Kate Reilly-Phillips worked her way up from the bottom over the past nine years at Benchmark Group.
In January, she became part of the production leadership team when she was promoted to project coordinator, overseeing three designers on large-scale retail projects throughout the country.
Her team works on Sam’s Club remodels, and Reilly-Phillips enjoys the fact that, while they are all the same types of projects, each store is a unique challenge.
“I just like working through the puzzles,” she said. “A lot of factors go into your final design. You have to make sure all the pieces are fitting together correctly, that you make the design fit in with what the client wants, that you design something that is accessible for handicapped people, and that you design something that makes the end user — the people that shop in that store — enjoy their time in the space and want to come back.”
Reilly-Phillips believes that the desire to create an experience for people relates to her anthropology degree (University of Oklahoma, 2001).
The space design component of her career came later, sparked by her experience in retail.
In 2007, she earned an interior design degree from the University of Arkansas and in 2014 got her National Council for Interior Design Qualification license.
Reilly-Phillips and her husband have two sons, ages 7 and 3. She says her children inspire her to succeed.
“I decided that I wanted to be somebody my kids looked up to and admired,” she said. “I want to lead by example and let them know that they can achieve whatever they want.”