The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) announced the winners of its annual Of the Year Awards, which recognize members demonstrating outstanding commitment, passion, professionalism, and dedication to IIDA and the design community. This year’s Member of the Year is Corgan Senior Furniture Specialist, Sara Ables, IIDA. The 2023 Student of the Year, sponsored by OFS, is Auburn University Interior Design Student, Emily Hatcher, Student IIDA.

“To be recognized as a Member or Student of the Year is to be honored for service, as well as for excellence — and when I consider what is most relevant in today’s world and for the future, those two values rise to the top,” said IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO, Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA. “These IIDA Of the Year award honorees are uplifting their professional and volunteer communities, and showing their dedication to the design profession in unique ways.”

The IIDA Member of the Year Award recognizes and honors an IIDA Associate or Professional member of five or more years who has demonstrated volunteer service and dedication to assisting IIDA as it advances the commercial interior design profession and advocates for interior design excellence. The award includes a $7,500 cash prize and a complimentary one-year IIDA membership.

Sara Ables, IIDA, is a Senior Furniture Specialist in the Interiors Studio at Corgan in Dallas, Texas. Sara received a BFA in Interior Design from the University of North Texas. Since 2015, she has served in various volunteer roles with IIDA in the Dallas City Center and Texas Oklahoma Chapter. Sara is Past Director for the IIDA Dallas City Center and President-Elect for the IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Chapter Board through June 2024. She has focused on student and educator initiatives to bring awareness, access, and opportunities to the architecture and interior design industry through her service leadership within Corgan and IIDA, and volunteering with organizations like The Hip Hop Architecture Camp and the ACE Mentor Program. She served on IIDA’s inaugural Equity Council in 2021 and is a 2022 ASID Ones to Watch Scholar. 

The IIDA Student of the Year Award recognizes an IIDA Student Member who has significantly impacted their school’s interior design program through outstanding leadership, insight, and involvement. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by OFS, and a complimentary one-year IIDA membership.

Emily Hatcher, Student IIDA, is completing her degree at Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and minors in Studio Art and Graphic and Industrial Design. She has lived in Alabama, Louisiana, and Colorado, but considers her home to be Celina, Texas. Emily grew up loving all things artistic and looks forward to using her passion for creativity in her future endeavors in the design industry

Emily is involved in Auburn University’s interior design community, primarily through her involvement in AU Societies — the student chapter of IIDA and ASID. After being elected as co-president last spring, she facilitated initiatives aimed at enhancing professional development, fostering industry connections, and providing access to design resources.

Ables will be honored at IIDA’s 2024 Annual Meeting on June 9 at Venue SIX10 in Chicago. Hatcher will be honored at “Meet Us On Monday: IIDA’s Celebration on the Stairs” on June 10 at The Grand Stair and Marshall’s Landing during NeoCon. For further details about these member awards, please contact IIDA membership team at