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Elsie St. Leger: Addressing Racial Inequality in the Design Industry

Episode 816 of A Well-Designed Business®
816: Elsie St. Leger: Addressing Racial Inequality in the Design Industry

Today With Elsie St. Leger:

Welcome to a Well-Designed Business. Today on the show, I’m joined by Elsie St. Leger, president of IIDA New York, and founding member of the New York chapter’s Equity Council.

The Equity Council was formed to address racial inequality within the design industry and educate those who are interested in doing the work and having the real conversations about equality. Elsie shares what you can do as an individual and business owner to take accountability and make a change.

Pick It Apart

[19:50] Elsie shares how the Equity Council was formed and what their mission is.

[22:40] Elsie and LuAnn discuss the four pillars of the Equity Council.

[31:30] Elsie discusses the importance of workshops and education about diversity issues.

[51:38] Elsie and LuAnn talk about why diversity is so important in the design industry specifically.

[58:30] Elsie shares what designer can do to promote equity in the industry.

LuAnn Nigara and Elsie St. Leger’s Ah-Ha Moments

“Diversity has become, unfortunately, a sort of broad-stroke term that almost doesn’t mean anything. We wanted to set these pillars—so people could have a foundation from which to start those conversations.” -Elsie

“The Equality Council is not about casting judgment. It’s not about pointing fingers. It’s not about revenge or telling you what to do. It’s about assessing where we are, setting the bar, and moving forward.” -Elsie

More About Elsie St. Leger:

Elsie St. Léger entered the industry while earning her BFA at the New York School of Interior Design, beginning in the residential sector before moving to healthcare. Now an assistant project manager at NYU Langone Health, St. Léger believes in giving back to the industry and began volunteering with IIDA NY. Now, president of IIDA NY, she has played a vital role in the chapter’s push toward accountability and equity as a founding member of the chapter’s Equity Council.

As a trusted leader in New York’s interior design industry, St. Léger understands the value of building community during turbulent times. Her motto is momentum and progress, and her role as president has involved building on IIDA NY’s foundation while continuing on a positive trajectory. Despite the inability to conduct in-person programming, working remotely and reprioritizing has allowed St. Léger to foster the sense of remote community within the organization that has become important in the pandemic era.

Her previous leadership roles for IIDA NY include that of Residential Forum Co-Chair and Healthcare Forum Co-Chair, and she was part of the leadership of LMNOP (Leadership Mentoring & Networking Opportunities for A&D Professionals), which is now integrated into IIDA NY.

Connect with Elsie St. Leger




Equity Council: JEDI Resources

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What Level is Your Design Business?