Interior Design Grad Thriving in High-Tech World
Lisa Gorman, a 2010 graduate of the Anderson University School of Interior Design, built her career as a project leader for a top design firm. Pick just about any type of interior design project—retail spaces, restaurants, offices, medical environments—and Gorman has experience.
Then, one of her clients, a rapidly growing tech company in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, became so impressed with Gorman’s skills and professionalism, they offered her a job.
“I would definitely say client relations is what got me my job now, so the professionalism and relationship building that we learned in school really got me each of my jobs and now the dream job that I have, too,” said Gorman. “It’s the highest honor to want to be hired by your client directly.”
Working as facilities design manager for the company, Gorman transitioned from being client-focused as part of a firm to working internally at a single company. After two-and-a-half years with the company, Gorman loves meeting design challenges unique to technology-focused spaces. She also enjoys working with innovative stakeholders in an exciting, unique culture that comes with a technology-related workplace.
Her job entails overseeing interior standards, procurement of fixtures, furniture and equipment (FF&E), supervising project build outs of all sizes and managing the many consultants involved in each build out.
“I get to do corporate design, but also a lot of technical support areas like R&D (Research and Development) spaces, motion capture studios and things like that,” Gorman said. She said that when designing workplaces for tech teams, the spaces are equivalent to that of companies on the west coast, where her company has hired several of its employees. While hospitality areas such as snack spaces are important, a notable difference Gorman points out is that rather than creating large open offices, her focus is on creating team-oriented spaces.
“We have more team rooms, so you can jump around to a different team and you might move into a different room for a different project, so you’re always on the go with a very agile workplace,” Gorman said.
Gorman said the Anderson University School of Interior Design was a great fit for her, offering a high-caliber program that puts a lot of focus on architecture and construction and provides opportunities to connect students with professionals in their chosen field.
“Anderson University set me up for success through many seasons, experiences and job changes,” Gorman said. “There’s a whole real-world element that I was exposed to through projects at Anderson where we coordinated with real clients—real people with real problems and real spaces.”
After graduating from Anderson in 2010, Gorman received her Master of Fine Arts at the Florence Institute of Design International in Italy, then returned stateside to work as an interior designer in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has certifications with the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). She also enjoys art and has displayed her works in the Charlotte area.