Helping clients’ interior design visions come to life, Senior Interior Designer Nicole Panko NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED AP, carries an entrepreneurial spirit with her everywhere she goes. When she is not leading her team of interior designers at ISG, she is on the run with her family of four, soon-to-be five, helping plan the annual event, Raw Fusion, which she is one of four founders, or serving on the Board of Directors for the Mankato YWCA, among many other things. Let’s get to know Nicole.

The Interior Design field is constantly changing. What trends are on the horizon?

The trend toward employee well-being and their happiness at work continues to be at the forefront of many companies. More employers are beginning to recognize that by focusing on an employee’s strengths, well-being, and happiness while at work, their productiveness increases and the number of sick days decrease. Many companies are also implementing amenities like on-site fitness centers, coffee shops, alternative meeting spaces, and flexible schedules into their new building designs or renovations. By offering these comfortable spaces, they are encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day, gather their thoughts, and all around have a much better work-life balance.

What is a misperception about interior design?

A misperception that many people don’t know is that interior design and interior decorating are NOT the same thing. In fact, they are vastly different from one another. Interior design is the science of understanding people’s behavior and actions to create functional spaces in a building through the use of layout, lighting, and aesthetics. Interior decorating is furnishing a space with accessories and décor. Interior design also requires a degree and professional certification.

What keeps you motivated?

What keeps me motivated is the end product. Seeing the client so proud of their space and watching them show it off makes it all worth it. Walking into a space that once existed only in your mind is a pretty surreal experience. To visualize something and then actually see it in front of you is something I can’t get enough of, and that’s what continues to keep me excited for the next project.

You’re a wife and mother of two, soon-to-be three, but what is something that many people don’t know about you?

One thing that is kind of random and surprising about me is that I own a salon, Heat° Blow Dry Bar & Wax Studio, along with two other business partners. I handle the graphic design and marketing aspects of the business, which is a fun side hobby of mine!

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Nicole was recognized as Greater Mankato Growth’s (GMG) 2010 Young Professional of the Year, and continues to make a positive impact within the community and ISG’s Mankato office.

Join the conversation #ISGInteriorDesign #Entrepreneurs #EmployeeOwned
Sam Boeck

Meet Sam Boeck

Sam leads talent engagement at ISG, focusing on providing innovative and strategic direction for talent engagement initiatives, including professional development, culture, and recruitment. Frankly put, Sam embodies ISG’s culture and...

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