Kristin Ledet, our Houston Office Practice Leader, is featured in a new Q+A interview with VoyageHouston. The piece touches on her career path, her current role, challenges she’s faced and those her inspired her along the way. The full piece is available online with excerpts below.
Kristin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Absolutely. I currently hold two roles at FKP/CannonDesign (we’re a global AEC firm that designs hospitals, education facilities, research labs and more) – I’m both the Houston Office Practice Leader and the Interiors Leader. Every day is exciting and busy. It’s really been that way since I moved to Houston and joined FKP 16 years ago.
When people hear I’m a designer they instantly think I spent my youth sketching and dreaming of color palettes – but that’s not my story. I wanted to be an actuary when I was growing up and spend my days surrounded by equations and statistics. I didn’t take my first art class until I was 19 and in college and I was just hooked.
Now, two decades later, I’m proud to say I’ve managed 4 Million SF of healthcare interiors projects and worked with several of the leading children’s hospitals in the world including Texas Children’s here in Houston. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to build the interiors practice at FKP during my career from a service line in its infancy to one that now contributes around 60% of our annual billings. That experience, coupled with the opportunity to constantly collaborate with scores of leading healthcare executives, staff, patients…. I never lack for inspiration.
As much as the business growth and accolades have mattered to my career, I’ve always been deeply passionate about creating healthcare environments focused on patients and their families. One day early in my career, I met a young bone marrow transplant patient and her mother who talked at length about the endless days in the hospital room. The mother motioned to her toothbrush, lying on the floor, and told me there wasn’t any place to put her things. That experience helped me see the patient room through their eyes, as essentially a home-away-from-home.
Some people spend large portions of their lives in healthcare facilities, I want to do everything I can to ensure they’re spending that time in spaces that help them heal, feel comfortable and as relaxed as possible during these stressful moments. Our team doesn’t just design and hope either. True to my childhood actuary dreams, we seek to quantify the effectiveness of our interior environments and have seen health systems and hospitals report 10%+ increases in patient satisfaction and/or likeliness to recommend. That’s a significant increase and is proof our work is paying off.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I certainly wouldn’t be who I am today without the dedicated support of my family and friends. I take great pride in the mentors along my career journey and continue to call them all friends today. The best mentors are those that take the time to help you improve in your journey.
My greatest mentor in the design community is Louise Nicholson Carter. As a respected designer in our community and successful art consultant she has certainly taught me the where to look for opportunity, drive a client to fulfill their dreams, all while demonstrating achievement of a balanced life for success and fulfillment.