An exceptional communicator, innovator, and visionary leader, Cheryl Durst has spurred progress, driven
change, and encouraged the expansion of the Interior Design industry. As the Executive Vice President
and Chief Executive Officer of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Cheryl is committed
to achieving broad recognition for the value of design and its significant role in society, through both
functionality and engagement in every day work spaces and the built environment. Demonstrated by her
active involvement in connecting industry professionals, including designers, manufacturers, clients, end-
users, and employers, she has worked to promote an understanding of how design impacts human behavior
and affects all aspects of shared spaces.
In 1997, Cheryl joined IIDA as the Senior Director of Education and Professional Development. Promoted to
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer in 1998, she began the task of rebuilding and redefining
the organization, which was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and closure due to tenuous member
relationships and organizational mismanagement. Despite these significant challenges, Cheryl implemented
an aggressive fiscal redevelopment and turnaround strategy that incorporated a series of presentations,
critical member outreach, and transparent communication efforts to earn back stakeholder trust. Through
her efforts, she was able to revive the association and reposition it as a profitable enterprise, integral to the
interior design community and dedicated to furthering the profession of interior design.
Today, with 15,000 members across 58 countries, Cheryl oversees the strategic direction of IIDA, curates and
publishes Perspective, the association’s thought-leadership journal, manages a team of 25 professional staff
members, leads the 10-member International Board of Directors, and directs all outreach and programmatic
efforts, including more than a dozen annual global design awards programs, which recognize worldwide
excellence in interior design. Cheryl is closely associated with the organization’s vision and mission and is
deeply involved in engaging design industry leaders and the client community on the myriad issues that
encompass the intersection of design, business, and strategy.
Cheryl’s ability to engage audiences with insight and humor has positioned her as a sought-after keynote
speaker, guest lecturer, panelist, and moderator at both domestic and global conferences and seminars.
With topics ranging from “The Future of Design” to “The Impact of Culture, Brand, and Place,” her
presentations explore the value of design as a social, cultural, and economic force. In addition, she delivered
the commencement address at the New York School of Interior Design, receiving an Honorary Doctorate in
Fine Arts for her contributions to the industry, and was the Martin Luther King Guest Lecturer at the School
of Architecture, University of Michigan.
An enthusiastic and energetic volunteer, Cheryl has participated on numerous boards and committees,
including the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Harrington College of
Design, US Green Buildings Council, the Kohl Children’s Museum Women’s Board, and the Literacy Foundation
of Chicago. She holds dual bachelor degrees in print journalism and economics from Boston University and is a
LEED-accredited Professional (LEED AP).
Prior to Cheryl’s tenure at IIDA, she was the Director of Programs and Education with Merchandise Mart
Properties in Washington, DC. Cheryl’s industry experience also includes employment with Knoll, American
Seating, and Westinghouse Furniture Systems. She is a member of the World Future Society and firmly
believes in the connection between place, history, and human behavior, as well as the effect attitude, culture,
and design have on shared-space environments. She is the creator and curator of the innovative IIDA series,
What Clients Want, which examines the designer/client relationship.
In recognition of her contributions to IIDA and the profession of design, Cheryl was awarded Honorary IIDA
Fellowship by her International Board of Directors in 2009. In 2015, she was named one of Newcity’s Design
50, an annual list of influencers who promote and present design in Chicago. Cheryl has also been referred to
by Interior Design magazine as “an ambassador for innovation and expansion, and a visionary strategist.”
International Interior Design Association (IIDA)
Executive Vice President and CEO