Shatesha Holder discusses balancing a corporate role and launching her business


In an interview with rolling out, Shatesha Holder shares her journey of launching her interior design business, Staging Spaces Inc., in 2016. As one of Chicago’s renowned Black luxury interior designers, she creates beautiful, functional spaces across the US. Balancing roles as a wife, mom, corporate leader, and entrepreneur, Holder shares her insights on time management, leadership, and self-care — offering inspiration for aspiring designers.

How do you balance running your interior design business with your role as an Associate Director at a leading pharmaceutical company?

It’s challenging, Becoming a master of time management has become one of my greatest accomplishments. I try to maintain structure by dedicating a certain time to [each]. As a wife and mom on top of my corporate leadership role and [an] entrepreneur, I am constantly, wearing many hats and being pulled in many directions. I often take a pause to simply take deep breaths and recenter myself. The biggest help for me is writing everything down. It helps me stay on track.

Has your background in pharmaceuticals influenced your approach to design in any way?

Absolutely. I’ve been managing large corporate projects for the past 15 years. Those transferable leadership skills have been a huge benefit [to] my business. I [wear] the project manager hat in my interior designer role, whether [managing] contractors [or] the day-to-day process of my many projects. In the pharmaceutical world, you can count on a monkey wrench being thrown at you at any [moment]. It can be the same way in interior design. I’ve learned [always] to be prepared for the unexpected and always have an alternative plan for my projects.

Shatesha Holder discusses balancing a corporate role and launching her businessShatesha Holder discusses balancing a corporate role and launching her business
(Photo credit: Shatesha Holder, Staging Spaces, Inc.)

In your view, how does interior design contribute to improving health and overall well-being?

I [firmly believe] that being in a comfortable, well-decorated space can [positively] impact [one’s] mental health. Whenever I complete a project, my clients express their relief to me and how they feel so good in their spaces.

What self-care techniques do you employ, given the demands of your roles?

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my constant push for self care. Each month, I set aside time for a spa day, lunch alone, [and] a few days of doing absolutely nothing. My brain is always running full speed, so it’s important to take time to disconnect and regroup. As a daily practice, I have “me time” every morning where I take time to pray, meditate and have a moment of stillness. It’s critical for me to first pour into myself before I give all I have to others.

Shatesha Holder discusses balancing a corporate role and launching her businessShatesha Holder discusses balancing a corporate role and launching her business
(Photo credit: Shatesha Holder, Staging Spaces, Inc.)

As you handle responsibilities in industry and in the artistic realm, how has your leadership approach changed over time?

As a leader in both the corporate space and my business, I’ve become more firm on boundaries and having a straight forward approach. When starting in both roles, I was a bit more flexible in areas where I really shouldn’t have been. This is a big lesson you also learn while working with family and friends. It’s so important to have rules and an operation process in place, and to not bend those rules or go against your process. Staying true to your boundaries creates a great level of respect in the corporate and entrepreneurial realms. I always keep in mind that clients come to me for a specific reason, and if they can’t respect those boundaries then they aren’t the right client for me.





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