Zach Benedict, AIA, LEED AP, Principal at MKM will provide the keynote address at the inaugural Great Lakes Main Street Conference.
Stephanie Vancelette has been working with MKM for four years after graduating with a major in Interior Design from Ball State University. Her work in interior design has been selected to compete in multiple competitions hosted by the International Interior Design Association. It has been her aspiration to work with healthcare as an interior designer. She understands the effect that proper space planning, inspirational art, and color selection have on health and wellness. Stephanie collaborates with customers, architects, and contractors to provide an inspiring design while meeting the intent and budget. Her education, eagerness to learn, attention to detail, and customer service make her an ideal interior designer to have on the MKM team.
1. Where did you grow up?
Northwest country roads of Fort Wayne, Indiana, with lots of family close by.
2. Why did you get into architecture?
I wasn’t really interested in architecture, but interior design led me to architecture. My mom was always frustrated with me as a kid, because I continually rearranged the furniture in my room. There’s only so much you can do with five pieces of furniture and a ten by ten room. She guided me toward interior design. While studying at Ball State University, I learned the impact that intentional design can have on the recovery process for health issues or aging loved ones. I knew that I wanted to be a part of that process. I wanted to use my creativity to bring comfort and inspiration to people when they are at a very difficult state.
3. What makes you come into work every day?
The people I work with here at MKM architecture + design. I get to work alongside some of the most amazing people in Fort Wayne. We are the “behind the scenes crew,” but we’re an amazing knowledgeable group. I love the fact that we have a work family and that we’re able to be friends outside of work.
4. Where do you go when you’re looking for inspiration?
I usually don’t have to go far. With the internet, I’m able to travel all over the world with just a click. However, I’m at a lot of healthcare facilities and it’s easy to see what works and what doesn’t work with the spaces once the client has moved in. You can easily get inspired to design something better when you see how things aren’t working. I do like to think about what my grandmother would appreciate in a design. She was my greatest role model in how things could be better designed in the fact that she never said anything bad about anyone, just tried to figure out how to fix it.
5. How do you recharge during your free time?
Our family spends the summer weekends at the lake house. I also enjoy traveling with my husband to various places throughout the world. Each year we try to do a new adventure, somewhere outside the country. We’ve been to Mexico, Jamaica, and visited six countries in two weeks throughout Europe. But nothing says “recharge” like a whole day with toes in the sand!
6. Which projects are you most proud to have been a part of?
I am proud to be involved with the Community Health Systems projects. I loved how Dupont Pediatrics turned out and it was inspiring to see the joyful smiles of the staff and nurses during the ribbon cutting. Based on their level of excitement, I am confident the children in their care will receive wholehearted medical attention.
7. What are you passionate about right now?
Creativity has always been my passion. Whether it’s at work with designs, working on our house, designing and building furniture, stamping handmade greeting cards, or getting creative on how to reduce toxins and waste in our household. Most recently, I handmade all my Christmas cards for friends/family/coworkers, about 100 cards. I’m working on a lot of sewing projects as well. It’s been a challenge trying to get my grandmother’s sewing machine running to make clothes for my daughter. I absolutely love to be creative.
8. What’s your favorite place to visit?
My favorite place to visit would have to be someplace new. I hate being in a rut and staying in my comfort zone. Extend your bubble and take an adventure to someplace new. The world is huge, and I think it’s important to see and experience as much as possible. My travel bucket list keeps growing and I can’t wait to continue to check things off.
9. What’s your favorite quote?
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams
This is one of my favorite quotes, because whenever I’m having a trying day, my husband always says, “persevere with me”. Hearing that always makes me feel better and I remember that things could be a lot worse, but you can do your best to change it. Before I worked at MKM, I was really doubting my career choices. Patience and perseverance guided me to continue working toward my dream and I was able to find MKM, move back to my hometown and pursue my dream of working in healthcare and to positively impact people when they’re most vulnerable.
10. What’s the last good book you read?
I’m not an avid book reader, but the last book that I enjoyed was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
When I was younger and competing in 4-H I received Grand Champion award for my Peanut Butter Blossom cookies. I rarely make them now but can be convinced for a special occasion.