We interviewed recent graduate, Hannah Lichtenthaler, to learn about how she has applied the knowledge she gained from the Virtual Master Certification Program to the real world!
1. Tell us about your background – Where are you from? What was your career path prior to Heritage?
I was raised in Corvallis, Oregon and received by undergraduate degree from University of Oregon in 2017. I grew up participating in competitive cheerleading and was a member of the UofO Acrobatics and Tumbling team for four years. Upon graduation, I chose to move to Portland, Oregon, where I continued my love of cheerleading, coaching privately and for Jesuit High School. Not being exactly sure of my career path, I accepted a job with Nordstrom in the cosmetics department. I realized I loved working with people and helping them feel more confident.
2. Why did you decide to pursue interior design as your career?
Design runs in my family. My dad has run a successful contracting business for many years. I always enjoyed watching him remodel our home and my mom putting her special touch on everything with decor. I was that little girl who was always moving and switching things up in our home. A fond memory of mine is pursuing the Interior Design book aisle in Powell’s Books with my mom. When COVID arrived, it caused me to re-evaluate my career path. After some deep soul searching, I made the decision to pursue my passion of Interior Design.
3. What challenges did you have to overcome to get where you are today?
This was a big leap to change careers. It was my parents who expressed their love and support to have me pursue something I have always loved. Several friends shared information about Heritage School of Interior Design. After researching the school, I was thrilled to see they work with students who also work full-time. It worked out so well being able to balance my classes and work schedule. I am truly enjoying both aspects!
4. What is your future career goal as an interior designer?
For the next 2-3 years I wish to solidify my design training and education so that I may open my own design studio. This 3-year goal allows me to confidently create a business plan, meet with investors, and execute a successful business. I know 3 years will fly by and I’m excited to begin this journey!
5. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration, truthfully, from getting to know my client well before jumping into creating his or her space. It is so important that a space reflects the individual who lives there. I am a “design guide” for that client. I am learning that the biggest compliment from a client is when they say “how did you know what I wanted? It’s amazing how you get me.”
6. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received was to believe in myself and chase my dreams. Since beginning this journey, I am the happiest I have ever been. I started my Master’s program in September 2020 and 6 months later I was beginning my first job in design. I did not think in one year from starting this program I’d be where I am today. I am truly grateful for all the support and resources Heritage has led me to.
7. Tell us about your career with Paul Schatz
I am currently employed as an Interior Designer for Paul Schatz Home Furnishings. Within the last year, I have been able to carry over my knowledge learned in school and on the job to create a loyal clientele. I have experienced a variety of projects from selecting a few pieces of furniture for a home to entire home projects where I have selected hard surfaces along with pieces for dining and living spaces. My place of employment has truly exceeded my dreams of working in the design industry. It is wonderful to use my knowledge learned and execute that knowledge with the client.