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Departments: Department of Interior Design

Atrium Health Manager of Interiors and Branding for the Southeast and Anderson University Interior Design graduate Cathy Jurecek Greene feels it’s important to provide “positive distractions” for those visiting Atrium Health’s locations. 

Greene feels a sense of accomplishment “watching people smile in our environments when you don’t always expect for them to; seeing families in our Children’s Hospital being comfortable and supporting their children—taking a little stress away from a trying time by having a nice environment… seeing people navigating successfully in our spaces.”  

She recalls the words of a former executive vice president, “imagine it’s your loved one that you’re doing this for.” 

Looking back, Greene feels grateful for the variety she’s seen in her interior design career.  

“My first work experience was in Haworth Office Furniture dealership,” she recalled. “One of the interior designers that we were working with was designing a gastroenterology practice and took me under her wing.  After that project, she kept bringing health care projects back and asking if I could be her designer. My mother was a nurse anesthetist, my grandfather was a doctor, so it was just a nice fit.” 

Greene left the furniture dealership to work for an independent interior design firm, Healthcare Interiors and focused on healthcare design, which she loved. In addition to Interior Design, Greene gained experience in Project Management and Marketing. These experiences provided the confidence to leave the stability of an established firm and to strike out on her own. 

“I just had this entrepreneurial spirit, I needed to do something on my own. My child was young and I wanted time with her, so I started my own interior design firm and manufacturers rep group. I was doing both at the same time, loved every moment, the best 10 years of my life,” said Greene, who worked with architects, designers and end users to select furniture from the lines I represented for use in their project work. 

Greene admits that she discovered interior design quite by accident while struggling in high school. 

“I have no left-brain activity whatsoever,” Greene said, remembering her mother’s frustration with her academic performance. She said ‘Cathy, you always have a fashion magazine inside your chemistry book. Why don’t you try fashion merchandising?’ My freshman year at Anderson, a course requirement was an introductory course in Interior Design.  The light came on for the first time in my life! I knew that this is what I was going to do.  

Greene recalls the thorough preparation of School of Interior Design Dean Anne Martin and her faculty colleagues, instilling in her a sense of professionalism. “She expected for us to dress appropriately and to speak appropriately and to just dig in and learn and investigate. There were field trips and learning experiences in Atlanta and New York.  We were exposed to a very wide range of opportunity.” 

Web Greene speaking at Healthcare design conference

Interior Design has been good professionally to Greene (pictured second from right at Healthcare Design conference in New Orleans, where she was a speaker), but she’s quick to point out to aspiring designers that it didn’t come easily. 

You have got to be resilient. You have got to be willing to remake or reinvent yourself and you must be smart,” she said. “Just sitting in the corner being creative is not going to make a living for you. You have got to have a business sense. You can’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call somebody to gain business. You have got to advocate for yourself, because creative people are sometimes not highly paid, and sometimes they are very overlooked. You must be receptive to growth and change and you must have a lot of faith.” 

Martin keeps in touch with Greene, who remains engaged with the Anderson University School of Interior Design.