A Recap of Our Inaugural NeoCon Talks 2023

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Chair of the Month

Katie Sargent
Katie Sargent
Katie Sargent is our Integrated Marketing Manager. Katie’s interest in the A+D industry began with her first internship at IA Interior Architects in 2010. Since then she went on to have experience with Jones Lang LaSalle, Kimball Office, Dealerships in the DC area and even heading up webinars for us! She received her degree in Business Management from Virginia Tech. Outside of work, Katie is a student earning an Associates Degree in Occupational Studies - Film and Television Performance from The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

Eight talks, two days. Our first year of NeoCon Talks is a wrap!

Work Design Magazine’s own, Katie Sargent and Elise Shapiro moderated the multi-topic series covering AI in firms, human psychology, motherhood in the workplace, students designing furniture and more. In case you missed them, here’s a recap and recording of each presentation.

NeoCon Talks Day 1:

A&D Student Innovation in Action – Sponsored by Formica

Katie, Tom, Meaghan and Dario on the 7th Floor of the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon’s 2023 Talks series.

Students: Dario Duran, NJ Institute of Technology; Meaghan Maass, Fanshaw College in Ontario CA; Tom-Eliott Monette, Cegep Sant-Jean-Sur-Richelieu in Quebec CA. Moderated by our own, Katie Sargent.

Attendees were able to meet Formica’s 2023 Innovation Competition winners and see the unveiling of the winner’s concept brought. These soon to be architects, interior designer, and product designers shared what they think the workplace should include to support them and their peers.

Listen to the full discussion below:

Advice on How to Thrive as a Designer

Katie and Kay during their NeoCon Talk.

With: Kay Sargent, HOK and Katie Sargent, Work Design Magazine

Our very own Workplace Design Nepo Baby, Katie Sargent had a fireside chat with her mom and workplace expert, Kay Sargent. In addition to lessons learned and advice for young designers, Kay discussed how to position yourself as a subject matter expert, how to become invaluable to your firms and clients, and more.

Watch Kay and Katie’s Talk here!

How to Infuse Empathy in Design

With: Rex Miller, Mindshift

2023 grads expect employers to be prioritizing their mental health. Rex Miller explored how the A&D community can exceed their expectations, taking us beyond mental health retreats and delved into the experiences A&D professionals can ignite through their space designs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to record Rex’s NeoCon Talk but you can check out Rex speaking on empathy in design at WorkSpaces 2022 here!

A Bi-Coastal Look at What’s Working

With: Angie Lee, Pembroke and Sascha Wagner, Huntsman Architectural Group

In this unusual time of hesitation and uncertainty, IIDA Leaders, Sascha Wagner and Angie Lee discussed how to tackle the unknown if we don’t know yet what will work from the developer side (Angie) and the designer side (Sascha). They discussed in-demand sustainable amenities, thriving urban environments, and the positive attributes coming out of the pandemic.

NeoCon Talks Day 2:

Emerging Leaders Forecast the Future

Matthew, Micki, Kristina and Steven on Day 2 of NeoCon Talks.

With: Kristina Kamenar, Micki Washington, and Steven Burgos with HOK. Moderated by Matthew Negron, Dauphin.

The group took a look at the most pressing issues facing designers and gained insights from three red hot markets: Miami, Houston, and Toronto. They discussed what the near and long-term future hold for designers and clients.

Listen to the full discussion below:

6 Science-Backed Ways to Design with All of Your Senses

Sally at NeoCon Talks Day 2.

With: Dr. Sally Augustin, Design with Science

All of us have a dominant sense that affects how we experience particular spaces but designing for just one is not enough. Dr. Sally Augustin took us through the dos and don’ts of combining multiple sensory inputs that effect the holistic experience when designing highly effective workspaces.

Listen to the full talk below:

Minding the Gap: Bio-based Materials in Practice

Jill on stage at NeoCon Talks.

Speaker: Jill Maltby-Abbott, BuildingGreen

Ready to up your use of bio-based materials? As an expert in vetting building materials for verified sustainability, Building Green’s Jill Maltby-Abbott presented the opportunities, gaps, and implementation actions to consider for an informed stance on:

  • The carbon opportunity: reduction to confirmed sequestration
  • Implementation challenges: durability testing, chemistry, maturing, and manufacturing
  • Rating Systems: LEED sourcing credit, the Living Building Challenge and Biophilic Design imperative, and others.

Listen to Jill’s full talk below:

Meet Your New A&D Assistants, ChatGPT & Midjourney!

Mark and Allison discussing AI in design.

Speakers: Mark Schwamel And Allison Stratton with Ware Malcomb.

Al is joining the workforce and Ware Malcomb’s Mark Schwamel and Allison Stratton took us through some live examples of how digital assistants are providing support and advancing the design process. We also delve into intellectual property issues of using AI.

Listen to Mark and Allison’s full discussion below:

A special thanks to Formica, Dauphin and flexxform for their support!

About NeoCon Talks

NeoCon Talks features thought-provoking 20-minute conversations between industry disrupters, leaders, and influencers. Hosted in partnership with Work Design Magazine, NeoCon Talks explored trending topics that challenge conventional thinking and spark innovation.

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