, leaving people and their communities with an urgent need for a return to vibrancy and experiences they can enjoy and remember together. Today, storytelling in design has become a top priority for clients and their stake holders, as well as our own aspirations as creators.

In his more than thirty years at Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Weis created story-driven experiences in every Disney property around the world. In his keynote, Weis will share insights and visuals to demonstrate how the new global Gensler Entertainment practice is bringing storytelling to the forefront and strategy of new projects, engaging clients to think differently about how stories and experiences form valuable anchors in successful projects. His talk will demonstrate how creatives can use this magical tool to bring vibrancy to everyday places and spaces.

About

Bob Weis leads Global Entertainment for Gensler. As former President of Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob brings more than 30 years of leadership creating, designing, and developing some of Disney’s most iconic projects around the globe. His experience in pioneering large-scale groundbreaking and story-driven experiences further expands Gensler’s ability to drive design innovation that meaningfully shapes the human experience.

In leading Entertainment at Gensler, Bob collaborates with the firm’s global leaders to envision and bring to life unique experiences for clients spanning across 33 practice areas, including entertainment, lifestyle, hospitality, retail, sports, mixed-use, cultural institutions, wellness, and workplace.

During his time at Disney, Bob led more than 200 major projects around the world with a capital value of more than $30 billion. From the U.S. to Shanghai, Tokyo to Paris, his design and innovation imprint has been indelibly left on theme parks, attractions and rides, resorts, and cruise ships. He has also consulted with major clients including Smithsonian, National Geographic, NASA, and the United States Navy, among others. Bob has been recognized with numerous industry accolades and awards and remains closely connected to his Disney roots.

Bob is the recipient of multiple honors from the Themed Entertainment Association, including Best New Theme Park for Shanghai Disney Resort and the Buzz Price Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been awarded an honorary Ph.D. from Cal Poly School of Environmental Design, where he graduated with a degree in Architecture.

Introduction and Q&A by Cheryl Durst

Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA is committed to achieving broad recognition for the value of design and its significant role in society as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association.

Under her leadership, IIDA sets an agenda that leads the industry in creating community, advancing advocacy, and continuing work toward equity. She is a member of the International WELL Building Institute Governance Council; and a Trustee for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the NYSID. Cheryl was the first recipient of the Interior Design Hall of Fame Leadership Award and is the first Black woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
Sponsored by
  • The Wall Street Journal
Presented by
  • IIDA
  • Tuesday, June 11, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

Yinka Ilori, British-Nigerian Multi-Disciplinary Artist and Designer
The Power of Affirmation: Yinka IIori in conversation with
Khoi Vo and Cheryl Durst

Yinka
With
  • Khoi Vo
    CEO, ASID

  • Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA
    Executive Vice President and CEO, IIDA

British-Nigerian multi-disciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori is known for his dynamic public installations and color-forward aesthetic. Behind his progressive work lies a philosophy grounded in design’s power to tell stories of identity, culture, and purpose. In an intimate “fireside chat” style keynote, Ilori will discuss how he harnesses diverse mediums of design as a catalyst to tell stories, using creativity as a language to celebrate cultural identities, and the power of design to elevate the individual while unifying the masses. Ilori will also give insight into how these tenets can be incorporated into the modern workplace, examining it through the lens of his electrifying new collection for Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering.

About

Yinka Ilori is a London-based, British-Nigerian multi-disciplinary artist, designer, and entrepreneur whose bold visual language draws on his British-Nigerian heritage to convey new narratives through contemporary design. Drawing on Nigerian parables and verbal traditions, Ilori touches on a multitude of themes that resonate with a global audience. His work is underpinned by the belief that art and design should be accessible to all. Humorous, provocative, and playful, his projects demonstrate how design can bring together communities and have a positive impact on society, evoking a sense of joy and optimism. Often using the city as his canvas, he reimagines spaces to encourage a sense of community and invites audiences to engage and participate in his work and its surroundings. A graduate of London Metropolitan University’s BA in Furniture and Product Design, Ilori’s work has been showcased globally through solo and group exhibitions, public commissions, and set and exhibition design.

Photo credit: Lewis Khan

Khoi Vo
, IIDA, CIDA, IDEC, IDECF brings more than 20 years of experience across the worlds of interior design, architecture, and education. Most recently a leader at the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Vo has touched the design world for nearly two decades as both a designer and an educator. In 2002, he founded Studio Four Los Angeles, where he worked as the design director and designed and sold architectural products. He later founded Khoi Vo Design and operated as the studio’s design director for 12 years and oversaw all phases of the firm’s projects. Vo began his career at California State University as an assistant professor for the interior design program. He later became a professor at SCAD’s department of interior design and later served as Chair. After a stint at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Vo returned to SCAD to head its former Hong Kong campus and then served as the institution’s vice president for industry relations.

Vo is a distinguished member of various industry organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Interior Design Educator Council Foundation and was previously an ASID board member from 2017-2019. He has also served as Site Visitor and Co-Chair for the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), and as a member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) for more than a decade.

Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA is committed to achieving broad recognition for the value of design and its significant role in society as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association.

Under her leadership, IIDA sets an agenda that leads the industry in creating community, advancing advocacy, and continuing work toward equity. She is a member of the International WELL Building Institute Governance Council; and a Trustee for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the NYSID. Cheryl was the first recipient of the Interior Design Hall of Fame Leadership Award and is the first Black woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
Sponsored by
  • Momentum Logo WG7 2024
Presented by
  • ASID
  • Wednesday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

Ruth E. Carter, Two-Time Academy-Award Winning Costume Designer
Designing Afrofuturism: The Art of Storytelling in Costume Design

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The world witnessed history, in 2019, as Ruth E. Carter became the first Black woman to win an Oscar for Costume Design. As she graced the Dolby stage in Los Angeles to a standing ovation, Ruth Carter affirmed her voice and devotion to retraining the eye to see beauty through costume design and the creation of Afrofuturism. Igniting a cultural renaissance, Carter’s decades long work in film proves that diversity in design and representation in story matters to audiences. In this keynote, one of the most sought-after costume designers on the globe, takes us on a journey, from concept to creation, to design the Afrofuture and shares how the art of storytelling translates in costume design and the building of worlds.

About

Ruth E. Carter is an American film costume designer best known for turning the Black Panther superhero into an African King. Carter makes history as the first Black person to win the Academy Award for Costume Design and earns Marvel Studios their first Oscar recognition. For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Carter makes history, again, for her outstanding costume design work and becomes the first Black woman to win multiple Academy Awards in any category and the first costume designer to win for the first film and its sequel.

Carter pays tribute to the people of Africa through the costumes in Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She fuses traditional and contemporary while incorporating technology to deliver fashion and function, creating Afrofuturistic pieces that empower the female form, honor ancient cultures, and invoke a deep sense of representation unlike any other costumes experienced on screen. For Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Carter transforms the groundbreaking Afrofuturistic Wakandan looks from the first film and introduces new superheroes and the underwater world of the Talokan into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

She was tasked with creating hundreds of costumes and multiple builds for superhero characters steeped in symbolism and storytelling from two civilizations that battle on land, in air, and underwater. Carter elevates the characters from the first film by adding more brilliance and depth of emotion and culture to the costumes and creates new wearable art with breathtaking pieces that honor post classic Mesoamerican Maya culture for the Indigenous futuristic Talokan. Over three decades in film, television, and theater, Carter has earned seventy credits and collaborated with prolific directors, including Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler. Carter’s costumes based on real and imaginative characters provide an arc to the narratives of African Americans from Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, What's Love Got To Do With It, Amistad, The Butler, Marshall, Selma, Dolemite Is My Name, Coming 2 America to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Carter's outstanding costume design work has been honored with Academy Award nominations for Malcolm X (1993) and Amistad (1998) and an Emmy nomination for the miniseries reboot of Roots (2016). The impact of her career in filmmaking has been recognized with the Costume Designers Guild's Career Achievement Award (2019) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021). She is also a member of the board of governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her costumes serve as an American treasure of history and culture and are on display in a traveling museum exhibition titled “Afrofuturism in Costume Design” and in her recent book “The Art of Ruth E. Carter” - a behind-the-scenes journey in creating the most iconic costumes in filmmaking.

Carter is beloved in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts and was given the key to the city for her achievements and service to the community (2021). She is a graduate of Hampton University, Virginia (HBCU) and most recently served as their commencement speaker and was given the distinction of honorary doctorate. She holds an additional honorary doctorate from Suffolk University, Massachusetts.

Introduction and Q&A by Sharon Samuels

Sharon M. Samuels, AIA, NOMA, IATSE, is a Chicago based Art Director, Architect, Designer and Artist.

In 2015, after an almost twenty-year stint practicing architecture, Sharon expanded her career to design for film and television. During her architecture career, Sharon worked on a variety of projects from single-family residential to multi-million-dollar mixed use projects mainly within the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Sharon has been recognized nationally for both her design work and her contributions to the architecture and design profession over the years.

To date, she has worked in a variety of roles within Art Departments on television shows and feature films. Like many architecture nerds, she started as a set designer drawing “way too much.” Sharon now works mainly as an Art Director, both in Chicago and nationwide. In 2017, she took a producing turn with the (very) short film “Inside the Box: The Story of Boxville” which was a finalist in the 2017 I Look Up Film Festival sponsored by the American Institute of Architects.

In 2023, Sharon established blprint359, a media company that will produce original content for screens (large and small) and print. She continues her work in the Architecture field as a consultant for Beehyyve Collective, a design, engineering and construction firm based in Chicago.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
Presented by
  • AIA Chicago RED BLACK CMYK 01

Featured Presentations

  • Monday, June 10, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

IIDA Collective Design LIVE: The Future of Experience

IIDA
Speakers
  • Lauren Rottet, FIIDA
    President and Founding Principal, Rottet Studio

  • Upali Nanda
    Global Sector Director, Innovation, HKS

  • Brian Graham, IIDA
    Founder and Creative Director, Graham Design

  • Lori Mukoyama, IIDA
    Global Leader of Hospitality and Principal, Gensler

Moderator
  • Mark Bryan
    Senior Foresight Manager, Future Today Institute

How is experiential design changing the face of design at large, and how will experience intersect and empower the future of design and designers? IIDA’s once-a-year live episode of our Collective Design series brings you top minds in design who approach experiential design through a variety of lenses, from neuroscience to hospitality to future forecasting — all in a thought-provoking, deep dive exploration of a topic that will shape not only our design work, but our lives. This roll-up-your-sleeves companion program to IIDA’s keynote will provide the ideas you need to embrace what’s next for design and your business.

About

Lauren Rottet is a highly accomplished architect, interior designer, furniture designer and art curator with an extraordinary record of awards, publications, lectures, juries and honors. She is the Founding Principal of Rottet Studio, an international architecture and interior design firm, and is the only woman in history to be elevated to Fellow status by both the American Institute of Architects and International Interior Design Association. She also holds the titles of Interior Design Hall of Fame, Interiors Designer of the Year, Boutique Design’s Designer of the Year, and Hospitality Design Platinum Circle inductee. Ms. Rottet’s furniture and product designs have earned her four gold medals for Best of NeoCon and a Chicago Athenaeum Award. Her new furniture company, Rottet Collection, was introduced in 2017 and was met with rave reviews garnering significant awards including an Interior Design Best of Year.

Rottet Studio is consistently ranked among the corporate and hospitality Top 100 Design Giants and recognized as one of the Top 3 Most Admired Design Firms in the World by a jury of our peer professionals. The firm has an extensive portfolio of corporate, hospitality, residential and maritime projects for the world’s leading companies and brands, including: Goldman Sachs, Disney, Viacom, New York Stock Exchange, United Talent Agency, Paul Hastings, Kirkland & Ellis, Target, NW Mutual, Comcast, Hines, Howard Hughes Company, Langham, Brookfield, Loews, DHG, Valencia, BGI, Extell, JMB, Four Seasons, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Belmond, Wheelock Viking and more.

Among her colleagues, Ms. Rottet is known as an innovator and teacher, devoting significant time to the advancement of the profession of design and architecture.

Dr. Upali Nanda is the Global Sector Director, Innovation at HKS. Based in Detroit, Upali has extensive experience leading research projects in design practice with a focus on the impact of design on human health and perception. She is executive director of Center for Advanced Design Research and Evaluation, or CADRE, the research arm of HKS, and teaches as the Associate Professor of Practice at the Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Michigan.

Brian Graham is the founder and creative director of Graham Design, a studio that specializes in contemporary furniture and related products for the workplace and healthcare markets. With over 30 years of experience in design and architecture, Brian has a strategic approach that combines planning, research, and creativity to deliver solutions that meet the needs and expectations of his clients and end users.

Brian is also an advocate and advisor for the design industry, collaborating with leading manufacturers, associations, and publications to promote the value and impact of design. He has received multiple awards and recognition from prestigious organizations such as AIA, IIDA, IDSA, IFMA, and The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design. His mission is to create products that are functional, beautiful, and sustainable, and that enhance the quality of life and work for people.

Lori Mukoyama is a global leader of Gensler’s Hospitality practice and Design Director based in the firm’s Chicago office. She has led numerous successful branding and interiors projects throughout her 20+ years in the industry, playing an integral role in the design of some of the most successful and award-winning hospitality spaces across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Lori’s energetic approach to shaping aesthetic moves beyond form-and-function interiors to incorporate brand strategy and consumer engagement tactics. She has partnered with a diverse portfolio of clients to champion the creation of experience-driven environments that deliver on their vision and goals — this, paired with her forefront knowledge of future trends, has been essential in influencing the business strategies of major corporations.

Moderated by Mark Bryan.

Mark Bryan is a Senior Foresight Manager at the Future Today Institute and leads our Built Environment, Hospitality, Retail, Restaurants & CPG practice. Prior to FTI, Mark worked as a workplace strategist, designer and design researcher, and futurist for clients all across the country, most recently through his role as Director of Innovation + Research and Senior Interior Designer at Ohio-based MA Design.

Mark’s portfolio of clients includes national retail brands, higher education institutions, non-profits, multi-family developers, and large corporate clients. Working with his clients, Mark brings an understanding of the principles of psychology, culture, and human behavior that can shape and change the future.

Mark has authored several whitepapers and developed research surrounding what leaders need to know about for the future of workplace culture. Mark is also certified by the University of California, Berkeley, in using resiliency to combat stress at work. Mark is a Board Member of the IIDA (International Interior Designer Association) Equity Council, an NCIDQ Certified Senior Interior Designer, and 2022 40 Under 40 Winner. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Virginia Tech University and is certified by the Institute for the Future as a trained foresight practitioner.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
Presented by
  • IIDA
  • Monday, June 10, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

Offices for the New Work Reality

Revised Head Shots 1
SPEAKERS
  • Eva Greene
    Director of Client Experience, Cresset Capital

  • Kate Davis
    Global Practice Director, Commercial Interiors, HKS

  • Jason Hall
    Creative Director, Charlie Greene Studio

  • Sarah Silva
    Vice President, Tenant Representation, JLL

  • Paul Tokarz
    Partner, WestPoint Financial Group

MODERATOR
  • Jan Parr
    Contributor, Crain's Chicago Business

Occupancy in downtown Chicago offices is hovering at just over 55%. Hybrid models of work—with employees working from home part time and at an office part time—seem to be here to stay. They also present challenges in designing offices. Come hear from designers, executives in the trenches and leasing agents who have a bird’s-eye view into making (or remaking) spaces that reflect the nature of work today. Find out what has worked—and what hasn’t—in encouraging employees to come back to the office. (Hint: It’s more complicated than installing a ping-pong table.)

About

Speakers:

Eva Greene leads iniatives that aim to enhance the firm’s client experience as the Director of Client Experience for Cresset. Eva’s role is to manage the voice of customer/client program from survey design/launch, data analysis and feedback implementation. With nearly 20 Cresset office locations across the country, Eva collaborates with Cresest’s Office Experience team to deliver a consistent and signature guest experience nationwide. Eva also manages the firmwide client gifting strategy to ensure the delight factor for Cresset clients is brought to life. Eva is also a leader within the firm in organizing local and national philanthropic efforts as part of Cresset’s corporate social responsibility program.

Before joining Cresset in 2017, Eva was the regional Marketing Events Coordinator for Boston Consulting Group. This role included organizing all aspects of client event coordination from event conceptualization, stakeholder management/communications, venue selection/management, budget tracking, guest list management and post-event follow ups. Prior to this role Eva was part of BCG's Business Services Team supporting two senior partners with calendar management, travel arrangements & project management.

Outside of work, Eva enjoys spending time with her family in Chicago, along with practicing and teaching yoga, reading and cooking.

Kate Davis has been a pioneer in taking a systems approach to thinking about the future of work. She focuses on what clients need to maintain productivity; how organizations can be more resilient; and how a future-focused approach can position them for long-term prosperity. She is an adherent of the philosophy that “work is what we do – not where we do it” which allows her to lead clients in reimagining the link between business goals, real estate strategies, employee health and satisfaction and adopting a work ecosystem that meets their changing needs.

In her 20 plus years of practice, Kate has amassed broad expertise through all project phases, from discovery, strategic real estate analysis, programming and space planning to project and construction management. She led the design of the HKS Chicago office which serves as a living lab where she and her team constantly test, evaluate and evolve the work environment to make it healthier, more energy efficient and more productive. The office is also notable for its LEED and WELL Gold certifications in the context of a historic, repositioned building.

In her role as global practice leader for the Commercial Interiors team, Kate leads clients toward transformational workplaces, contributes to research and thought leadership. She believes in taking an integrated approach to interior design bringing together interior designers, architects, environmental graphic designers, researchers, anthropologists, and more to create places that delight, heal, and stimulate peak performance. Her work leads to design with measurable impact.

Based in Chicago, Kate is an HKS shareholder and member of the HKS Shareholders Advisory Group. She is a sought-after industry voice on topics ranging from design for creativity, the agile workplace to the future of work.

Jason Hall founded Charlie Greene Studio in 2013 after spending the previous eighteen years at large international design firms. As Creative Director at CGS, he works to bolster the performance of organizations by developing solutions that integrate people, place, and process. His experience encompasses a broad range of project types and sizes, bringing unique expertise to his clients. Regardless of scale, all of Jason’s projects begin with a strategic mindset, careful planning, and a focus on spatial storytelling.

Sarah Silva serves as a Vice President on the JLL Chicago Tenant Representation team. She advises clients of all sizes, from single location offices to businesses with a global portfolio. Sarah’s expertise is aligning business strategy with real estate by supporting the full life cycle of real estate decisions.

Sarah brings over 10 years of real estate strategy and execution experience globally. She optimized portfolio performance for a Fortune 100 company spanning 200+ locations, 18 million square feet, and 78 countries resulting in client savings of over $40 million over three years. Sarah has assisted countless Chicago-based clients to optimize their portfolio through business strategy alignment. Her strong belief of putting the right teams together from design to construction, along with process -driven solutions and communication helps her clients’ transactions move smoothly.

Paul Tokarz, ChFC, AIF, is a Partner with WestPoint Financial Group. Paul’s vision has always been to help clients by implementing comprehensive financial strategies, advisory asset management and risk management strategies.

“Every client I work with wants: Fairness, Integrity, Honesty and Knowledge with unique and robust opportunities” says Paul. “It starts with listening and implementing what’s important to each client.”

Paul’s blue-collar upbringing has instilled in him the work ethic foundation to have one of the quickest starts of anyone amongst his peer group in the industry. “I’ve been lucky to have two parents have two jobs each growing up, have a brother become a police officer and my sister become a public-school teacher,” he says. “Seeing firsthand their ability to never quit is what drives me to make an impact in as many lives as possible.”

Paul’s passion for helping others extends beyond WestPoint Financial Group. He is actively involved in the community, and wholeheartedly believes in giving both time and money to causes he supports. Paul is particularly interested in education for disadvantaged youth, helping families and children who have gone through life-changing events and helping those with special needs.

Paul holds the Charted Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designation, the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation, is a member of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriters (AALU), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and holds the following FINRA licenses: Series 7, Series 65, Series 6, Series 63 and Series 24. He resides in Western Springs, Illinois with his wife, Keriann, their daughter Toby, their son Isadore “Izzy” and their cocker spaniel, Nugget.

Moderated by Jan Parr.

Jan Parr has been creating quality content for magazines and the web for more than 30 years. Most recently, she was assistant managing editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, where she created the publication’s popular “Coolest Offices” feature. She is now a contributor to Crain’s and an adjust instructor at Northwestern’s Medilll School of Journalism. A longtime editor at Chicago magazine, she became a specialist in start-ups, founding three magazines for the city brand: Chicago Home + Garden, Chicago Shops, and Chicago Visitor. Jan created Chicago magazine’s first online blog, Design Dose. She also founded Online Investor magazine, a consumer publication; Dividends, a custom publication for Staples small-business customers; and was on the start-up team for Connect-Time, a magazine newspaper insert instructing readers about what was then the fledgling world of the Internet. Jan was a reporter for Forbes in its Chicago bureau and news editor of Crain’s Electronic Media. She is the author of three books, including Chicago Spaces: Inspiring Interiors, as well as two titles for young adults: The Young Vegetarian’s Companion and Amelia Earhart: First Lady of Flight. Her byline has appeared in many national and local publications.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
Presented by
  • CCB stacked logo 2023
  • Monday, June 10, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • The Grand Stair, FL 2

Meet Us On Monday: IIDA's Celebration on The Grand Stair

IIDA Cheryl
Speaker
  • Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA
    Executive Vice President and CEO, IIDA

Join IIDA as we recognize design’s young talent on THE MART's Grand Stair with a high-energy afternoon that will include a mini-documentary screening featuring IIDA’s Design Your World pathway program and its success in building grassroots diversity in design; a “deconstructed” panel discussion with design leaders, IIDA scholarship winners, and plenty of audience participation; and IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst on the mic! We’re going bigger and better this year for a fun, surprising meet-up on the stairs that is the best way to spend an afternoon at NeoCon. (Hint: Join us afterward as we toast IIDA’s 30th Anniversary at Marshall’s Landing with THE MART!)

About

Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA is committed to achieving broad recognition for the value of design and its significant role in society as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association.

Under her leadership, IIDA sets an agenda that leads the industry in creating community, advancing advocacy, and continuing work toward equity. She is a member of the International WELL Building Institute Governance Council; and a Trustee for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the NYSID. Cheryl was the first recipient of the Interior Design Hall of Fame Leadership Award and is the first Black woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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Presented by
  • IIDA
  • Tuesday, June 11, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

Diversity in Practice

Diversity Head Shot
Speakers
  • Jason Pugh, AIA, AICP, NOMA, LEED AP
    Global Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Design Manager, Principal, Gensler

  • Ronnie Belizaire, FIIDA, RID
    Studio Practice Leader | Principal, HKS | President 2023-24, IIDA International Board

  • Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
    Chief Executive Officer, New York Studio, Adjaye Associates | NOMA Global President 2023-2024

Moderator
  • Joseph Cephas
    Senior Vice President, Novità Communications

Progressing from making public statements to enacting practical equity programs is essential in creating a more diverse environment. Novità Senior Vice President Joseph Cephas leads a panel of design leaders as they explore strategies that go beyond the rhetoric to make firms and the projects they produce more inclusive. With a focus on creating tangible, measurable results, the discussion will examine how diversity initiatives can lead to positive change.

About

Speakers:

Jason Pugh promotes Gensler’s commitment to its Strategies to Fight Racism while furthering the firm’s efforts to address unique challenges within each region and community through a global perspective as the Global Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. He is passionate about helping develop underserved communities and the next generation of designers and architects, while remaining connected to our clients and design work.

A Principal based in Gensler’s Chicago office, Jason manages projects that engage the community at-large, leading them from schematic community-based master plans through full construction. His portfolio includes master planning programs centered on cultural connectivity, public transit, and mixed-use development along with architectural projects spanning hospitality, commercial office and retail, residential, science research labs, and large university campus medical facilities across the country. He is driven by the belief that one project can change a community, and if we change enough communities, we can change the world.

Jason’s leadership is exemplified through his involvement as a co-Chair of Gensler’s Global Race and Diversity Committee, as well as his work with external organizations, including serving as the 2021-2022 National President of the National Organization of Minority Architects and sitting on Chicago’s Executive Board for the ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Mentor Program.

Ronnie Belizaire is an accomplished project executive renowned for her work with various companies, including several Fortune 500 corporations, where she has played a pivotal role in transforming organizations through design. Her expertise spans architecture, interior design, branded environments, master planning, real estate development, diversity and inclusion, ESG, capital planning, and client relationships. With an extensive portfolio covering nearly 500 acres and over 5 million square feet of architectural, interiors, and industrial projects across North America, Belizaire is a passionate advocate for equitable and inclusive practices in the built environment.

A proud graduate of both Florida A&M and Florida State Universities, Ronnie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and MBA from FAMU, along with a Master of Science in Interior Design from FSU. Currently, she serves on the Advisory Board for the Interior Architecture & Design Program at FSU.

In addition, Ronnie has dedicated her time to the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), where she served as the IIDA Georgia Chapter President from 2013-2014 and as the IIDA Foundation Chair from 2017-2019. Since 2019, she has been an active contributor on IIDA's International Board of Directors and currently holds the position of President. Beyond her professional roles, Ronnie actively engages with the community through volunteer work, driven by her aspiration to promote goodwill through the transformative power of design.

Meet Pascale Sablan, a visionary architect with an impressive track record of transforming the built environment. Pascale has been recognized as one of the most influential architects of her generation, with a practice characterized by a commitment to excellence, innovation, and sustainability. She currently serves as the NOMA Global President and Chief Executive Officer at Adjaye Associates, New York Studio in charge of all operations, whilst continuing to lead efforts for architectural projects, community engagement and business development.

Pascale's achievements are numerous, including being the 315th living African-American woman registered architect in the United States. She is an activist architect who has made it her mission to address the inequitable disparities in architecture. In pursuit of this goal, she founded the Beyond the Built Environment organization, which has become a beacon for women and BIPOC designers seeking to make their mark on the field.

As the Global President of the National Organization of Minority Architects, Pascale has become a trailblazer in the industry. She is the fifth woman to hold this prestigious position in the organization's 52-year legacy, a testament to her unwavering commitment to progress.
Pascale's advocacy efforts have earned her numerous accolades, including the Architectural League 2021 Emerging Voices award and the 2021 AIA Whitney M. Young. Jr Award. She has also been inducted into the AIA College of Fellows, the youngest African American to receive this honor in the organization's 167-year history. Additionally, Pascale has received the Graham Foundation Grant and the Architects Foundation Grant for her research and exhibitions with affiliated programming.

Pascale's influence extends far beyond the United States. She has given lectures at colleges and universities nationally and globally, including prestigious institutions like the RIBA, the United Nations, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

In the media, Pascale has been described as a "powerhouse woman" and a "rarely missed opportunity to note the importance of the connection between the professionals conceiving and constructing our environments and the people they should serve." Her work has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, and Forbes magazine, and she was recognized by Oprah's Future Rising platform for Black trailblazers.

Pascale's educational background includes a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. With her unique perspective, unwavering dedication, and undeniable talent, Pascale Sablan is poised to continue shaping the future of architecture for years to come.

Moderated by Joseph Cephas.

Joseph Cephas is a public relations, communications, and branding leader who has spent the better part of two decades shepherding companies to new heights. An experienced and sought-after public speaker, Cephas specializes in developing, implementing, and integrating strategic communications plans that advance brand identity while adhering to values essential to each business.

As Senior Vice President of Novita Communications, a position he began in early 2020, Cephas has been instrumental in establishing high-level growth strategies and securing new business. Cephas previously served as the Vice President, Communications & Brand Experience for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), where he was integral to the association’s evolution. His accomplishments include creating a digital strategy that resulted in a significant increase in membership in one year and forming advantageous relationships with various organizations and associations, such as Emerald, crucial to increasing ASID’s presence and its access to members at industry conferences. In addition, he completely revamped the association’s national website, along with 46-chapter websites, increasing functionality and modernizing the messaging. Prior to ASID, Cephas served as Vice President of Public Affairs to a leading national trade association.

A key figure and advocate for diversity, Cephas’ thoughtful, research and knowledge-based approach to disseminating information and advocating for change has rendered him invaluable to the industry and raised the firm’s profile.

Cephas has won two ASAE Gold Circle awards for an ASID National campaign and was a finalist in PR News’ Black Pioneer Award in 2021. As a thought leader in the design and PR industries, he served on the health equity advisory for International Well Building Institute (IWBI) and was an advisor in the creation of PR Net’s BIPOC Mentorship program, where he also served as a career development mentor to BIPOC students. He is a frequent featured speaker and moderator on panels and speaking engagements, on topics that range from how designers can get published, to PR in the 21st century, and diversity in design. Joseph holds a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications & Media Studies from PennWest Edinboro University.

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  • Tuesday, June 11, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

How Generative AI is Changing Design

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SPEAKERS
  • Lori Mukoyama, IIDA
    Global Leader of Hospitality and Principal, Gensler

  • Scott Wilson
    Founder, CEO/CCO, MNML

  • Rotimi Solola
    Partner & Industrial Design Director, SO Dsgn | Branding & Industrial Design

MODERATOR
  • Mark Wilson
    Global Design Editor, Fast Company

From Dall-E to Midjourney to Sora, a new wave of generative AI tools have arrived to shake up design. Panelists spanning architecture to industrial design will unpack how they’re using gen AI in their practice today, and how they see it impacting the industry within the next few years.

About

A Design Principal, Lori Mukoyama has led numerous successful branding and interiors projects throughout her 20+ years in the industry, playing an integral role in the design of some of the most successful and award-winning hospitality spaces across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Lori’s energetic approach to shaping aesthetic moves beyond form-and-function interiors to incorporate brand strategy and consumer engagement tactics. She has partnered with a diverse portfolio of clients to champion the creation of experience-driven environments that deliver on their vision and goals—this, paired with her forefront knowledge of future trends, has been essential in influencing the business strategies of major corporations.

Scott Wilson,
the founder and Chief Creative Officer of MNML, embodies the visionary spirit of innovation by continuously embracing change and the transformative potential of new technologies in design. From the early adoption of 3D CAD in the '90s to the user customization experience at NIKEiD to sparking crowdfunding with the first $1m Kickstarter campaign, inspiring designers and entrepreneurs globally, Wilson's journey is marked by an open-minded exploration of what's next. With the onset of AI-assisted design, Wilson sees the potential not just for efficiency but also for a broader opportunity to amplify creative possibilities through collaboration with AI and to broaden and accelerate a generalist designer’s knowledge base and skills. Leading MNML through 17 years of industry-defining success, Wilson’s career is a testament to his belief in the power of embracing technological shifts to redefine the boundaries of design and innovation. His accolades, including recognition from TIME Magazine and FastCompany as one of the Most Influential Designers and Most Creative People in Business, as well as the prestigious National Design Award from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, underscore his impact as a leader who continually looks beyond the horizon, ready to explore and integrate the next leap forward.

Rotimi Solola, acclaimed industrial designer and co-founder of SO Dsgn— a Chicago-based branding & industrial design studio. having taught at Northwestern and UIC Solola demonstrates his commitment to mentorship and design education. With a background in Motorola's Consumer Experience Design team, Solola offers invaluable insights into product development. Engaged in public lectures, design judging, and mentoring, he's a catalyst for innovation in the tech and design spheres.

Moderated by Mark Wilson.

Mark Wilson is the Global Design Editor at Fast Company, where he’s written about the intersection of design and business for over a decade. With a particular focus on companies of scale, he’s profiled many of the biggest names in design and reported from inside secretive design studios of companies including Nike, Google, Target, PepsiCo, Taco Bell, and Microsoft.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
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  • Tuesday, June 11, 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

BIFMA + ACT | Fits Like a Glove: The Perfect Pairing of Textiles and Furniture

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Speakers
  • Shantel McGowan
    VP of Design, Textiles, Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering

  • Andrea Nelson
    Principal Designer | Colors, Materials, and Finishes, Industrial Design Studio, Haworth

  • Maggie Keilhauer
    Product Manager, Keilhauer

Moderator
  • Megan Skaalen
    Senior Principal and Workplace Studio Leader, SmithGroup

Join the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) and the Association of Contract Textiles (ACT) as they bring you this moderated discussion among industry textile and furniture trend-setters focusing on textiles’ influential role in furniture product design and performance. Topics will include textile design inspiration; innovations in materials, technology, and sustainability; application considerations and challenges; and incorporating client expectations into the development process.

About

Speakers:

Andrea Nelson, Principal Designer of Colors, Materials, and Finishes (CMF) at Haworth, has more than a decade of experience in the commercial furniture industry. Throughout her career, Andrea has applied her interior architecture and industrial design knowledge to approach material, application, and product integration on a holistic level. With her keen eye for details, trends, sustainable practices, and her deep understanding of materials' tactile and visual impact, she curates finishes that not only meet functional and performance requirements but also evoke a sensorial response. Whether designing fabrics with tactile allure, championing sustainable sourcing, or crafting designs that embody a timeless and engaging aesthetic, Andrea creates work that is a testament to the transformative power of conscientious CMF design in commercial spaces.

Shantel McGowan, Vice President of Design for Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering, is passionate about designing textiles for commercial interiors. With a career dedicated to creating innovative and sustainable textiles, she has significantly influenced the industry by pushing boundaries with new materials. Shantel's leadership has garnered accolades, including multiple products in the permanent collection of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The award-winning design team under her guidance has achieved distinctions such as the Best of Neocon and Interior Design's Best of Year Award.

Maggie Keilhauer is the Product Manager at Keilhauer, where she currently oversees the launch and management of the company's product and textile offerings. Since joining Keilhauer in 2017, she has managed the launches of many award-winning products, Keilhauer's new branding, and countless textiles and partner cards. Before becoming Product Manager, she managed the marketing for all of Keilhauer's brands, overseeing showrooms, media, and marketing materials. Maggie has a passion for design through collaboration and creativity.

Moderated by Megan Skaalen.

Megan Skaalen is a Senior Principal and Workplace Studio Leader at SmithGroup in San Diego. She is passionate about building authentic relationships, creating compelling narratives and facilitating creative partnerships. Drawing from her studio art, management, and interior design background, she approaches opportunities with the creativity of an artist and lens of a strategic business partner. Megan’s passion extends beyond design – she hosts the “Peaks and Valleys” panel series engaging remarkable individuals in leadership and storytelling discussions. Megan actively challenges and supports her team in creating remarkable environments that inspire, empower, and delight, all while remaining true to her core values of excellence, intention, and humor.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
Presented by
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  • Tuesday, June 11, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

ASID | 2024 Trends Outlook

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Speakers
  • Margi Kaminski
    Principal, Director of Health Interiors, CannonDesign

  • Julia Calabrese
    Associate Director of Strategy & Design, IA Interior Architects

  • Leah Bauer
    Global Director of Design and Sustainability, Workday

  • S. Dawn Haynie, Ph.D.
    Research Fellow, ASID

Moderator
  • Khoi Vo
    CEO, ASID

The American Society of Interior Designers has catalogued the latest ways we live, work, play, learn and heal. Join us for a discussion of the latest trends impacting interior design. Hear from Khoi Vo, ASID CEO and leading industry designers, as they discuss the impact of these current trends on commercial design – the hybrid workplace and the desire to encourage connection, cross-specialty and the interconnectedness of sustainability and wellness, adaptive re-use and the repositioning of older buildings, and new strategies in digital marketing given AI algorithms.

About

Speakers:

Margi Kaminski, ASID, CLBG, NCIDQ supports market initiatives and strategy as co-director of CannonDesign’s Health Interiors Practice, focusing on business growth and client engagement. With over 30 years’ experience in practice, she has led a wide range of notable projects for many of the healthcare industry’s leading systems such as Kaiser Permanente, Northwestern Medicine, and Penn State Health to name a few.

Margi brings the team fresh design perspectives and trends that are transforming the industry’s understanding of caring and wellness environments. Her work is characterized by a strong aesthetic sensibility tempered by a deep understanding of operational and functional concerns; Margi is a certified Lean Green Belt. From public spaces to patient rooms, the use of natural light or the application of rapidly renewable materials, she works with the design team as well as end-users to create spaces that work, inspire, and adapt.

“Connecting people and ideas to the healthcare environment through empathy, inspiration, and design – that’s what I consider my life’s work. Creating spaces that promote health and well-being is my passion and working with like-minded clients that want to explore the impact of design on the healthcare environment is what inspires me to reach higher.”

She is a frequent speaker at leading healthcare industry conferences and has been the recipient of design awards from ASID, Contract Magazine, and The Chicago Atheneum. In 2019, the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, awarded Margi their “Member of Distinction,” the chapter’s highest honor. She is actively involved in student career development and has participated in many events that support and mentor on a local and national level. In addition, Margi was recently named to the National Board of Directors of ASID.

Julia Calabrese is an Associate Director of Strategy and Design at Interior Architects, an award-winning global interior design and architecture firm. In this role, Julia is responsible for crafting immersive brand experiences that keep the physical and psychological needs of users at the forefront. She has a high level of experiential design expertise and has worked with notable clients including Ford, Lincoln, Cadillac, GMC, Walt Disney, and many others. Most recently, Julia was the Global Design Manager of Workplace and Retail at the Ford Motor Company.

Julia is a published, award-winning, and multi-disciplinary designer. In February of 2023, NASA invited her to consult on their organizational systems and complex problem-solving initiatives. Interior Design Magazine has recognized her design work as a 2022 “Best of Year” project, and she was named a 40-under-40 Innovator in the category of retail design by Retail Touchpoints. In 2022 Julia was selected as an “Ones-to-Watch” Scholar by the American Society of Interior Design.

Leah Bauer, ASID, IIDA, IFMA, NCIDQ is the Global Design and Sustainability Director at Workday, a global interior architectural design leader who has played an integral role in a wide variety of commercial projects including corporate, research and lab planning, workplace strategy, hospitality, and healthcare. Leah excels at connecting great design with vision and budget to deliver world-class solutions. In her current role, she is leading the Global Workplace and Sustainability Strategy for Workday. Leah is involved with many organizations, including IFMA, as the Hospitality Council Vice President as well as with ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) as the Northern California Chapter President and the National Professional Development Chair. A champion of life-long learning, Leah shares her knowledge through mentoring, guest lecturing, writing, and presenting. She has a unique approach to her designs and delivering successful award-winning projects.

Dr. Dawn Haynie offers a distinctive, interdisciplinary approach to design. She has almost 30 years of experience as a researcher, practitioner, and educator across the disciplines of interiors, architecture, urban and graphic design in both the commercial and residential market sectors. Her work combines research-based strategies with the lessons learned though her years of professional practice to enhance spatial and user experience. Dr. Haynie has a Ph.D. in Architecture, Culture, & Behavior from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University. Her research has been published and presented internationally, and she was recognized by ULI Atlanta in their inaugural 2020 class of The Leaders. She is passionate about the power of design, and she believes an interdisciplinary, research-based approach enriches results.

Moderated by Khoi Vo.

Khoi Vo, IIDA, CIDA, IDEC, IDECF brings more than 20 years of experience across the worlds of interior design, architecture, and education. Most recently a leader at the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Vo has touched the design world for nearly two decades as both a designer and an educator. In 2002, he founded Studio Four Los Angeles, where he worked as the design director and designed and sold architectural products. He later founded Khoi Vo Design and operated as the studio’s design director for 12 years and oversaw all phases of the firm’s projects. Vo began his career at California State University as an assistant professor for the interior design program. He later became a professor at SCAD’s department of interior design and later served as Chair. After a stint at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Vo returned to SCAD to head its former Hong Kong campus and then served as the institution’s vice president for industry relations.

Vo is a distinguished member of various industry organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Interior Design Educator Council Foundation and was previously an ASID board member from 2017-2019. He has also served as Site Visitor and Co-Chair for the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), and as a member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) for more than a decade.

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Recording will be available on neocon.com
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  • Wednesday, June 12, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CDT
  • NeoCon Presentation Studio, FL 2

Designing A Better Chicago: A Conversation with 2024 Grantees

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Speakers
  • Hye Seon Park
    Community Engagement Coordinator, HANA Chicago Center

  • Jordan Campbell
    Founder, Director, Alt Space Chicago

  • Natalie Perkins
    Senior Steward, NeighborSpace

Moderator
  • Monica Rickert-Bolter
    Center for Natives Futures

Designing a Better Chicago shines a light on our city’s extraordinary design legacy — the local talent, assets and community that have long supported civic good through design. Launched in 2020, this initiative showcases individuals and organizations, public art and programs across the city, inviting residents and visitors to consider the many ways design improves civic life. Join the new 2024 grant winners as they discuss their work, the impact they are making on Chicago, and lessons they have learned along the way.

About

Speakers:

Hye Seon Park is community engagement coordinator at HANA Chicago Center, where she builds the power of Korean, Asian American, and multiethnic immigrant communities in Chicagoland through social services, education, culture, and community organizing to advance human rights. The vision for HANA Center is to work to build a world in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and marginalized communities are working together to support vulnerable people and transform cultures, power relationships, systems, and policies to achieve racial, economic, and social justice for all.

Jordan Campbell is the driving force behind the creative energy that pulses through Alt Space Chicago. With a passion for innovation and an eye for design, Jordan has transformed Alt Space into a thriving hub for artists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries alike. Although Jordan wasn’t born or raised in the Windy City, Jordan's passion for Chicago's vibrant culture and history has greatly influenced Alt Space's mission. He believes in harnessing the city's rich artistic heritage while pushing boundaries to explore the frontiers of creativity through art, faith and community.

Natalie Perkins is a vibrant community advocate committed to helping neighborhoods discover the beauty and potential of built community through enhanced green and public programming. She has worked diligently in the last eight years as the volunteer education Coordinator at the South Merrill Community Garden, providing inclusive, experiential and exciting programmatic activation for the garden community. Currently Natalie works as a senior steward for NeighborSpace urban land trust.

Moderated by Monica Rickert-Bolter.

Monica Rickert-Bolter is a Chicago-based visual artist of Potawatomi and Black heritage. Her artwork uses traditional mediums, such as charcoal and pastels, graphic design, and digital coloring to create expressive characters and tell diverse stories. After her undergrad, Monica became involved with Native nonprofits, combining her love of art and education to develop youth programs and resources, including illustrating children’s books. She advocates for cultural representation and serves as a consultant for various institutions and organizations. Monica is a co-founder and the Director of Operations at the Center for Native Futures, a Native fine arts gallery that opened in September 2023. Her artwork has been featured in exhibitions at The National Museum of the American Indian, The Field Museum, and the University of North Carolina Stone Center. Also, she will be collaborating on a public art piece with the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights.

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