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Oftentimes, skills aren't innate. They're learned. Rhonda knows precisely how this works in the business realm. It's important that the people who work with you realize that you know what you're talking about.
“The biggest difference I see among designers or anybody in the industry is that they stay a little bit more stagnant; they view education and development as something with a clearly defined beginning and end when in reality, it’s always ongoing. Not taking advantage of the resources available to our industry, like NKBA University, is so limiting and really not necessary in this day and age.
“NKBA Is all about growing your circle, networking and education, so it’s really helpful. What I gain from NKBA U, I bring to my clients, and that’s what separates me from everyone,” said Rhonda.
She also confided that investing in and developing yourself never stops. One of her professional mantras: “Stay in school!” which she shouted with her fist raised in the air in the final competition for NKBA U Professional of the Year.
Catalyst & curiosity
Most people push themselves to learn out of necessity. But others push themselves out of sheer enjoyment. Rhonda falls into the latter category. She speaks about her willingness to learn based on her insatiable curiosity. “I have always been curious by nature, wanting to learn more. But the trip to Spain with Cosentino took it to an entirely different level. Competing in NKBA U Professional of the Year only validated my passion for growth and learning. I tell my kids there are three things you need to remember: curiosity, chutzpa and stamina.”
This has no doubt served her well especially when it comes to winning this prestigious award. Rhonda attributes this achievement to this from the very beginning of her career in design.
“As professionals, professional development means placing our chips and coins. And as lifelong students, we have to spend our energy and money carefully. I say if you can get a leg up on very specific areas that’s worth a great deal more.”
Insights on experience
Going back to the first notion of cultivating your skills, Rhonda pays particular attention to the sheer importance of using those skills to build your experience. As a designer, Rhonda is challenged everyday with how to design a space completely centered around a client’s aesthetic and lifestyle, and guiding them through the process. “Whether it’s through our interactions or what they see on social media, my clients know I stay ahead of industry trends through education,” she said.
There's no doubt the client trusts Rhonda to give the best opinion. But the core reason why they trust her is due to her many years of tried and true experience on the job.
Rhonda is on the cutting edge. She's in the thick of things. When she takes a client through a showroom, she not only needs to know what’s new to market, but what’s ahead. the most viable options and gadgets in the market. She's often asked by clients, “what's new?" in hopes of scoring that fancy fixture and creating a beautiful space.
All these things tie in to the core values that Rhonda holds of constantly pushing yourself to learn more and achieve more. After all, that's what the clients are paying for. But there's something more profound to this relationship than just any business transaction. It's exactly that – a relationship. And the best relationships are built on trust.
Long term relationship
Ask anyone what makes a relationship work, and they'll typically tell you things like trust, dependability and loyalty. Well, it's no different in this business. And it's certainly no different in Rhonda's world. People trust Rhonda, and they trust her judgment because of the relationship they've forged with her either in a matter of hours or over the course of several years.