Perspectives February 26, 2020

Conversations with Colleagues: Michelle Rothman

Michelle is a Interior Designer at our Boston studio
Michelle's home
Q: What drew you to the design profession, and what’s keeping you here?

A: As a child I had a love for design. Growing up, I was inspired by my mother’s love of interior design, although at the time I didn’t have a name for it. I remember coming home from school to find our home completely reorganized, and every season it seemed as though we had a new look. I just assumed that’s how everyone lived. Today, I get to give my clients the joy of a well-designed space, just as I had as a child.

our team gathers for the annual NOMA conference
NOMA Boston firm crawl
Q: What role does diversity, inclusion, and engagement play in the design profession at large?

A: We all have our cultural influences which play a role in how we see the world around us and how we design. Having a diverse background allows designers to bring a unique approach and style to their work that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Without diversity in the workplace, I believe we would have “cookie cutter” spaces lacking uniqueness and creativity.

Boston High School career fair 2019
Q: As a leader in the design industry, what steps do you take to expand professional design opportunities to members of the black community?

A: When it came time to choose my career, I did not see anyone or know anyone who looked like me in the profession. It would have been inspiring to know other interior design professionals of color who did what I aspired to do. Therefore it’s important for me to inspire and motivate young designers of color, and hopefully help them see what this profession has to offer.

Q: In what ways do you think our firm stands apart from other firms as far as diversity, inclusion, and engagement go—and how has our firm enabled you to thrive as a professional?

A: What I noticed most when I interviewed at Perkins&Will was the number of women in the firm, and this strongly influenced my decision to accept my offer here. Perkins&Will has a reputation for being a well-balanced place, not only in the sense of diversity but work-life balance and social purpose. I think that because of this, our designs are consistently recognized as being of the highest quality on the market. I hope to continue to inspire younger designers to enter this incredible and continually growing profession.