BERKELEY COLLEGE ALUMNA MEETS THE CHALLENGE OF A NEW CAREER BY FOUNDING AWARD-WINNING DESIGN FIRM
“Refine your unique style. Then run with it and be fearless.” – Terri Fiori, Principal, Fiori Interior Design
Terri Fiori lives by the mantra, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” After 10 years in the workforce and while raising two young children, the Berkeley College alumna decided to return to the classroom to pursue a degree in interior design.
Today, she is the Principal at Fiori Interior Design, a boutique, award-winning firm based in Wyckoff, NJ, which has been featured by The New York Times, DesignNJ, the Star-Ledger and others.
“The classes I took at Berkeley challenged me to think outside of my comfort zone. The professors were very nurturing and instilled confidence in myself and my work,” said Fiori, who completed an Associate in Applied Science in Interior Design in 2001. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Communications, with minors in Marketing and Art, which she utilized during her previous career in product development.
Fiori’s time at Berkeley also introduced her to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) – a professional organization that seeks to advance the field and communicate the impact of design on the human experience – which she joined as a student member.
A three-time winner of ASID Design Excellence Awards, Fiori now serves as President of the organization’s New Jersey Chapter. Many Berkeley College students have followed in her footsteps, receiving scholarships and being named as finalists in the organization’s Student Portfolio Competition.
“Berkeley College prepared me not only for residential but also commercial design,” Fiori said. “I graduated with the tools that I needed to be confident in starting my own business. I use those tools every day in my practice.”
Fiori’s practice focuses on “forever homes” – helping clients realize their visions, from multigenerational families to empty nesters, and anyone who appreciates “great design.”
While Fiori said there have been challenges since the start of COVID-19 – specifically a shortage of materials that can delay a project’s completion, she also said the pandemic has had a positive impact on the ways people appreciate design. During the pandemic, 71% of workers were working from home all or most of the time, according to Pew Research.
“People finally understand how design impacts our lives,” she said. “Changing how someone feels in their home drives me to want to constantly improve my work.”
Fiori’s advice to students is to say “yes” to every opportunity. While still a student, a neighbor asked if she wanted to auction off her design services for a fundraiser, which led to her first project in Ridgewood, NJ. “That was how it started 20 years ago,” Fiori said. “Learn how to develop your systems and procedures, and refine your unique style. Then run with it and be fearless.”
Berkeley College celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2021. The theme commemorating this milestone is “Empowering Lives for 90 Years!” Visit the 90th Anniversary webpage for more information.
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.
Berkeley College has a campus in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge, and Woodland Park, NJ, and in Midtown Manhattan, NY, with more than 4,900 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online? serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for eight consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.
Photo Caption: Terri Fiori, Principal, Fiori Interior Design based in Wyckoff, NJ, and President, New Jersey Chapter, American Society of Interior Designers, graduated from Berkeley College in 2001 with an Associate’s degree in Interior Design.