Celebrating International Women’s Day: #InspireInclusion Through Conversations with Inspirational Women in Commercial Interiors – Kathryn Quinn

This International Women’s Day, Design Insider is proud to embrace the 2024 campaign theme: #InspireInclusion. We are delighted to present a series of interviews with some of the most inspirational women in the commercial interiors community—each playing a pivotal role in shaping the industry.

Inclusion is a pathway to innovation, creativity, and empowerment. When we inspire inclusion, we not only celebrate diversity but also harness the rich perspectives and ideas that drive our industry forward. This year, we’re highlighting the voices of Inspirational Women who aren’t just participating in the commercial interiors sector but are actively shaping its future to be more inclusive, vibrant, and dynamic.

Kathryn Quinn, Senior Designer at Goddard Littlefair, is one of our Inspirational Women. In our conversation, we delve into how Kathryn interprets #InspireInclusion within the context of her work and the broader commercial interiors sector. We explore her personal experiences, the success stories that have marked her journey, and the collective strides we can make toward a more inclusive industry. Moreover, we discover the women who have inspired her and how she, in turn, serves as a beacon of inspiration for others.

Join us as we celebrate Kathryn’s achievements, insights, and stories, and let’s continue to #InspireInclusion every day in every way.

Kathryn Quinn, Senior Designer at Goddard Littlefair

Please could you introduce yourself and your role?

I’m a senior designer at Goddard Littlefair, currently working on a number of projects across the UK, Europe and Middle East. At present, I’m travelling back and forth to Vienna ahead of the opening of Riding School, Vienna, an upcoming addition to the Marriott Autograph Collection.

I also volunteer as president of the NEWH UK chapter, who are an incredible team generously giving their spare time to support students in the hospitality industry.

How do you interpret #inspireinclusion and what needs to happen to achieve this within the commercial interiors sector?

For me, #inspireinclusion means providing opportunities, and the means to realising those opportunities to all. In an ideal world, nothing would be impossible or out of reach for anyone, but sadly restrictions and social stigmas still play a part.

I’ve always been used to construction sites from a young age, but it shocks me how still nowadays so few women are represented across the trades.

Things are changing, but we still have a way to go to remove the gender imbalance and encourage young people to find and follow their passions.

Are there any success stories of inclusion you would like to highlight?

I think NEWH as a whole is a success story in this respect! Founded in 1984 by four women, including our CEO, Shelia Lohmiller, their mission was to give women a voice and provide a platform for supporting those in the industry who would benefit from financial support, mentorship and education.

40 years later, NEWH continues to promote and realise diversity and inclusion in the industry and to date have given over £8.8million in scholarships, helping 2959 students.

I’m very proud to play a part in that, and to encourage a diverse network of students to join this amazing industry.

What does it feel like to be inspired by, and inspire, people around you?

Inspiration is about passion. As designers we are sponges, absorbing creativity and inspiration from every possible source – people, places, experiences and leadership.

When leaders, (particularly the fearless rockstars of the industry that I’m fortunate to work with now and in the past!) share their experience and fervour, it ignites a passion within me and encourages my ambitions.I’m grateful to have exposure to many of the layers of our projects, from the creativity of concepts through to the excitement of being on site, and all the incredible people who educate and inspire me along the way.What I’ve gained from others feels like a baton I have to pass on and, through my roles at Goddard Littlefair and NEWH, I do my best to fuel that circular economy of inspiration!

Which inspirational women do you celebrate?

I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspirational women – at work, through NEWH and the industry as a whole, as well as being supported by a strong network of girlfriends and sisters who are absolute cheerleaders – so I celebrate them all!

Hopefully it’s not cliché to say but particularly lately, a standout has got to be the woman who raised me – my mum! Even now, currently caring for parents and grandkids while working, her care and consideration for others never falters, and she manages to inspire us all.

Growing up, she taught me resilience, diligence and fun, and helped me strike a balance between confidence and humility.

Always encouraging my personal growth, she provided a safe platform to follow my dreams and seek out my own path, while supporting me along the way. Now that is true inspiration. Thanks mum!

Thank you for reading this conversation. Discover more empowering stories from Inspirational Women in commercial interiors by clicking HERE to continue our #InspireInclusion series.

Join us in celebrating and learning from these influential voices!


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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