Re-Imagineers: Jeanne Noonan

1) You had a long and successful media career, but in your mid-50s, you just made a big pivot. Tell us about that.

I started my media career in 1995 and it was everything I hoped my career would be: creative, dynamic, and FUN work for incredible leaders who became supportive mentors. I worked hard and was promoted through the ranks for 25+ years. But during the pandemic, it became clear to me that my job was no longer creative or fun, and not just because we were all stuck working from home. I wasn’t happy. It was time to take stock. What did I want to do next? What was I passionate about that I could turn into my next career? Among the things that emerged was a long-held love for interior design that actually grew from my media job. I had launched a very successful annual marketing program that paired top designers with our home design magazines to create apartments reflective of each brand. I was exposed to and worked with the best designers in the country and loved being part of this innovative and rewarding project.  

2) What specific training or schooling did you do to help facilitate this second “rewire” career?  

In the fall of 2021, while the world was still somewhat remote, I decided to take an online Interior design course to see if it was really something I wanted to pursue.  It was…and I did!  I applied and was accepted into the interior design certificate program at the New York School of Interior Design. While still working, I began taking two classes asynchronously per semester starting in fall 2023 in order to complete my degree by June 2025.  With both daughters away at college and a supportive husband, I dove into my night classes, Historical Styles and Visual Concepts. For the first time in a long time, I felt challenged and invigorated. After 30+ years, I was back to attending lectures, studying and doing homework each week, adding many hours to my already heavy work week, but I couldn’t have been happier. I knew I was on the right path towards my second career. 

 3 )As you embark on this new reinvention, what’s your goal, your plan? Your favorite future on this new career path?

While my long-term goal is to become a practicing interior designer, my immediate plan on this new career path is to keep saying yes. In December 2023, a close friend who founded Studio SFW, a NYC-based architecture and design firm with two partners, asked if I would be interested in joining their team. They had grown exponentially and wanted to leverage my management skills to oversee the firm’s operations. That was my first “yes” and many more have followed. Help the lead designer select fabrics for a project: Yes. Go to the D&D building and sit on a dining chair to make sure it’s not too heavy: Yes. Assist with two installations: Yes. Fly to Palm Beach to supervise a move out: Yes. While I’m in school learning the more technical aspects of design, saying “yes” in an even more hands-on environment is exposing me to every aspect of the design process from start to finish. By saying “yes,” I’m opening myself up to what I don’t know, learning quickly, and becoming a valuable member of our team in both management and design

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