Barbados native Jennifer Graham is Associate Principal at Perkins&Will, as well as Vice President of Action at IIDA NY. A project manager who has delivered multiple award-winning, high-profile projects for over 30 years, her success comes from her special approach to project management. Jennifer builds mentorship into the process, learns on behalf of others and serves as a conduit between her team and clients. She also creates a supportive, positive and empathetic work environment. As a champion for DEI (Diversity, Equality and Inclusion), social purpose and sustainability, Jennifer brings these issues to the forefront in her client work and community service.
In 2009, she co-founded LMNOP NYC, Inc., an organization that offered networking and affordable continuing education credits to designers. Following LMNOP’s acquisition by IIDA NY, she currently serves as IIDA NY’s Vice President of Action and 2021 Catalyst Chair. In recent years, Jennifer has also connected manufacturers and dealers to provide furniture for various non-profit organizations, saving it from landfills and fulfilling a need within the community.
The influence of Jennifer’s family, and the values they shared, are evident in everything she does – from fulfilling her father’s own dream of working in architecture and following his dedication to serve to the pursuit of knowledge passed on through her grandmother. Her character and record are proof of her advocacy and commitment to both design and global communities.
Today Jennifer joins us for Friday Five!
1. My Daughters
I am blessed to have two kind, curious, talented and exceptional twin daughters. For me, there is no greater pleasure than being part of a family with individuals who inspire others, and my daughters are inspirations in themselves. They provide the opportunity to relive experiences previously shared with my grandmother, parents, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews based on their expressions of joy, evoking memories, spurring recollections and displaying family dominant characteristics and mannerisms.
I’m inspired by art of any form, from music to theaters to museums. I grew up in a home that had art on every square inch of our walls. Living in New York City is like living in a museum. Every district and neighborhood has interesting architecture, accessible public art and performances. I grew up in a home filled with art, and I’m fortunate to own original artwork from acclaimed Bajan and West Indian artists which are in every room of my home. This oversized acrylic painting by Chilean-born, but Bajan-grown, artist Heather Dawn Scott, prominently hangs front and center in my living room.
3. Handmade Pottery
I am a foodie! I love to cook, and I enjoy the tactile beauty of handmade objects. Many utilitarian objects in my home provide daily inspiration and eye candy by just being a pleasure to the eye, enhancing the presentation at each meal and heightening the experience of a beverage. My serving pieces and vessels are from Earthworks Pottery, based in Barbados.
4. Leather Elephant Mousepad
I named my leather mouse pad, crafted in the shape of an elephant, ‘Pumpernickel’. My father had an affinity for elephants, and I grew up with sculptures and carvings of Indian elephants in every room of our house. Elephants symbolize strength, power, wisdom, protection, fertility and general good luck.
Anyone who knows me knows that l love silver. Handmade silver pieces especially speak to me, and I wear beautiful handmade silver jewelry every day. This antique Nordic deer broach is one of my favorite pieces.
Work by Jennifer Graham: