We spent a bit of time with our favourite Herman Miller healthcare rep this week. As usual the conversation was a bunch of fun underpinned with thoughtfulness and a bit of surprise.
Can you tell me about your background, what did you take in school, and where did you work before?
I came from an interior design, project management and contracts background. I went to University for Interior Design and Accounting. Previously, I have worked for Kasian Edmonton and Vancouver, Dialog, Stantec, and owned my own practice.
What did you learn from your past work experience that is helping you succeed at Herman Miller/COI?
Past experiences have helped in client and design relationships, as well as project management and construction progression. When you are able to speak the same 'language' as the stakeholders in a project, it helps smooth the process, align expectations, and understand the values and best outcome for all.
What brought you to Herman Miller/COI and what do you enjoy most about your job?
I came to Herman Miller, because I understood the power of design to transform a business, to shape experience, and to change lives. Design really can do this, and Herman Miller was the company that I see actively proving this every day.
What is your job at HM/COI?
I am the Herman Miller healthcare manager for Western Canada. I help introduce people to the power of good design in healthcare and critical settings.
What are some of your favorite projects you have done and why?
Ask anyone, they will tell you I LOVE the three L's. Lean (Emerg Dept, and process oriented spaces), LEEDv4, and Lab design.
I love the challenge of technical spaces, and the problem solving that helps people do their very best, in the best environment. Small decisions have big impacts.
What are some of the biggest trends you are watching for space planning and development?
Healthcare doesn't have trends!
We look to bring the power of lean thinking to organisations and their spaces.
And we have the ability to integrate and shorten project and construction timelines for all project types with our internal CET and Revit teams. This means faster and
better healthcare and corporate spaces.
What drives your motivation in your role?
Watch the BC Women's and Children's Hospital video on Facebook. I cry every time. The COI team are the true heroes on that project.
The work we do helps people heal and work at their very best, and is so rewarding.
How have your previous projects effected your design solutions?
Definitely. Working on security and defence projects for the Gov't helped to understand large-scale critical projects. Working on large tenant improvement projects has informed how to engage with stakeholders across multiple organizations.
And now with multiple mental health projects, we help elevate humanity and dignity through design.
What would you like to see happen within healthcare design in Canada?
I look around and see it happening. Health authorities that understand the need for long term solutions, efficient construction, and spaces designed for healing. I am very proud of the work happening in Canada.
What tip would you give a new designer?
Your job as a designer is to shape the world; with great power comes great responsibility.
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Multi-faceted, tenacious, twinkly
What’s something you can’t live without?
Coffee. Family. And a team.
Your favorite chair?
It was an ancient Grecian design that brought together ergonomics, cultural context, form, function, and materiality. It's form can be seen in so many present-day designs. Times change, bodies stay the same.
Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
What are some of the biggest problems you are seeing in hospitals and their designs?
I spend a lot of time in the basement of hospitals; thankfully, none of the furniture being fixed is ours.
Being cheap is too expensive in the long run, and our clients are seeing the cost savings of working with us.
We find that when we are integrated into the process too late, our clients say, "I wish I knew that earlier!"
Winston Churchill once said 'we shape our buildings, then the buildings shape us.'
Give us your attraction and retention of staff issues, creating spaces for family, spaces that adapt for continuous improvement, change management...
Give us your gnarly problems - we can help shape the space and the process that can address those issues.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I found out after starting at Herman Miller, that my father's mentor was Max De Pree.