Director of Interior Design, Interior Design Principal, Studio Leader

Colleen J. Nelson, CID                                                     

C:  612-220-4054 | |


Conscientious, high energy, results focused Design Executive recognized for excellent communication skills, motivated by a desire to be a part of a dynamic and progressive organization; known for defining and directing high-visibility projects through the alignment of strategy and business goals, positioning the customer’s brand through creative interior architecture / design solutions. Key expertise includes:  

Strategic Growth                             Business Development                                   Brand Management

Team Alignment                               Public Speaking / Presentations                 Client Relations

Collaborative Issue Resolution       Marketing / Communications                      Design Expertise             


 CARLSON REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP                                                                                  2007 - 2014

Director Interior Design

Led Interior Design Services for Carlson branded franchise hotels in the Americas with direct management responsibility for all aspects of interior architecture / design and talent development.

  • Liaised as design executive with architecture, real estate development and asset feasibility groups to integrate all required elements into hotel functional areas, aligning brand with product.
  • Led interior design team through two year effort to develop new generation Country Inns & Suites prototype. Enabled continued strong ROI and improved brand’s competitiveness measured by RevPAR index and unit growth, setting new design standard for the brand.
  • Created Radisson design DNA and style guide for franchise hotels in the Americas. Resulted in elevating brand presence and market share in the Americas, aligning with European counterparts.
  • Developed and administered brand standards, style guides, processes and protocols and property improvement plans utilized by internal and external teams. Reduced review / approval timeframe from 30-to-10 business days.
  • Provided leadership and management oversight of all interior design documentation that included construction documents, specifications, shop drawings and brand standards to launch new hotel prototype program in a record 9-month timeframe.
  • Conducted quarterly brand immersion sessions to approved design consultants communicating design style direction, service concepts and design submittal requirements for increased proficiency of onboarding new builds, conversions and renovations across all brands.
  • Created Radisson room styles program for franchise hotels in the Americas. Raised design quality and consistency of guestroom product for conversions, renovations and new build properties.

DURRANT GROUP                                                                                                                              2000 - 2006

Director of Interiors / Studio Leader, (2003-2006)                               

Led Interiors/Graphics Studio of interdisciplinary team of design professionals. Key responsibilities included guiding design projects, talent development, and national and international growth of the firm.

  • Created 12-month interiors / graphics studio strategic growth plan. Resulted in 20% increase over projected goals.
  • Led interior design development of a 225,000 square foot learning resources center for a Minnesota state university that redefined the “library as space”.
  • Directed design of a $52 million, 160,000 square foot courthouse in Hawaii, capturing state appropriated funding. Increased earned revenue by $300,000 for local office.
  • Developed design of forward thinking workplace concepts for a start-up law firm that mirrored its corporate values resulting in reduced facilities costs by 10- 20%.
  • Collaborated with design / marketing teams to create branded interior architecture and design of a 33-story $130 million high-rise condominium / mixed use property in the middle of a vibrant community on Kapiolani Avenue in Honolulu, HI.


Director of Marketing, (2000-2003)     

Led the planning, development and implementation of the firm’s marketing strategies, business development, communications and public relations activities.

  • Ensured articulation of desired image and position, assured consistent communication of image and position to all internal and external constituencies.
  • Developed, implemented and monitored processes and protocols necessary to a streamlined operation of the marketing/communications/public relations function.
  • Created comprehensive marketing and sales plan that defined firm’s objectives, target markets and growth to the top line. Contributed to ongoing strategy growth sessions, lead generation and marketing and sales management.
  • Partnered in implementation of a recovery operations plan with firm leadership by engaging $1.5 million backlog of additional revenue.
  • Generated first national 3-year strategic business plan for an interiors / graphic design practice in an international firm’s 30-year history to increase service mix, market share and revenue. Consequential roll-out in three of ten national offices first year of implementation.
  • Restructured marketing department, integrating image and marketing processes to align with new parent company’s identity and standards.

 DLR GROUP                                                                                                                                           1998 - 2000

Senior Interior Designer

  • Team member of new corporate practice group. Key responsibilities included space planning, design and implementation of project work with interdisciplinary team.

 The Leonard Parker Associates                                                                                              1996 - 1998

        Director of Interiors                                                                                                           

  • Led new Interior Architecture Studio of interdisciplinary team of design professionals.
  • Contributed to the growth of the studio and firm.
  • Served as lead designer on high profile projects.

KKE ARCHITECTS                                                                                                                    1994 - 1996

K-12 Facility Planner

  • Researched area demographics, grade configurations; provided space programming, educational planning and referendum support.
  • Created a 10-year facilities master plan for Minneapolis Schools District.


University of Minnesota, College of Design

Bachelor of Science, Interior Design


Certified Interior Designer, State of Minnesota

Professional Liability Education Program


2013 recipient of coveted “Carlson Order of the Rose” team award, given to team members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and performance with Carlson.

Board member, Honoring Women Worldwide. Currently serving as Events Committee Chair. HWW promotes women’s unique contributions, history, customs, societal advances and impact on humankind globally.                               

  • ID#: 86745
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN , 55419

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