Who's Who of Professional Women

CAROL WAY CISCO

Carol Cisco

Carol Way Cisco has always known that she wanted to professionally pursue design and architecture. She began building cardboard houses at age 6, demonstrating an impressive concept of scale for her age, and has since erected an extensive career. Today—highly credentialled with Allied membership in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and as a WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) by the International WELL Building Institute—Ms. Cisco is the principal and owner of signature design + studio, LLC, in Kansas, where she excels in architecture and interior design, taking projects from the concept stage to installation and completion.

At signature design + studio, LLC, Ms. Cisco also provides her expertise as a consultant, sharing her knowledge and unique insights to help others complete their desired projects. She believes strongly in the widespread positive impact interior design can have in one’s life and home, noting that, conversely, the wrong design choices can lead to feelings of irritation, stress, sadness, and unease. Thus, Ms. Cisco takes pride in designing spaces in a manner optimized for health and wellness. Alongside her work at signature design + studio, LLC, she is the founder and president of Designing for Veterans, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit interior design organization that helps disabled military veterans through free interior design services. With this organization, she uses public funds, grants, and donations to organize volunteer efforts across disciplines and trades to support veterans in need.

Ms. Cisco aims to create a revolution in understanding how the built environment impacts health and wellness. She hopes to achieve this goal with her interactive book, which teaches the fundamentals of design and highlights how it affects people. As an experienced architect and interior designer, she enjoys sharing her knowledge through education and plans to lecture, travel, and speak at interior design schools. Moreover, Ms. Cisco is committed to spreading her message and empowering people to make informed design decisions. She has more than 40 years of research and work experience with constructing and designing built environments and has gained an unparalleled wealth of knowledge regarding the impact spaces have on health and wellness. The American Society of Interior Designers awarded her a research grant to investigate the subject area, noting that her work pioneered the organization’s efforts on this topic. Thankfully, Ms. Cisco is no longer the only professional involved in researching this vital subject.

In deserved recognition, Ms. Cisco received a National Focus Award for Health & Wellness Design from the American Society of Interior Designers in 2023. In 2022 and 2023, she won the organization’s Heartland Design Excellence Awards for her sustainable design and work on living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms, achieving multiple gold and silver awards. The American Society of Interior Designers also awarded her the Illinois Design Visionary Award, National Fundraising Project of the Year, and National Community Service Project of the Year, among numerous additional honors. Further, Ms. Cisco maintains membership in the organization’s Missouri West/Kansas Chapter.

Prior to her current roles, Ms. Cisco prepared for her career in architecture and interior design with coursework at the University of Northern Colorado, where she studied from 1970 to 1973. She founded her own firm, Carol Way Cisco Interiors, in 1981, finding independent success before joining the International Design Team in 1985 and working there for more than 20 years. Ms. Cisco later returned to higher education pursuits at the Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design. Committed to her professional development, she went on to earn her Allied ASID – LEED + WELL AP credentials. Among Ms. Cisco’s numerous accomplishments, she considers her work on the Mission Recovery project to be especially memorable because she was able to help a disabled veteran, whose mother called Ms. Cisco’s work “life-changing” for her son.

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