RSP expands workplace team with strategic expertise
Kari Smith NCIDQ joins the team as a highly accomplished workplace designer and Activity-Based Work expert.
MINNEAPOLIS—April 29, 2021—RSP Architects has added a strategic workplace professional to its ranks, welcoming Kari Smith, NCIDQ to its Workplace Studio. The move deepens RSP’s workplace expertise, just as most of corporate America is wrestling with how to best and most efficiently navigate a return to the office.
“Kari brings added academic rigor to our process. She’s a great designer, but she backs that up with a fluency in data and analytics,” says David Serrano AIA, head of RSP’s Workplace Studio. “We know she’s going to bring a valuable perspective to our team. And at the exact moment our clients need it.”
As countless studies have indicated, the first signs of the great migration back to the office have begun. And, while much is still unknown about what that brave new world will be like, what is universally agreed is that the traditional office space will never be the same.
“At the core of this,” says Serrano, “our clients are dealing with massive change and disruption. We have always thought of the workplace as a strategic asset, but now we see it as an instrument of cultural change.”
Over the last 14 months, RSP has been working with corporate space users across the country to define not only what the new workplace will look like but how to handle the transition back without major disruption or employee disengagement.
“Business is at an inflection point,” says Smith. “And we know that most workers will operate on some type of hybrid model. Designing that model is one thing; handling its smooth adoption, explaining its strengths and assets, and empowering employees to control their work environment are the aspects that have intrigued me throughout my career.”
Kari brings more than 20 years of corporate interior design and change management experience to the architecture and design practice. Most recently, she has channeled her expertise into helping companies see how Activity-Based Work (ABW) can help them make the most of their office strategies.
Prior to her position as a workplace consultant at Herman Miller, Kari worked as a workplace strategist for General Mills, focusing on creating and implementing the company’s Activity-Based Working solutions. Her other client work includes Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, Black & Veatch, Delta Dental of WI, Ford, Indeed, Lincoln Financial Group, Microsoft, MISO Energy, Navy Federal Credit Union, TDC Companies, Schlumberger, and UMB Bank.
Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Minnesota. She is a certified Prosci Change Practitioner, holds an interior design certification with NCIDQ, and volunteers as an Interior Design student mentor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Kari is a member of IFMA and Workplace Evolutionaries Community.