Inspiring Women Everywhere!
Several years back, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a luncheon held by the Nashville chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). I had a great time, learned a few things from a compelling speaker, and, most importantly, I left that event uplifted and inspired by a phenomenal group of fellow female entrepreneurs. I am now a four-year member and have spent one amazing year as a NAWBO board member. I’m inspired every day by this great group of women.
Thinking back, I’ve always found inspiration in my sisters in business and the arts. I recently corresponded with one of my favorite design business gurus, Rhonda Page, after realizing we both attended Parsons School of Design at the same time. So cool!
Another recent inspiration came by way of a book, a birthday present from my husband (he knows me well!). “A Colorful Life: Gere Kavanaugh, Designer,” is a wildly colorful, beautifully designed tribute to the life and pioneering work of Gere (pronounced “Jerry”) Kavanaugh. Born in 1929, the Memphis native is a multiple award-winning textile, industrial, and interior designer. And, at 91 years of age, she’s still going strong with her own studio, Gere Kavanaugh Designs.
Offered a chance to attend my alma mater, Kavanaugh chose instead to head to Michigan to attend the lesser-known Cranbrook Academy of Art, becoming the third woman to earn an MFA degree from that school. She was a “disruptor” before that was cool.
In the late 1950s, when it finally dawned on the bigwigs at General Motors that most car buying decisions were being made by women, Kavanaugh became part of the “Damsels of Design,” the first female designers at GM.
Over the decades, she has never stopped innovating, applying bold color and a fearless design sensibility to leave a uniquely individual mark on everything from auto interiors, to fabric to retail spaces and beyond.
I’m grateful to be able to live a creative life doing what I love, and I’m continually motivated by the powerful, inspiring women all around me.
Photo of Gere Kavanaugh at work. Courtesy of Hagopian Ink