The design manager of Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle talks about her start in the industry, lessons she learned working at design firms that she now applies on the owner side, and why making that career switch was the best move she’s ever made.

What drew you to a career in healthcare interior design?

Several of my family members work in healthcare so it was common conversation at our home. I learned early on about the need for support in the hospital physical environment. I don’t think I really knew being an interior designer in healthcare was a career until much later into my college days. I took a drafting class (yes, with a pen/pencil) and was hooked. After a year working at a high-end residential firm in Chicago, I knew I needed to pivot to find a way that provided support to many, and healthcare was it.

What was your first job in healthcare design?

After being turned down by a large architecture healthcare firm in Chicago for lack of experience, I worked for a very small medical supply company, selecting finishes for medical office building projects. That lasted only a year until we moved to Dallas for my husband’s work and I landed at HKS, which changed my life. There, I was fortunate to work on dozens of large projects all over the country, many of which were children’s hospitals.

What inspired you to switch from working on the firm side to going to Seattle Children’s in 2017?

I knew I could make a greater impact on the owner side, but it’s rare to find a position like mine—a dedicated person focused on interiors—at a hospital. In my role I oversee the general design of the projects of all sizes, finishes, planning, furniture, art, signage, and drawing standards. I’m grateful that the Seattle Children’s Hospital leadership had the foresight to create my position.

How does that experience help you in your job now?

I talk the same language as our design partners, and I feel like they can trust my past experience when discussing projects. All hospitals have a culture that needs to be respected, so I bring that to the table because I’m the one who receives the feedback from our workforce, patients, and families.

Three recent healthcare design projects and your role

1 Forest B new main entry on main campus, Seattle, design manger/oversight.

2 Odessa Brown Community Clinic (OBCC) Seattle , Wash., design manger/oversight.

3 Pre-natal, sleep center clinics, and autism and behavioral health clinics, multiple locations, design manger/oversight.


What do you like best about working in healthcare interior design?

It’s 100 percent gratifying work that makes a positive impact for all.

Outside the office, we’ll likely find you …

At the ocean with my husband and on my paddle board with Lily, my border collie/lab mix.

Coffee or tea?


Morning person or night owl?

Morning. I love the morning sun, a walk with my pup, and having a quiet and slow start to the day.

How did you make your first dollar?

Newspaper route and babysitting,

First album you ever bought

It was either by Prince or Billy Idol.

If you weren’t an interior designer, you would be …

I’d always like to have a balance of working with children and dogs in some sort of capacity. I see the joy and support that animals bring in times of crisis or stress. I think being a part of that work would be rewarding as well, and you can’t beat the unconditional love from a dog.

Favorite …

Quote “Work smarter not harder.” Not sure who said it first, but it’s a good one.

Movie character Forest Gump. I just really love the movie.

Show to binge watch Right now, it’s “Veep,” but there are many others.

Band/musical artist Prince. I walked down the aisle at my wedding to his music.

Guilty pleasure Homemade pie.

Snack when you travel A mix of sweet and savory.

Sport College basketball.

Teams I follow University of Washington, University of Iowa, and University of Michigan.

City to visit Chicago. I have many  great memories visiting as a child and it’s where I went to school, met my husband, and got married.