Suzanne takes us “over the pond” to Dublin with the Leaders of Design.
Architecture and history. Lush retreats and fabulous gardens. Industry
and trend leaders from all over the world. What’s not to love about Ireland!?


This spring the Leaders of Design Council hosted their annual conference in the city of Dublin, a place new to me and many others on the trip. It was a very inspiring conference… it actually really was one of the most inspiring trips I have ever been on! The LDC always does such a wonderful job planning their international conference and this one was no exception. We all felt lucky to be hosted in such style in this beautiful and charming city…

Before the actual conference kicked off in Dublin, The LDC had organized a pre-trip to Cliveden, an historic English estate in Buckinghamshire. John and I spent one night there touring the beautiful gardens and home.

Upon arriving, I realized that Windsor Castle was only 25 minutes away, so of course I took the afternoon and we had an amazing tour of the castle. It was so special because it was completely open and quiet with very few other visitors…and the Queen was in residence which was just the most perfect surprise!

That evening when we returned to Cliveden, the LDC hosted an amazing dinner for about 30 of us. It was very intimate and a wonderful way to start the conference and really connect with everyone before the larger conference commenced.

The following morning, we departed from Heathrow and arrived in Dublin! The conference began that evening at the beautiful K Club.

We had a guided tour of the Book of Kells Exhibit at Trinity College, followed by a fabulous cocktail hour in the Long Room of the Old Library and dinner in the commons. It was really so special to be in such a renowned library while learning more about the incredible history and architecture in Ireland from esteemed historic author Robert O’Byrne.

Just being in these amazing places is so special not only to connect but to have the private tours and special speakers…

The next morning was our first leadership session lead by Sara Kalick from SYPartners, who I found to be very impressive. She has worked with large global companies from American Express to Kohls, helping them focus on their strategies to achieve their goals. This is one of the reasons I love attending the LDC conferences, as it is a very important time for me to think about my business plan for the next year and recalibrate my vision and goals for the company and myself.

The first speaker after lunch was Anita Sarsidi, known as an interiors editor for AD as well as an amazing and sought-after stylist. She was absolutely fabulous and inspiring…and she has such a great eye! I love this shot for ELLE DECOR styled styled by Anita…

We also heard from Chris and Davida Hall whose presentation was focused on digital storytelling, which has become so important in our world of design. With mediums like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook serving as incredibly influential tools of communication, it so very important to focus on what type of content to create and share. Instagram has become such a great tool for me to share, connect, and find inspiration for both my interiors and my product business. I love seeing what beautiful things people share and how connected our amazing design community is.

We ended the day with the most fabulous dinner at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Dean William Morton welcomed us, the choir sang just for us and then we had a private dinner in the chapel. It was truly beyond amazing. Not only is St. Patrick’s filled with history (founded in 1192), it is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, and tallest and largest church in Ireland.

The following day, which was our last, we went to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which was extraordinary. Built in 1680, it’s the oldest classical building in Ireland…the architecture and grounds are beautiful and the history rich!

Our first featured speaker this day was a lively conversation with David Netto, a California based designer and writer, whose father once owned Cowtan & Tout. He shared anecdotes from his new book FRANÇOIS CATROUX and his personal design journey.

One of my favorite talks was given by world famous trend setter and forecaster, Li Edelkoort. She shared her views on new materialism, as well as her design and lifestyle forecast for 2018. She provided some very interesting insight into our design market and I found her background to be fascinating… she has developed trend books for many fashion lines ranging from Zara to Prada!

We also heard from the inspiring Zach Iscol who was introduced by my good friend Charlotte Moss. A combat decorated former Marine Corps officer, who after he returned from his tours in the Middle East and Africa, founded companies Hire Purpose and Headstrong Project, which both strive to help veterans and military service members. I found his talk very inspiring and as many of you know, my father (pictured, above right) was a war veteran, so hearing his story and all he is doing to help military veterans, members, and their families, was very special for me…

The conference concluded that evening with dinner and dancing on the back lawn at the K Club. It was the perfect way to end the conference, a fun-filled night with lots of laughs.

The trip home was a wonderful time for me to reflect on all that I learned from the amazing speakers we heard and all of the beautiful architecture, design, and landscape we saw. It was an inspiring start the spring season, a time I always feel is time for a refreshed outlook on my business and goals!

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