5 Questions with Hayley

Shawn Barba

August 2, 2022

Hayley Daniels is a California Certified Interior Designer and has been with Dreyfuss + Blackford for nearly two years. She and her husband Chris, live in Folsom with their four-year-old daughter, Charlotte and their cat, Bandit. Chris is a middle school youth pastor at their church in Folsom and Hayley volunteers with the group as well. Hayley’s work experience entails largely of systems furniture specifications/planning as she worked as a Senior Designer at various furniture dealers prior to her joining the D+B team. With this experience, Hayley was brought into the D+B fold specifically for her furniture knowledge and skillset as she is currently solely working on all things FFE-related for the Richards Boulevard Office Complex (RBOC) project – a 1.2M SQ campus for the State of California Department of General Services.

1. How would you describe your job to a bunch of five-year-olds?

Seeing as how I will have a five-year-old in less than a year, I need to work on this explanation. For now, my answer is simply that I get to solve puzzles with furniture. As I am at D+B longer and am brought onto more projects, I will be able to gain additional experience outside of furniture and my answer will evolve to solving puzzles with other Interior Architecture-related things. The D+B group is full of intelligent, hard-working, and fun-loving individuals that I am excited to work with and glean from the wisdom that they have to offer.

2. What’s the best advice you can give to someone who just started their career?

My answer to this question is two-fold. First and foremost, advocate for yourself. No one else cares as much about what you do, where you go, and where you end up as much as you. You will always be your best advocate because you are the only one who 100% knows what you want. Don’t sell yourself short and always advocate for what you feel is right and what you feel you deserve. Settling only hurts you, your potential, and your growth.

This leads me to the second part of my answer – make sure to gain experience in all sorts of things related to your industry. When I was in design school, I interned at a furniture dealership (that I loved) and got hired through that internship. When thinking about my future, I had never dreamed I’d end up doing furniture, but that’s what happened. And I got stuck. And I didn’t advocate for myself. There is a running ‘joke’ on the dealer side of the industry that I was told while an intern – “Once you’re in furniture, you’re ALWAYS in furniture.” And so, I stayed and honed in on a very specific skill set that, when I tried to break away from the dealership side of the industry and into the architectural side, made it extremely difficult. I had lost so much of the software knowledge I had gained in school and would not have been an asset to a firm as a new hire.

I did finally make it out of the furniture world though and I can proudly say now that I am finally advocating for myself. I am re-learning those software skills that I haven’t used in years and am now working somewhere where I can explore all the different facets of Interior Design. I will not let myself be a one-trick pony any longer and therefore strive to dip my toes into anything and everything to gain more experience – even if it may not be something I enjoy in the moment.

3. What’s your favorite music genre?

So… I have been told that I have terrible taste in music. I like a little bit of (almost) everything. I was raised on country and oldies music and the country still runs deep. I also love some of “today’s hits” and songs from the 90s/2000s (because I’m a 90s baby). However, I’m a huge sucker for girl-band music (and I think this is where all that negative judgment comes into play!) and know all the words to every Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne song. If you hear me blasting the radio, it is probably to my “Michelle Branch” Pandora station! (Even D+B’s own Gus Fischer knows all the words to Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” so can you really judge me…)?

4. What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

Aside from spending lots of time volunteering with middle schoolers and chasing after my four-year-old, my family and I love going on walks (we live near the Johnny Cash Trail in Folsom) or driving to fun places to hike and explore.

I’m also a huge advocate (in my household) for not paying others to do things we can do ourselves, so there is almost always some sort of DIY project going on at our house. Last year, I started a new hobby and can now be found in my backyard tending to my garden and doing yard work blasting… you guessed it – Michelle Branch!

5. What skill do you think everyone should learn?

Communication. Communication is so important in both our personal and professional lives. From a personal perspective, being able to communicate in a relationship clearly and effectively (regardless of if a spouse, parent, child, extended family member, or friend) can keep a relationship healthy. Frequent communication also allows one to feel safe in a relationship. Things should be discussed and never be left unsaid so that no one is left to misinterpret or assume something incorrectly. All parties should always have an equal understanding when leaving a conversation.

From a professional standpoint, communication is the key to success. It is key to having a successful team that can work well and efficiently together – without drama. It is key to a successful project so that there won’t be confusion in terms of understanding the scope of work, the standards to be followed for completing tasks, knowing when deadlines are due and who is assigned to what, and important items won’t get dropped or overlooked. Communication is also key to your professional success. Advocating for yourself means being able to communicate what it is that you want, set goals, and seek out the information needed to be able to make it there. All these parts go hand in hand to make a company a well-oiled machine and it all comes down to communication – you communicate clearly, your team communicates clearly, projects go smoothly, and companies do well; all make it one step closer to whatever goals they have set in place.


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