This article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News on Jan. 15, 2014
Leslie Shankman-Cohn has been elected the 2014 president of the Tennessee Interior Design Coalition, a statewide coalition committed, through legislative and regulatory endeavors, to enhance and protect the right to practice interior design. Shankman-Cohn is a partner in Jill Hertz Interior Design, a division of Eclectic Interiors. She specializes in custom-designed furniture, space planning, furnishings and finishes specifications, universal design, Aging in Style and sustainable design issues.
Experience: Registered interior designer by the state of Tennessee; certified by the National Council of Interior Design Qualifications; professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers; certified Aging in Place specialist; and a certified Green Professional.
Family: Between my husband and I, we have 5 children and their spouses, and 6 grandchildren, all living in different areas of the country!
Favorite quote: “Never assume!”
What’s playing on your stereo right now? Classic Hits 94.1
Activities you enjoy outside of work: Traveling, cooking, entertaining, the arts and community activism.
Who has had the greatest influence on you and why? My parents. My mother was a talented designer who worked hand in hand with my father, an award-winning builder. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was born, and my parents fought that battle together, as a team, until her death 27 years later. What is amazing is that my childhood memories are not those of sickness or self-pity, but of joy and wonder. We were always taught to face life one day at a time and live each day to the fullest.
What are your goals as TIDC president? To raise awareness of the practice of interior design and the role professional interior designers have in the total design process, and the effect that we can have in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Besides being bestowed with honors by my peers, I am most proud of the National Homebuilders Association 2008 National “Homes for Life” design award for a kitchen I designed utilizing universal design and sustainable design components.
What do you most enjoy about your work? I love that every day and every project brings a different set of challenges and approach. But when a client can utilize and enjoy their home to the fullest extent is my biggest reward.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? Put down the gadgets and engage with the people around you! In addition, I would tell them to absorb the world around them and be passionate about what they choose to do.