Colleen Baader: Creative Director, Creative Connector
Colleen Baader is the Creative Director of Design at Rieke Office Interiors, and she has been integral in starting and leading our in-house design team. Her personal philosophy is to use design to connect people to their environment, and this mantra infects her colleagues and her clients in the best way, every single day.
She earned her degree in commercial interior design from Illinois State University, and it was about that time that she heard that a guy named Todd Rieke was looking for a designer.
From 1995 to 2002, she made Rieke better. Then, she spent 10 years running her own design business so she could have more flexibility raising her daughters. She then spent a few years designing for Centegra Health System. Finally, in 2014, she returned to ROI to launch and lead our design team.
Lessons learned from owning her own business
Colleen wore many hats in her 10 years running Baader Contract Interiors. In that time, she learned something crucial: All designers can design, but not every designer can listen to clients. Truly hearing clients’ needs and goals is what separates a good designer from a great one.
Because she launched her own business, starting the Rieke design team was familiar to her. She was able to call on her support network of contacts she had built over the years, and she already knew how to hire and train great team members.
What’s a typical day look like for the creative director of design?
You won’t be shocked to hear there are emails. Lots and lots of emails. The highlight of Colleen’s day is anytime she meets with clients to get them excited about the possibilities that come with transforming their office. It’s a free-flowing conversation that’s filled with creative collaboration.
Colleen is absolutely locked in on growing Rieke by cultivating a sterling reputation for creative design, great service and inspiring workspaces. She takes great pride in ensuring Rieke’s custom solutions result in a happy client.
Rapid-fire Colleen facts
If she has free time, she’s probably spending it with her family. She and her husband, Jeff, have two wonderful girls, Kaylie and Emma.
If she could travel anywhere, it’d be somewhere tropical.
Her secret talent is her ability to bake.
If she wants to escape, she’ll reach for a great book. If she wants to unwind, it’s movie time. If it’s time for family fun, there’s nothing like a board game.
Thanksgiving is extra special to Colleen. There’s nothing like that annual party with extended family.
She loves to work out and stay organized, and she’d love to learn how to play the piano.
She counts meeting Jeff as a sophomore in college and watching her girls grow up as the best moments of her life.
2000 Fox Lane
Elgin, IL 60123-7814