Have You Met Lisa Bruder Perkins?
Thoughtfully, Lisa Perkins of the Phoenix Design Group discusses what motivates her volunteer commitments: “Having a healthy daughter is the thing I am most grateful for. I feel very strongly about Ryan House; it’s my way of expressing that gratitude. Ryan House will be the first of its kind in the US. They will offer palliative care for children with serious medical issues.”
Lisa is a board member of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA). “We are a worldwide professional alliance of leaders representing the many industries that make up residential and commercial design.” IFDA’s goals are to enhance the professionalism and stature of the industry worldwide.
“I became involved with IFDA through my career at Phoenix Art Group, where I am an art consultant. Many people come here from the design trade, and I help them choose artwork for homes, offices, or commercial spaces.” Phoenix Art Group occupies an historic 70,000 square foot building in downtown Phoenix. It houses fully equipped artists’ studios, frame design and production departments, and a high-tech digital photography unit, while another site produces floor and wall sculptures.
“We are a collaborative art studio. Artists have their own studios in our building, and we have a gallery that showcases their work. Most items are originals, but we also have the capability to create the artwork for large-scale contract projects. My education was in fine arts, and this has been a very good opportunity for me. It is truly a luxury to be surrounded by beautiful art every day, and I try never to take that for granted!”
Ryan House is the chosen charity of the Phoenix Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association. “We had a concept for an event, and were looking for a worthy cause. Ryan’s aunt is an acquaintance of Karen Sugarman, former president of our chapter, and it just seemed meant to be! When Ryan and his mother were in Europe and experienced his devastating illness, she was so impressed with the care he received over there. At that point she determined to start a similar program here in the US. Our collective professions are about creating inspiring environments, so this is a perfect fit.”
When completed, Ryan House will be a safe, comfortable place where care will be provided by an experienced professional staff to some of Arizona’s most seriously ill children. Since Hospice care is not generally extended to children, Ryan House will provide a comprehensive program of family-centered care that includes medical, emotional, social and spiritual support services and therapies to enhance quality of life.
“Our big event for Ryan’s House is Tableau, which is scheduled for November 14th. This is our third year, and each year it has evolved into an even greater event. Interior designers compete to create beautiful and dramatic “tablescapes” for the guests to vote on and then join the designers at their tables for an elegant dinner. After the awards, the fun begins with a Monte Carlo style casino night and raffle. My committee is in charge of finding some wonderful raffle items. Last year the Phoenix Art Group offered as a prize a portrait by the artist, John Douglas!” The lucky winner made a very generous donation directly to Ryan House in gratitude. Lisa also is the co-chair of IFDA’s holiday event this year with Interior Designer Nicolas Cappele of H2E Interiors.
Lisa grew up in Arizona, “But I went to college in New York City. It was just a wonderful experience, sometimes I really miss it! One time during college I was out with a friend and he said he was going to take me to someone’s birthday party. We entered this chic out of the way bar without a name on the outside that you sometimes find in NYC; you just have to be in the know. Anyway, I met some of the friend’s acquaintances, and then was introduced to John Kennedy Jr. I found out it was HIS birthday! He was just a very gracious guy, and one of my memorable experiences.”
She continues, “But I so appreciate living in the Phoenix area! Most of my family is here, and most of my free time is spent with family. We enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in the Southwest, and we have beautiful weather. I never grow tired of the landscape.”
Lisa Perkins advises, “Try volunteering--you make good solid friendships, and it's the perfect opportunity to express your gratitude!”
What are your volunteer activities? Board member of IFDA for the last four years.
Which social event is your favorite? Tableau, benefiting Ryan House.
Favorite restaurant? My husband is an amazing chef and we love to entertain at home. When we go out though we always try to support the fantastic locally owned restaurants in the area.
Who is your hero and why? Sandra Day O'Connor. She is such a smart and pragmatic woman who has balanced a family and an amazing career. She is also a living example to my five-year-old daughter that you can be a cowgirl, and a Supreme Court Justice.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? John F. Kennedy Jr.
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Sandra Bullock.
What gives a woman/man style? I think you have to be comfortable in your own skin.
Do you have any Pets? We have a wonderful dog named Maddie. She is the most patient creature on the face of this earth because she allows our five-year-old daughter, Mason, to dress her up in baby clothes, Superman cape, tiaras, whatever the theme of the day may be. She clearly does not like it, but it's all part of the job.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? I hope that they would know how much we really loved living there.
What's the best lesson you're learned through the years? I have learned that all of life's experiences, the good, the missteps, even failures get you where you are. There is no point in lamenting the past; it's what got you here. I feel very fortunate to be in the place I am now.
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Thoughtful
What was your first job? I worked at Diamond's Department Store, selling clothing.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Wastefulness. I hate to see anyone waste money, time, our resources. We only get so much.
What is your greatest indulgence? I adore fresh flowers.
What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? My parents afforded me the most wonderful gift of education. I got to follow my dream, to live In New York to study art, and travel abroad. That gift gave me so much more than a career. The experience has shaped my whole life. It is the most important gift I hope to give my daughter, the chance to chase her own dreams.
What is your current state of mind? Hopeful.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? I don't think I have done it yet.
What is your most treasured possession? My home. Being In the design world, you see the grandest of homes imaginable, you can take yours for granted; always wishing it were bigger, newer. Hearing about how many people who lost their homes this year reminded me of how much I really do love my home, imperfections and all. It is the place I am the happiest.
What is the quality you most like in people? Kindness
Favorite books / Writers? My favorite book Is Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
What is the best advice you have ever received? My Mom has always told me If you are so overwhelmed with all you have to do that you are afraid to even start, just do something, anything, even the laundry. It will make you feel better. She's right, it works. Action cancels fear.
That is one beautiful picture of you! Wow.
Lisa, this is Karen...I hope you will know me by name. How do you do it? Family, work and charity. Great going.