ChapterLeaders Breakfast

2018 IIDA Leaders Breakfast Recap

Posted on: September 11, 2018

Post Image


On September 7, the International Interior Design Association of Northern California (IIDA NC) hosted the 2018 Leaders Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. This event is an annual IIDA international series that celebrates design’s importance in the global marketplace by honoring the people who are both the legacy and future of design. The event features a renowned keynote speaker to provoke and encourage new ideas and recognizes local honorees who have made significant contributions to the design industry.

Chapter President Doug Wittnebel, Gensler Principal, kicked off the program by recognizing two individuals and bestowing the Distinguished Achievement Award to Barbara Carlyle, Founding Partner of CRI & Pivot Interiors Board Member, and the Leadership Award of Excellence to Bill Van Erp, Resource Director at Gensler.

Barbara Carlyle accepted the award with gratitude and shared her personal story around battling health issues. A true warrior both personally and professionally, she talked about the support from her team during the economic downturn and the company being able to persevere.

Barbara Carlyle’s career as a business owner spans more than 30 years. She is a born risk-taker with an entrepreneurial passion. Her first company CRI San Jose was started in her kitchen in 1987. It went on to become one of Silicon Valley’s leading office furniture dealers. In 1999 the company reinvented itself through a merger with a local competitor, Space Designs. The new company was named Pivot Interiors. Over the past 18 years, Barbara and her partners have expanded Pivot from 1 location to 6 locations in California: Santa Clara, San Francisco, Fremont, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, and La Mirada.

Before retiring in December 2016, Barbara led the Sales and Marketing teams in Northern California. Her signature high energy, enthusiasm and dedication to customer satisfaction have resulted in long-term friendships with many clients. She remains on the Board of Directors at Pivot and is still the Executive Sponsor for many clients.

Presented by Gensler’s Collin Burry, Bill Van Erp received the Leadership of Excellence award, including a special edition Herman Miller stool, an award he said was for all in the room… except for the stool, he’s keeping that for himself! The recent retiree expressed his gratitude to those in the room from the designers to the vendors, that’s he’s been able to work with during his 35 years at the firm.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Bill kick-started his career as a librarian for Environmental Planning & Research, Inc. in 1979. Three years later, Bill made the move to Gensler where he put his master’s degree in library science to use. Bill’s responsibilities during his tenure included daily coordination with a dozen full-time resource directors across the firm to bring each client’s vision to life. In his work at Gensler, Bill has found the relationship between the specifiers and the manufacturers to be paramount.

IIDA CEO Cheryl Durst welcomed this year’s featured speaker August de los Reyes. Not before noting that the San Francisco Bay Area and its design community is a safe haven, a bubble, from the outside world and an incubator for activism. We couldn’t agree more!

Our keynote speaker, August is a designer, writer, and educator who helped pioneer Inclusive Design in the technology sector. August was recently appointed as the Director of User Experience, Search and Assistant at Google. He was formerly the Head of Design at Pinterest where he helped inspire millions of people around the world to discover and do the things they love. Prior to Pinterest, he worked at Microsoft where he led design for Xbox and helped break ground in natural user interface.

As he tells it, August “sees the entire world through the lens of design.” His inspiring keynote detailed his career and quest for universal and inclusive design. After suffering a fall, fracturing is spine and an unfathomable communication error by the hospital treating him, August became paralyzed and unable to walk. “Inventions brought on by disabilities are born out of love,” August addressed to the crowd. Through his career and experiences, August sincerely believes that by connecting, informing, observing and engaging one another, designers can mark a path to designing human wellbeing. We certainly hope so and share in his beliefs.

Until next year, thank for joining us at another inspiring Leaders Breakfast event! Missed the 2017 event? Check out that recap here.

We acknowledge with deep gratitude the support of the 2018 IIDA Leaders Breakfast Series International Benefactors and for the generous support of our 2018 Northern California Chapter Patrons.

Photography courtesy of Sam Breach –

Posted in: ChapterLeaders Breakfast

One thought on "2018 IIDA Leaders Breakfast Recap"

  1. Dave delaChevrotiere says:

    Very nice recap of the day’s event. Thanks!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up
iida nc