An exceptional communicator, innovator, and visionary leader, Cheryl S. Durst has spurred progress, driven change, and encouraged the expansion of the interior design industry. As the Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association, known as IIDA, Cheryl is committed to achieving broad recognition for the value of design and its significant role in society through the power of the built environment to shape and enhance daily life. Demonstrated by her active involvement in connecting industry professionals, including designers, manufacturers, end users, and employers, she has worked to promote an understanding of how design impacts human behavior and affects all aspects of shared spaces.
Cheryl’s ability to engage audiences with insight, humor, and authenticity has positioned her as a sought-after keynote speaker, guest lecturer, panelist, and moderator at 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. She is also an experienced facilitator and moderator in discussions around equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice and holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.
With 15,000 members across 58 countries, Cheryl oversees the strategic direction of IIDA, curates and capably leads the 10-member International Board of Directors, and directs all outreach and programmatic efforts, including more than a dozen global design competitions that recognize worldwide excellence in interior design.
In recognition of her contributions to IIDA and the design profession, Cheryl was awarded an Honorary IIDA Fellowship by the International Board of Directors in 2009. She has repeatedly been named one of Newcity’s “Design 50,” an annual list of influencers who promote and represent design in Chicago. Cheryl also holds honorary doctorates from the New York School of Interior Design, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas in recognition of her impact on the industry. Cheryl extends her support of design, arts, and culture through volunteerism. She is a member of the International WELL Building Institute Governance Council, a Trustee for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), and Marwen, a visual arts education organization. She has been referred to by Interior Design magazine as “an ambassador for innovation and expansion and a visionary strategist.” Citing her leadership in the industry, Cheryl was inducted into the prestigious Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2016 as the recipient of its first-ever Leadership Award. She is the first African American woman inducted into the industry’s Hall of Fame.
A lifelong knowledge enthusiast and voracious reader who has considered librarian, astronaut, and journalist as potential careers, Cheryl never walks away from meeting someone without gleaning a bit of their story — a talent she currently employs on her monthly podcast, The Skill Set, which focuses on the intangible skills that make us good at what we do.