Five Questions With… Elayne Wood-Lauersen – NKBA


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Five Questions With… Elayne Wood-Lauersen

The professor at Fanshawe College has earned all eight NKBA | KBIS Specialty Badges.
Image courtesy of GettyImages.

By Dianne M. Pogoda

Elayne Wood-Lauersen, one of just six NKBA | KBIS members who have earned all eight Specialty Badges, believes in advancing her own knowledge as she shares her experience and wisdom with students each year. Wood-Lauersen is a professor of Art & Design in the Interior Design department at Fanshawe College, an NKBA Affiliated School in Ontario.

She started her career in computer programming, but after a few years, changed directions, went back to school to earn a degree in interior design and is now a registered interior designer in Canada. She was working in the industry when one of her former design professors asked if she wanted to come back to teach. She took the opportunity to return to the classroom — this time on the other side of the desk.

In nearly two decades as an educator, Wood-Lauersen has nurtured hundreds of graduates in remodeling, design and construction. “We encourage our first-year students to join NKBA’s Student Member program, they are taught Chief Architect design software and the NKBA Guidelines are required reading,” she said. “Our students participate in the NKBA Ontario Chapter’s Student Design Competition, and they’ve done very well.”

She chatted with NKBA about what the badges have meant to her own career and how they’ve helped with the Fanshawe program as well.

How did you come to earn all 8 badges?

After COVID, I took a sabbatical from the classroom to learn and enhance my professional development, to experience new things outside the classroom. All eight Specialty Badges are directly related to the Interior Design program in which I teach. During my sabbatical, I also worked with a construction firm, helping to build passive solar and net-zero energy houses. I continue to consult on residential projects, too.

What’s important about the badges?

As an educator, it’s so important to stay on top of industry developments and gain as much experience as possible, so I can pass it on to my students. The badges have helped me stay current and create additional resources for students. Many of our graduates go on to careers in interior design, kitchen and bath design, remodeling and construction.

Did you find any particular badges especially valuable?

The Remodeling badge was probably the most valuable because the information is not just about Canada, it’s about all of North America. We have a lot of international students, and many graduates go to other countries to work. So, this has helped me to provide a more global perspective and to challenge our students. For instance, I might assign a research project that requires them to source materials outside of Canada. This is important for them, to help them think more openly and globally.

Sustainability and Universal Design were also very useful, especially with all the aging-in-place renovation that’s going on, and the Sales & Marketing badge was also very relevant for our program. It has helped us learn more about how to teach the students about how to market themselves and how to get clients.

What advice do you have for anyone considering earning all eight badges? 

No matter what area of design or construction that you’re most involved in, learning all the terminology and nomenclature of these distinct areas is very valuable. It makes you more knowledgeable and allows you to work more seamlessly with other professionals.

What’s next for you?

Fanshawe’s program recently received a [government review]. We will be adding new content and revising some of our programs, partly based on the information in the Badge materials. For me personally, I still love residential design and construction, and I’ll keep teaching. It’s wonderful to see the students’ progress. When you see the light go on, it’s great — it’s “Yeah! You did it!” It’s very gratifying!

Just 34 NKBA | KBIS members have earned six or more Specialty Badges, with an elite six members earning all eight. Current badges include Floor Plans & Specifications, Lighting, Cabinetry, Sales & Marketing, Sustainability, Remodeling, Universal Design and Color. 

For a limited time, NKBA is making earning a badge even more accessible. Through June 30, 2024, NKBA members can take advantage of an exclusive promotion on all Specialty Badges for a discounted price of $99 — a savings of $100. For more information about the badges and to get this special offer, visit