Sallie Rowland Oral History Interviews


Part one

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SCARPINO: The recorder is on, we’re on the record, and my name is Philip Scarpino. I’m a professor of history at IUPUI and the director of the Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence Oral History Project. Today is May 20, 2008. I’m interviewing Ms. Sallie Rowland at the offices of Rowland Design in downtown Indianapolis. Ms. Rowland retired as CEO of Rowland Design in 2003. She’s also held volunteer leadership positions in a range of civic organizations. I’m going to work my way roughly chronologically through your career with a focus on leadership and I’ll also work into the interview our standard leadership questions. So, for the record, I want to ask your permission to record this interview, to transcribe the interview, and to deposit the recording and the transcription in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives for the use of the patrons.

ROWLAND: You have my permission to do that.

SCARPINO: Okay, and we’ll start with something easy and that is when and where were you born?

ROWLAND: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland at the height of the Depression, November 14, 1932.

SCARPINO: Who were your parents?

ROWLAND: My parents are Cleo Goff Wilkins and Jacob Howard Wilkins, both born in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

SCARPINO: Fort Wayne, Indiana. What did you father do for a living?

ROWLAND: My father was a salesman. A good deal of his life he worked for General Electric in sales, appliances, and after that he worked in subsequent selling positions—CertainTeed Roofing Company. He dabbled in real estate which was a disaster [laughing] but actually didn’t retire until he was 72.

SCARPINO: My goodness.


SCARPINO: What did your mother do?

ROWLAND: My mother was a bookkeeper before she was married. She was an only child. Then when my sister and I came along she pretty much stayed at home with us until it was time for my sister to graduate from high school and go to college. My father really didn’t think there was much point in a woman having a college education. It was a good old German school, you know, but mother said timeout, not so. So she went to work as a bookkeeper again, took up her old profession, and earned money to get my sister through college.

SCARPINO: Now was your sister older or younger than you?

ROWLAND: She’s older. She’s five years older.

SCARPINO: What’s her name?

ROWLAND: Molly Wilkins.

SCARPINO: Did you grow up in Baltimore?

ROWLAND: I was in Baltimore until I was about out of high school. I moved briefly to York, Pennsylvania and then back to Fort Wayne when I graduated from South Side High School. I was in Fort Wayne for the last year and a half, as I recall, of my high school.

SCARPINO: Did you move for your father’s work?

ROWLAND: Actually, my mother was an only child and her parents were in ill health, and it was to some extent to come back and take care of them. My father was in a position where he could either stay with the company in a different capacity than he had been or he chose that as the time to come back to Fort Wayne too.

SCARPINO: To move on to something else?

ROWLAND: Yeah, move on to something else, right.

SCARPINO: You mentioned, I think, you went to three different high schools?

ROWLAND: Well, yeah, if you count—in Baltimore, junior high school is the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade, so the freshman year of high school is in what they call junior high school. Then I was in York, Pennsylvania and then back to Fort Wayne. So I was in three different high schools.

SCARPINO: Were you a good student?

ROWLAND: I was a really good student in Baltimore. [laughing] Actually, it was probably, you know, in your life if you run into a handful of teachers that make a difference in your life, that was the place. When I, we moved from Hagerstown, Maryland to Baltimore when I was, I think, in the fifth grade. When I got to Clifton Park which is where the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades were, I was kind of a goof-off, and these teachers that were at that school were the most fantastic bunch of teachers I don’t think could ever assemble in one spot, including the principal who set the stage for it. In math class we had these exams, spot quizzes, almost weekly it seemed like. If you didn’t pass them you had to take them home and have your parents sign them. Well I was flunking so many of them I started forging my mother’s signature [laughing] and one day, not being real smart, I went back over my mother’s signature once and the teacher said wait a minute Sallie. What’s going on here? And she allowed as how she thought it might be easier if I’d just learn the stuff. They were just a marvelous bunch of supportive—and I went from being this goof-off to when I got out of there I had straight A’s. But I never had that good of teachers since.

SCARPINO: You know, when I was doing some background reading on your career I actually ran across that story and when I read it, you indicated that the teacher said to you wouldn’t it be just easier to do the homework. Then you went on to conclude that as you became a business leader that you continued to stress doing the homework.


SCARPINO: That you urged your employees to be prepared with strong client presentations and so on.

ROWLAND: That’s true, yeah.

SCARPINO: So is there really a direct connection back to. . .

ROWLAND: . . .Oh yes, oh yes. I mean the ramifications of not showing up prepared to those classes was just absolute humiliation. I mean it just was ridiculous. You wouldn’t think of going in there unprepared and, you know, it was so hard, but I learned so much, which is the way I think it usually is. They took such individual interest and pride in what you were accomplishing. You know, that kind of thing which I hope also I have done in my career for people that work for me.

SCARPINO: Do you think it’s part of the reason your firm was so successful?

ROWLAND: Well, I hope so. I’ve always said to everyone that comes to work here, your only limitations are your own. You show me that you can do something and you get to do it. But you need to do it well. [laughing]

SCARPINO: I can hear your teacher telling you that when you look at me. [laughing]

ROWLAND: That’s right.

SCARPINO: Did you consider yourself to be a leader in high school?

ROWLAND: No. No, I don’t, no, not at all. I don’t know that that was necessarily, you know, it was such a difference between Baltimore and when I got to York, Pennsylvania, I mean the quality of teaching just, they weren’t even in the same ballpark. I had, first of all in Maryland, you were taught a certain respect. You always addressed your teachers as Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith or yes ma’am or no ma’am, no sir. You didn’t just say yeah, no, or whatever. So that was just inherent. Maybe that’s a little of the southern part, I don’t know. But when I got to York, Pennsylvania and this is 50 miles up the highway, across the Mason-Dixon line, I was in study hall and I got called down for—apparently I was talking or something I wasn’t supposed to be doing—and the moderator, the teacher that was in there said, you know, wanted me to behave and I said yes sir. And he said don’t get smart with me young lady. So here yes sir went from being required and a respect that you showed your elders to being a smart aleck. Isn’t that interesting? That’s 50 miles up the road.

SCARPINO: Do you think that respect for other people is a quality of leadership?

ROWLAND: Oh, yes. Big time, yes.

SCARPINO: How did you as a leader show respect for those who worked for you or your customers?

ROWLAND: Well, I think, let’s talk about the customers for one thing, because without the customers you don’t have any employees.

SCARPINO: That’s true.

ROWLAND: My feeling was to really listen to the customers and get a really good grasp of what they were all about and what they wanted or what they thought they needed in order to succeed in what we were doing and then interpret that in the best way to coincide with the budget that they had, the time that they had to spend, and to actually push them a little bit on making it better than they might possibly have imagined to help them do, to succeed better. I about hit the nail all the time. My feeling was that my job was to interpret what they were all about not what I was all about. Which does, I think, make a difference in this design field because there are certain designers and architects who have a certain look. You can almost walk in the place and tell who did it because they use consistently the same colors and materials. The look is there. If you want to buy that look that’s fine. But that was never me. I felt my job was to make it look like the client. That still is the philosophy here because not everybody is alike, and so I would regard that as an important part of our success is that we designed to understand the client and interpret what their needs were rather than looking to see if this was something we can get on the front page of a interior design magazine or something of the sort. Check the ego at the door.

SCARPINO: Although you did make the front page of such magazines more than once.

ROWLAND: Yes we did, but that was the byproduct, not the goal.

SCARPINO: The book that I found that quote in from you about your math teacher telling you it would be better to do the homework. . .

ROWLAND: . . .Uh huh. Just do the homework. Get on with it, girl.

SCARPINO: . . .than to fake it with your mom’s signature. The book, for the record, is called The Inner Work of Leaders: Leadership as a Habit of Mind. Barbara Mackoff and Gary Wenet, and it came out in 2001.

ROWLAND: Really?

SCARPINO: You’re one of 65 people quoted in this book.

ROWLAND: Is that right?

SCARPINO: But I noticed that their argument was that a key aspect of successful business leadership is something they called habits of mind, that is, kind of a combination of family experience and role models and life experience that shapes the way a person thinks.


SCARPINO: Do you think that leadership has anything to do with habits of mind?

ROWLAND: Well, yes. You know, I think that the way you’re brought up has an awful lot to get those established well and early, and my example from both of my parents of how to conduct yourself—honesty, reliability. Frankly, we were expected to work, earn our way so far as getting that allowance is concerned. It wasn’t a gift, we had to earn it. Those are just the basics that lead you all the rest of the way, and so certainly—my mother was an amazing person too and she was, you know, and the interesting part of my mother is she grew up during the suffrage movement and we never talked about that. I thought since then, why didn’t she ever talk to me about that?

SCARPINO: Was she a suffrage advocate?

ROWLAND: No, apparently not. Although she drove a car before women were driving cars. She did all these things that maybe they weren’t supposed to do. But I never heard her talk about getting the vote for women. Now she became the first president of the Fort Wayne Allen County Historical Society. She was a genealogist. She was the person who talked Fred Reynolds, who was the librarian in Fort Wayne, into establishing the geological, genealogical division which is just huge now.

SCARPINO: Right. Very well-known, yes.

ROWLAND: Huge in Fort Wayne.

SCARPINO: Your mom started that?

ROWLAND: My mother got, yes, and he acknowledged that she was the one that got him started. She wrote articles about genealogy in the Fort Wayne papers. So she was quite an inspiration, frankly. I remember when we were, I think when we were still in Baltimore, so it must have been maybe in the ninth grade or something and she said Sallie we need to figure out what you ought to do career-wise with your life so that you can make a good living as a woman. So this is in the forties, okay. So we’d get the newspaper out, The Baltimore Sun, read through the want ads to see what positions were open for women and what they paid and whether they were interesting work. So Mother and I decided that I should be a buyer in a department store because women could be buyers. They couldn’t be the merchandise managers yet, but they could be the buyers and they made a good living and so there was a—so that frankly is what I studied in college.

SCARPINO: That’s why you became a business major.

ROWLAND: That’s why I became a business major.

SCARPINO: I’m going to ask you a few questions that sort of play off the idea of leadership as a habit of mind, and the first one’s kind of a big question.

ROWLAND: Uh huh.

SCARPINO: You were born in 1933 as you. . .


SCARPINO: . . .’32, as you pointed out in the depths of the Depression.

ROWLAND: Uh huh.

SCARPINO: You were about nine when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the country entered World War II. You were about 13 when World War II ended and following the dropping of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and then of course you rocketed through your teenage years in the Cold War.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: I’m wondering, did your experiences growing up in the Depression and World War II and the beginnings of the Cold War have any impact on the leader you became or your identity in the leader that you became?

ROWLAND: Well, I think that there certainly was an awareness of frugality. During the war we were all on rationing—shoes, sugar, meat, gasoline, tires, you name it. So you became very aware of things that were important and you were conscientious about that sort of thing. So I don’t, I think it was a point in time where you just didn’t take things for granted and that’s probably good. That probably has bode

well for me, still does. To some extent I still stop and agonize over whether I should do some of these things or not. So I do think that that is important in the building of character. I guess I didn’t really remember the Depression. You know, I was an infant. I often thought I must have been a mistake because why would anybody in their right mind have a baby in the middle of the Depression. But I was never led to believe I was a mistake. [laughing]

SCARPINO: Your parents didn’t let on if. . .

ROWLAND: Didn’t let on if it was the case, that’s right. So I don’t remember that except that we were fortunate that my father was employed. He was working with General Electric then so we were not on the breadline or anything of that sort. I became more aware of the impact of what was going on in the world more in the second World War.

SCARPINO: During the years that you were growing up and attending middle school and high school, besides your mother, were there any individuals who had an influence on your development? You mentioned the teachers in your middle school.

ROWLAND: Well the teachers, certainly. They were fantastic. Even one of the teachers as extracurricular—they probably wouldn’t let them do this—she, if you could get your parents’ permission, she arranged for some of us to take our first airplane ride. Imagine that.

SCARPINO: I don’t think you’d get that by the insurance company now.

ROWLAND: I don’t think you could either, and then they were small planes. You know, they just went up over, flew over the Chesapeake Bay and everything so you could get a sense of orientation as to where you were. She would, she took a bunch of us to Washington, D.C. to see things that you never see in Washington, D.C. Not the usual.

SCARPINO: Such as…?

ROWLAND: Well we went to a convent. We just went to places that had a different story to tell. They were just an extraordinary bunch. The principal was so strict. She was no nonsense lady. I remember the prom. There was this big long list of rules as what you could do and what you couldn’t do just to even come to the prom. When you were going from one class to another you had to carry your books in your right arm, walk against the wall, single file. I mean there was no horsing around.

SCARPINO: This was a public school?

ROWLAND: This was a public school. The girls had one playground; the boys had the other playground after lunch. I mean it was, there was no hanky-panky going on, but at the same time, as long ago as that was, they had the girls take electricity and woodshop. This is a long time ago. And they had the guys take home economics. So we as girls learned how, I learned how to wire a doorbell. I can still wire a lamp. Learned how to put things together with dowels and screws and how to finish. I mean all things that, frankly, I’ve used. The guys learned how to sew buttons on, iron their pants, make cookies. You know, things which, though now I suppose they do it all the time. But if you think how long ago that was, that was very progressive thinking within this very strict environment. It was, I was blessed to have been there.

SCARPINO: You mentioned the teacher that took you to Washington to places that were off the beaten path like the convict, convent rather, and you used the phrase—stories that places tell.

ROWLAND: Uh huh.

SCARPINO: Has that been a part of your character as you got older to pay attention to the stories that places tell?

ROWLAND: Well I’m interested in history a lot, I really am. So I’m always inquiring about—I’m very active in and I’ve always been interested in historic preservation. Go on a lot of national trust tours. So I am very much interested in what took place in certain things and why and what was going on there when something else was going on someplace else and how might they have influenced each other. Still trying to learn all that.

SCARPINO: Other than the big, big order events—we talked about the Depression and World War II. When you were growing up in middle school and high school, were there any events that took place in your life that influenced the leader you later became?

ROWLAND: (pause) I don’t know that there was anything world-shattering except I can tell you that when you go to three different high schools it makes a different person out of you. That probably, if you look at the little bit bigger picture, oh there might have been incidental things that you would recall, but that’s tough. First of all, in high school most of the kids have their own club or group of people that they know. When you got to Fort Wayne for heaven’s sakes, they all went to grade school together. It was tough to break into those or to even know where you belonged. Because, well if you were beautiful, if you were beautiful or very rich or the combination thereof, you’d sort of get in all right, but when you were Sallie Rowland, Sallie Wilkins, who had neither money nor good looks, you’re just kind of an ordinary person. So you learned how to get along with people. You learned how to, to learn about people. Because very often the ones that were the most solicitous of you right off the bat were not necessarily the ones that you wanted to get to know. So you learned some caution. I think it does take a different kind of personality to have to make friends with strangers at that young age. I look at my kids who have gone all the way through, from practically living in the same house and [laughing] it looks easier to me.

SCARPINO: Do you think that those qualities that you were forced to learn about how to evaluate people and make friends and get along. . .

ROWLAND: Yeah, big help. I think so. Absolutely.

SCARPINO: Let’s see. You must have graduated from high school about 19. . .

ROWLAND: . . .50.


ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: Okay. And you would have started college then in the fall of ’50?

ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: So you graduated from high school and you attended college at Indiana University in Bloomington.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: Where you majored in business with a minor in interior design.

ROWLAND: That’s right.

SCARPINO: Why did you pick IU?

ROWLAND: I loved it.

SCARPINO: So you did a campus visit.

ROWLAND: Did a campus visit. I had, one of the groups that I joined in Fort Wayne was the Girls Scouts, the Mariners, as it was. Mariners in the middle of Indiana. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? But anyway there was a Mariner troop, and two of my friends that were in there were a year ahead of me in school and when they got to IU they invited me to come down for a weekend and I just fell in love with the place. It’s a gorgeous campus, there’s no question about it. At that point in time the residence halls were the old Memorial Hall and Forest Hall, you know, they were right in the heart of the campus. Now the campus is grown so that—the old part of it is still sensational but the outskirts aren’t quite that fascinating. But I just was intrigued with it. That was where I wanted to go, and when I got there as a freshman, well that was, you know, I went through Rush.

SCARPINO: Sorority Rush.

ROWLAND: Sorority Rush. I had been entertained all summer before by one of the sororities that I was interested in joining and they dropped me the next to the last night. It was a devastating thing. [laughing] I’m on the phone with Mother, you know. What should I do? That was another, that was quite something. I ended up joining the same sorority that these girls that had been my Mariner Scouts belonged to because I knew them.

SCARPINO: Which sorority was that?

ROWLAND: Delta Zeta. And continue to have very, very good friends there. I mean it was fine.

SCARPINO: You had a good experience?

ROWLAND: Had a good experience, that’s right, good experience. But that was rather traumatic to get dumped the next to the last night.

SCARPINO: Throughout your time in high school, did you always believe you were going to go to college?

ROWLAND: Oh, yes.

SCARPINO: How did your father feel about that?

ROWLAND: Well I think after he found that my sister graduating from college could get a very nice paying job, probably getting close to what he was making, there was no argument.

SCARPINO: So he changed his tune.

ROWLAND: Changed his tune, that’s right.

SCARPINO: Was your interest in attending college throughout high school, was that similar to or different from most of the other girls that you knew? Were most of the girls that you knew headed for college or not?

ROWLAND: They were. They were all, and I think they all went to college. That’s interesting because neither of my parents went to college. But there was never any conversation about not going to college and as I pointed out, Mother and I were plotting out my career. So I had to get on with it.

SCARPINO: Sounds like an exceptional woman.

ROWLAND: Yes, she was.

SCARPINO: What attracted you to be a business major?

ROWLAND: Well, I think I’m a pretty well organized person. I think that I have a lot of common sense which I think is very good in business. I had worked at Wolf & Dessauer in Fort Wayne between my junior and senior years of college.

SCARPINO: Wolf and Dessauer?

ROWLAND: Wolf and Dessauer, that was the department store in Fort Wayne which was subsequently was purchased by Ayres.


ROWLAND: And I loved it. I really loved it. I was, and fortunately I was working for a buyer who would let me have some free range and I became curious about what merchandise cost and what kind of markup it was. They let me do everything. They even had me come substitute for the president’s secretary when she went on vacation. I got in there and I, what am I doing here? He gave me a speech that he had to make. He said, would you type this up? Well there were so many grammatical errors and things and I said, should I write it correctly or the way he’s got it? It was a real learning experience.

SCARPINO: So what did you do? Did you correct his grammar?

ROWLAND: Oh, I corrected it, yeah.

SCARPINO: But it sounds like you were learning the business from the inside out.

ROWLAND: I was learning the business and I truly, truly liked it a lot. I thought it was quite invigorating and that was another one of the things that I observed about the people that were in that business is they were very vital and they were energetic. They could see, you could see results from what you did.

SCARPINO: You were also more or less doing what your mom had helped you pick out in the newspaper in Baltimore.

ROWLAND: That’s exactly right. I was on the path. [laughter]

SCARPINO: So is that, as you were going through IU as a business major, is that kind of where you imagined you’d end up, as a buyer in a department store?

ROWLAND: Yes. Now I did, when I was I think at the tail end of my freshman year, you could take these tests, aptitude tests, that would show maybe what you were, what kind of profession you should go into. I took one of those down at IU and it showed an interest in interior design which frankly, I had always had, and that was another thing my mother had encouraged me with. I mean I had books of pictures of interiors that I had cut out and she let me do my own room and all this kind of stuff. So I had an interest in that. But at that point in time you could not major in interior design at IU. If you wanted to major in it you had to transfer to Purdue. Well, I’d just gone through the agony of this sorority thing and everything. I wasn’t going to go through that again. So I said okay, we’ll figure out another way to do this. So that’s why, I have to confess to one little thing too. If you took it in the School of Arts and Sciences where you were in the home ec school and then got your business courses as electives, you had to take a foreign language, and I signed up for French class at 7:30 in the morning. I was only there for a week and I said I’m going to major in business.

SCARPINO: So the 7:30 a.m. French class did not agree with you.

ROWLAND: The 7:30 a.m. did not agree with me. Didn’t have to have that foreign language in the School of Business. As it turns out, it was a good move to make. Frankly, it really turned out very well because I could get as much in the way of interior design as that school offered and got a lot more useful education in business.

SCARPINO: So, partly as a result of this unhappy 7:30 a.m. experience, you. . .

ROWLAND: . . .I ended up in the School of Business.

SCARPINO: . . .you decided to major in Business and minor in interior design.


SCARPINO: What kind of courses did you take as an interior design minor?

ROWLAND: Anything you could find. There was a, in the School of Home Economics there were interior design courses. Mildred Rice was my teacher. She was the only teacher in interior design. Took every course that she offered. And there were other courses that they had on—oh, they were kind of allied to some chemistry things because they were fibers and all sort of thing which you needed to know something about. So I took as much as I could over there. But I even actually found some good classes in the School of Business. They had a class, a real estate professor in the School of Business had some good courses where you actually watched a building being built and you learned how to plumb lines and you learned all kinds of things. Again, I’m the only girl in the class and we’re out there on the construction site trying to—but that was excellent. That particular professor was going to build himself a house and so we used that class to, for the drawings, and I didn’t think his drawings were very good. I changed things around and he built it my way.

SCARPINO: Is that right?


SCARPINO: Is the house still there?

ROWLAND: It’s still there. That’s right. So that’s kind of fun.

SCARPINO: Were there very many female business majors?

ROWLAND: No. No. There were not.

SCARPINO: Were you the only one?

ROWLAND: No, no. No, but I would say, I don’t know statistically how many women were in the School of Business then, but I would say maybe there were a dozen of us.

SCARPINO: Out of several hundred?


SCARPINO: Did you, did that present an opportunity or a challenge?

ROWLAND: It was kind of a challenge. It was both. It was both. It didn’t bother me.

SCARPINO: What was the challenge?

ROWLAND: Well, you weren’t supposed to be in there, and you probably really don’t understand this stuff. You know, that male chauvinist stuff. We got a good deal of that.

SCARPINO: I mean did people, for example, ask you were you there to get your M.S. degree and that kind of stuff?

ROWLAND: No, I didn’t get too much of that. I really didn’t. I was serious about my education. I was working hard at it. I really was.

SCARPINO: Do you think that the experience of having been one of a few female students in a mostly male field shape the business leader you later became?

ROWLAND: No doubt. No doubt it became the exception—I mean the rule rather than the exception. When you stop to think about it, see when I was a senior—this may be getting ahead of what you want to know, I don’t know.

SCARPINO: It’s okay.

ROWLAND: I purposely did not interview any firms from Indianapolis because I didn’t want to live here. I’d been up here and I thought it was pretty bad. [laughter]

SCARPINO: What didn’t you like about it?

ROWLAND: Well it was boring and it was kind of ugly. I mean it was just a nothing town. Fort Wayne was better at that point in time, believe it or not. So, when companies that came to interview in the School of Business and I was interviewing obviously for something in the merchandising field with the department stores, I would ask whether they had any openings in their interior design department. About the best you could do there was maybe get in the furniture end of it or something. So that was going nowhere from the standpoint of my interest in design but my interior design prof, Mildred Rice, called me in one day and she said Sallie, there’s been a man in here from a company in Indianapolis called Business Furniture Company and they’re looking for someone to do color coordination for offices and I want you to go for that interview. And Mildred Rice was one of these that you said, yes ma’am.

SCARPINO: And I’ll note for the record that you also saluted. [laughter]

ROWLAND: That’s right. So I didn’t move on that fast enough to suit her because I think it was like a few days later she wanted to know how that interview went. Well I hadn’t even called them yet. So I got on the stick and called and went up for an interview and it was Business Furniture Company which was down here on Maryland Street. They were looking for someone to do executive office interiors. Well, I’d never heard of it. I mean that’s how, this is 1954. I had never heard of it. All interior design was all residential and this was just an avenue I’d never seen.

They had one whole floor of their furniture space down there that had been designed by a gentleman out of Grand Rapids who was affiliated with Stow Davis Furniture Company and that’s the product they were selling. These offices were beautiful. You know, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Of course the opportunity was something that just never—I had already accepted a job with Wolf & Dessauer in Fort Wayne. I just hadn’t put it in writing. I just couldn’t believe it. So I got on the horn with the parents and I told them what it was about and they said Sallie, go for it. Try it. If it isn’t going to work you can always go back to where you were. Which was kind of interesting because I knew they were anxious for me to come back to Fort Wayne and so here, and I was going to end up in Indianapolis which, (sigh) so I took the job. Of course I was just very fortunate to get in on the ground floor in an industry that was just starting. And it was just the beginning of it. I learned a lot. I got a lot of extra training from that affiliation with the Executive Furniture Guild in Grand Rapids. It was just a wonderful, wonderful opportunity. So that went from, you know, I was the first one through the door doing that. I think I had about eight or ten people working for me when I left there. We had grown that interior design.

SCARPINO: So you really had become a department leader by the time you were ready to leave.

ROWLAND: Yes, right, I was the vice president of the company.

SCARPINO: I want to ask you just for the record because I think people will find it to be interesting. This would have been what, 1955?



ROWLAND: Uh huh, I went there.

SCARPINO: What was the starting salary?

ROWLAND: Fifty bucks!


ROWLAND: A week. Fifty dollars a week and you know, benefits, what’s that? You know, there were none of those that I recall.

SCARPINO: I mean was that a good salary in 1954?

ROWLAND: Yeah, yeah. Fifty dollars. Well, that’s probably what I would have gotten at Wolf and Dessauer or maybe 55, I don’t know. But that was sort of the—isn’t that hard to believe, fifty dollars a week. Then they complained because my wardrobe didn’t look very professional. You know, I’m still in sweaters and skirts or whatever from college.

SCARPINO: College student clothes.

ROWLAND: And I needed to look like a designer. Well I didn’t have any designer clothes. So my mother, bless her heart, she’d buy the Vogue patterns and make some dresses for me and send them down.

SCARPINO: My goodness.

ROWLAND: Yeah, she was a great lady.

SCARPINO: I want to go back and ask you a couple more questions about your time in Bloomington.

ROWLAND: Uh huh.

SCARPINO: You mentioned how you got interested in interior design and why you ended up minoring because you couldn’t major there but was that a major, or a minor, that was open to women in late 1940s or 1950s?

ROWLAND: Interior design?


ROWLAND: I think so.

SCARPINO: I mean were there quite a few women taking those classes with you?

ROWLAND: Well, they were all small classes. I’d say there were maybe eight or ten of us in the class.

SCARPINO: So 50% or more or less?

ROWLAND: Probably half of them were women. And a lot of that might be just women’s natural interest in interior design which was mostly residential. But she was a good teacher. We had to build a model of this house we designed. But I didn’t learn how to draw perspective. I’m still really not any good at it but when I went to work in Business Furniture Company, a salesman came in and said would you draw a perspective of this bank interior. And I go, perspective of the bank interior. So you go to the library and get a book on how to draw perspective. You know, you just educate yourself along the way.

SCARPINO: It sounds to me like one of the traits that’s distinguished you, even when you were quite young, was initiative and willingness to educate yourself.

ROWLAND: Yeah. Curiosity.

SCARPINO: Curiosity?

ROWLAND: Yeah and I’m a hard worker. I’ve always been a hard worker.

SCARPINO: Did you meet people at Bloomington, in college, who had an influence on the leader you later became? You mentioned your design teacher.

ROWLAND: Mildred Rice, probably. We did even correspond after I left school for a while. In the school, I guess I better not say anything since it’s getting published, but you know, in the School of Business, undergraduate, you had mostly, didn’t have any full professors. Maybe when you were a senior you might have gotten one, but they were pretty much the grad assistants and some of them were terrible, frankly. I had a statistics professor that was Greek. He’d say you cupulate [sic] the frequencies and substract, [sic] you know. So you go through this class—I mean, I got to the final it had all these—then you take the final. I looked at that final exam and I went back out to see if I was in the right room. Because there was nothing on there that looked at all familiar with what we’d been taught the whole semester. There was not a lot of close attention in the School of Business until I got to some of these real estate classes and things got a little bit tighter when I was in my senior year. Most of that one-on-one closer relationship came from the home ec classes.

SCARPINO: Were you involved in extracurricular activities when you were a student at Bloomington? You mentioned your sorority.

ROWLAND: Yes. I was fairly active in the sorority. I belonged to a Home Economics honorary. But not a whole lot more than that.

SCARPINO: Did you think of yourself as a leader when you were in college?

ROWLAND: Maybe a little bit within the sorority. I ran for president and got defeated. [laughter] So I guess not enough people thought I was.

SCARPINO: Just one more sort of background question. Just because I’m not sure where to put this in, but I want to get it in the record. How did you meet your husband?

ROWLAND: Aha! That was fun. I met him in a snowstorm.

SCARPINO: Oh my goodness.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm. I was working for Business Furniture Company. My husband was working for an architectural firm. He was, my husband went to Purdue. He was a, he majored in mechanical engineering. So he didn’t have a degree in architecture and in those days in order to stand for the exam you had to work for 10 years as an apprentice under a licensed architect. So he was working for Alden Miranda and one of our mutual clients was Grain Dealers Insurance Company which was up here on Meridian Street, and we were doing some remodeling of their offices. They were the architects on it, we were the furniture source, and the particular suite of furniture which was Stow Davis again, was designed by a guy by the name of Jack Bisetti and he was coming down to Indianapolis for a reception to meet, to introduce this line of furniture, and we had invited all these architects in town to come.

Well, I think about I don’t know noon or something the skies opened up and it was snowing and snowing and I think Ayres even closed at three in the afternoon or something. Everybody was heading for the hills. And we were getting panicky. Was anybody going to show up at this reception? Some of the salesmen were calling all of their contacts to try encourage them to come and Wayne Guthrie who was our salesman called Dick and persuaded him to come. Well, we had about four floors of furniture display there. There were not a whole lot of people there but somehow or another most of the time went by and I hadn’t spotted Dick until towards the end and here was this—he was a tall, handsome guy down there—and I said to Mary Lou Langley who is our marketing person, I don’t think I’ve met that guy yet. He looks like a live one. She said well let’s take care of that, so we introduced me and so I go, have you seen, you know, well he’d seen it but he said he hadn’t. So I take him on a walk of all these display floors and everything. Then the party was breaking up and everybody decided we should all go to the Italian Village. So that’s what we—now I had a Carmengia. Do you know what a Carmengia is?


ROWLAND: It was the sexiest-looking Volkswagen you ever saw. I mean still, it was a classic. I had a Carmengia. My husband was nuts about cars and I think he was more impressed with my car.


ROWLAND: [laughing] Not really.

SCARPINO: So when were you married?

ROWLAND: We were engaged in two weeks and we were married in six months.

SCARPINO: The date of your wedding was?

ROWLAND: August the 27th, 1960.

SCARPINO: And you had two children?

ROWLAND: Two children, two sons.

SCARPINO: Both boys?

ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: What are their names?

ROWLAND: Eric John Rowland who is a partner of this company. He’s an architect like his father, and Jason Howard Rowland who is a doctor. He’s a child psychiatrist.

SCARPINO: Where does he practice?

ROWLAND: He’s with the Children’s Learning Resource Center.

SCARPINO: In Indianapolis?

ROWLAND: In Indianapolis, uh huh.

SCARPINO: Let’s see. You worked for the Business Furniture Corporation in Indianapolis.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm. For 10 years.

SCARPINO: And you started in what year?

ROWLAND: 1954.


ROWLAND: Left in 1964.

SCARPINO: Could you talk a little bit about how your position or how your career trajectory developed while you were with them?

ROWLAND: Yeah, and I would have to say to you that I probably learned more there about how not to be a leader.

SCARPINO: Do you think that sometimes learning how not to do things is almost as important as learning how to do them?

ROWLAND: I think, yes, because you can see the effect of not doing them well. I worked really hard there and I was never paid particularly well. I was never given a raise without having to go ask for it and then the tactic was well, let me think about it. Then of course he wouldn’t get back to you and you’d have to get all those knots in your stomach again and go in and ask again. I just thought it was a terrible way to treat people and no one that worked for me ever had to ask for a raise. I always was ahead of them. And I really think that’s how you treat people. There would be programs put in place for the salesmen who, based on those formulas, could earn pretty good money. But as soon as they were earning that pretty good money they changed the rules. That kind of monkey business. I saw men who worked for them who I thought deserved the respect of an elder statesman not treated accordingly. I learned a lot.

SCARPINO: How did your own career develop while you were there? You started off. . .

ROWLAND: I started off as this little green bean person to do color coordination as it was called. There was a good deal of schooling that became available. Business Furniture Company was one of several furniture dealerships throughout the country that were Stow Davis and Steelcase dealers who had formed a relationship or an association in Grand Rapids called the Executive Furniture Guild. It was headed by a gentleman by a name of George Reinoehl. They were promoting the design of executive offices. Obviously they had a product to sell and they needed a way to do it. Their feeling was that if they could have somebody that could put together a color scheme and layout and whatnot, that they ought to be able to sell that pretty easily and they put together a program for doing that which, frankly, was designed so that a colorblind salesman could probably do it all right as long as he could pick out the right numbers and names because it was a fairly professional-looking presentation thing. They used templates for all the furniture thing, it was all to scale. You just had to be able to glue, get on the lines and all that sort of thing. Then they had gone to manufacturers for carpet, fabrics, accessory items, and they had, and paint, and they had developed a color palette with Martin-Senour Paint Company. These colors were suitable for offices and frankly, it would be hard to put any two or three of them together and not have something that was fairly decent.

So with this you could pull from the swatches this fabric and this carpet, and this, and it’d looked pretty good even if you didn’t know what you were doing. But before very long it became evident that you needed somebody with more knowledge than just that. It was through that relationship that I learned quite a bit from George Reinoehl. We all went up there and studied in Grand Rapids and did that for two or three years. It was a very good association but then the role of the designer went beyond just, you know, doing these things. You had to render and you had to do all the rest of this stuff. His palette of colors was no longer adequate and you had a whole other avenue and venue of resources to go to and so that’s where the professional interior designer took over from the salesman. The theory being too, if you had designers back at home doing all this, pass it to the salesmen, they could spend more time out in the field selling.

SCARPINO: So what you got involved in was a business plan to sell office furniture.

ROWLAND: That’s right. Exactly.

SCARPINO: And it was sort of on the cutting edge of where that industry was going.

ROWLAND: Exactly.

SCARPINO: Did you learn anything from that?

ROWLAND: Oh my gosh, yeah. Oh yeah. Oh, I mean it was amazing to see that foresight and to see what kind of a program you could put together to sell a product. But also to have respect for maybe when it was time to move on from what was just an entrepreneur idea to where it just wasn’t a one-man deal anymore. You needed greater resources and different towns than maybe you thought. . .

SCARPINO: Was part of your success developing a program to sell a product?

ROWLAND: Mm hmm. Business Furniture Company had a lot of products and they had good ones. The other thing that was fulfilling there was, you know, Indianapolis just

had no interest in contemporary design at all, which was frustrating to me because I was. At that point in time in those years, the Indianapolis Home Show, which was a big deal. . .


ROWLAND: . . .would build as their centerpiece house, a house that was designed by an architectural student at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. At that point in time Notre Dame was the only school of architecture in the state of Indiana, and kind of their prize of the winning design was to get that house built. So needless to say there were these wonderful contemporary houses—this is fifties—fifty-four, you know. Now they’re, we’re at the point now where we’re looking at saving those because they’re 50 years old now, so they’re. . .

SCARPINO: That’s the National Register of Historic Places, for the record.

ROWLAND: . . .of the National Register of Historic Places, that’s right. So this was this wonderful opportunity to bring that cutting edge design to Indianapolis. I grew up with a lot of the guys from James Associates—Ray Thompson, Dave Meeker, all those guys who, we were all about the same age there. We were all bringing this wonderful, new, and at the same time getting frustrated because nobody seemed to want to buy it [laughing]. But I talked Business Furniture Company into putting a whole floor display in of Herman Miller, Knoll Furniture. So they were the leaders in getting good design, contemporary design, to Indianapolis. It just took a long, long time to find the audience for it.

SCARPINO: Was that part of your job, to develop the audience or clientele?

ROWLAND: Yes, right. Certainly to try and show those opportunities when they were appropriate.

SCARPINO: Your own position advanced.

ROWLAND: My own position.

SCARPINO: You became a vice president.

ROWLAND: Vice president, right. The, and I had I think about eight or 10 people that were working there. We had co-op students from the University of Cincinnati and then we also had other full-time designers that we added to the staff. It may not have been that big. Maybe it’s more like six or eight rather than eight or 10. Those things get fuzzy as time goes by.

SCARPINO: While you were there at Business Furniture Corporation, did you develop contacts or networks that were helpful when you began your own business?

ROWLAND: Oh my, yes.

SCARPINO: Could you talk a little about that?

ROWLAND: Sure. One of the things that was frustrating to me was that I kept trying to get John Ober to do something other than offices, especially with this contemporary design.

SCARPINO: John Ober was the president?

ROWLAND: He was the president, uh huh. Trying to get him to do other kinds of interiors—restaurants, lodging. You know, there was a lot of avenues that you could go with that. But he pretty much wanted to stick with the office furniture business which is what he knew. So that’s his choice. But I left Business Furniture Company in 1964, I thought two weeks before my son was to be born. Turned out it was two days before he was born. But anyway.

SCARPINO: That was your first son.

ROWLAND: This was my first son. That’s Eric, right. And after that I really had no interest in going back there, but because I was interested in going these other ways and the other thing that was frustrating to me was that working for an office furniture dealer, your first reason for existing was to sell office furniture. I wanted my reason for existing to be to sell a good design. And the other thing was that in an office furniture environment the interior design service was free, supposedly, you know, and I thought that it had value. So, I wanted to go into business where I could be paid for my design knowledge and I could do things other than just offices.

So I was not really interested in going back into that same environment again. When you talk about the networking, the thing that got started were some of my old clients would call up. One of the big ones was Bud Hunter and Bud Hunter was with, it changed, it was originally the Speedway State Bank and then became First Bank and Trust. They got bought out by different things. But Bud Hunter ran that bank, and I had done some work for them while at Business Furniture Company. So Bud would call up and say, Sallie I need a little help on something. I’d say well, come on out, gather around the dining room table, you know. Or, well can I bring Eric? You know, it’s one of those things—I’m not too well-established. Then also I had talked at Purdue about doing some work in their Union building—their guest rooms. I got a call from Purdue. I think we have some money now to do some of those things you talked about, Sallie. You want to come on up?

So this is kind of how it began, is that I had some people that I worked for that were after me rather than the company that I had worked for before, and I liked them. They were fun to do business with, and not only that, but after ten years I knew my product. I mean I knew what I was doing. Which I think is a rather important part of going into business for yourself. So it sort of mushroomed. Bud Hunter became a great mentor. Not only, as a matter of fact, interestingly enough, a lot of the people who were mentors for me were clients first. Bud Hunter is the first one that pops into my mind because he became my banker. I’d come up with some harebrained things every once in a while and bless his heart, he just had faith in me that this was all going to turn out all right. He would even, when I was kind of naïve about this whole thing, he’d say Sallie we’ve got to get you set up with a line of credit. You’re going to have an opportunity to do some things. You know, he helped me with the business part of this that I hadn’t gotten.

SCARPINO: It sounds like he was your coach on your financial part of your business plan.

ROWLAND: He was the coach on the financial part, that’s right. Exactly. He was a great, great guy. He liked to play golf.

SCARPINO: Do you play golf?

ROWLAND: I play golf, mm hmm. So Bud Hunter was one of those first ones and then Purdue, actually when I finally officially opened an office, Purdue was a big client and they are still my client 40 years later. Every year they just renew it, one more year. Isn’t that neat? I love it.

SCARPINO: In talking about networks you mentioned your clients and people like that but as an interior designer did you also have to develop a network on the other end? People that supplied fabric and that sort of stuff, supplies.

ROWLAND: Sure. Mm hmm. Yeah, and that is a little bit easier to come by because, especially the suppliers of fabric and carpet. I mean they’re regular peddlers that are out there selling those things and so you would, I knew those over a period of time and would keep in touch with those and to the extent that you could borrow or beg some samples from them. And they were good friends too. No question about that. The other things that were a little harder to come by were to find the craftsmen because we hadn’t really gotten into that too much in just doing offices. When I got into some other areas, I mean I had a terrible time finding drapery work rooms. I can just tell you some horror stories I went through trying to get that job done correctly.

SCARPINO: So how did you find the people to do those things?

ROWLAND: Well, it’s trial and error and asking. I also joined the ASID which is the American Society of Interior Designers. It was called, it’s changed its name a time through the years, but that was a group of interior designers. They were mostly residential designers. A lot of them worked at Ayres. You know, Ayres was the real center for all the interior designers. They’re a very helpful bunch of people. They could help you with finding these trades people and were generous in doing that. That’s one of the things that’s always been rather interesting to me because you might think that they would be competitive and well, I’m not going to tell you because then you’ll know and you’ll be using my guy, and that’s never the way it was. It was always very supportive and. . .

SCARPINO: So you, one more question before we talk about you starting a business. While you were still at Business Furniture Corporation, were you involved in any civic or philanthropic activities, organizations in the community?

ROWLAND: I don’t think so. That was not encouraged. I think to tell you the truth, I was so busy. I worked overtime all the time, and it was nothing that was introduced or suggested or encouraged.

SCARPINO: So there was no example there that professionals should be involved in the community type of mentality.

ROWLAND: No, and I don’t think at that point in time there was too much of an attitude about that in Indianapolis. You know, it was kind of that town that. . .

SCARPINO: In 1968, if I’ve got the date right, you co-founded your own interior design firm with Bill Haskins.

ROWLAND: Bill Hawkins.

SCARPINO: Hawkins, I’m sorry. And who was Mr. Hawkins?

ROWLAND: Who was Mr. Hawkins? Mr. Hawkins was a graduate of Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati, in industrial design and he had been a co-op student working for me when I was at Business Furniture Company. Talented, oh my gosh, just enormously talented guy. When I started doing things on my own after I left BFC, Bill had—he was working for RCA—he was doing product design. I was getting opportunities to do these projects and I couldn’t get them all done and so I was looking for some moonlighters and Bill was doing some moonlighting for me. Then as I got to the point where it looked like we needed to get established, I had a source of business that I felt would, he could get dinner home and take care of the family, that, and I sensed maybe he had about had it with his opportunities at RCA, so I said how about we start this firm? You’ll have to work full time. I have to be home at three o’clock because that’s when my kids are home. But I’ve got enough volume of business to get us going. So that’s how it got started.

SCARPINO: So an industrial designer, specializes in the design of industrial products.

ROWLAND: Products. Products mostly.

SCARPINO: Any examples of products he designed that people would recognize?

ROWLAND: Furniture.

SCARPINO: Furniture, okay.

ROWLAND: That’s a lot of what he was doing at RCA were the cabinets for televisions and all that sort of thing. But industrial design also has a technical end to it where they know how things are put together. You can translate that to a room. He had far more technical skills than I did. You have to understand I didn’t get any of that to speak of. He could render. He could draw these gorgeous drawings which, hand-drawn which I couldn’t do. He was a great supplement.

SCARPINO: What was the name of the firm when you started?

ROWLAND: Rowland and Hawkins.

SCARPINO: Okay, that makes sense. The idea for the firm, the vision, that was yours.


SCARPINO: You were the one who saw the points on the horizon towards which you were marching.

ROWLAND: Yes. Yeah. Yes.

SCARPINO: What kinds of considerations went into your decision to start your own design firm?

ROWLAND: Well, it’s interesting. I’ve never been fascinated by housework. [laughing]

SCARPINO: I’m going to remember that phrase.

ROWLAND: And I thought, you know, if I could earn enough money, I could get somebody to come do all this and I wouldn’t have to. Actually as. . .

SCARPINO: I mean was that your original goal was to make enough money so that you could do what you wanted and not do housework?

ROWLAND: Yes. I have to say it was one of them. It was a driving force. I’ve also have always had a little bit of a security problem where I wanted to be sure that I could make it on my own, and having worked for ten years where you were making it on your own, you kind of hate to give that up.

SCARPINO: Was that kind of an unusual profile for a young woman in those days?

ROWLAND: Oh yes. Oh yes. All the people that I went to college with, were for the most part, supposed to be teachers or nurses. I mean for a woman to go in business, and that’s probably a little bit unique with my situation, was out of character. No question about it. Not only that but I came from a generation where a lot of husbands would not let their wives work, and I had a husband who said go for it, and he was very supportive. I think he felt that he’d probably have a nutcase on his hands [laughing] if I was going to stay home all the time. He also said something rather interesting once. He said it was probably the best insurance he could, better insurance than he could ever buy, from the standpoint if you were going to buy life insurance or something to take care of me if something happened to him. But the thing that happened is that a lot of these clients started calling me and business was rolling. I had Bill moonlighting for me. I had another architect that was moonlighting for me. I started getting a lot of projects out in the Quad Cities in Iowa.

SCARPINO: That’s Moline and?

ROWLAND: Yeah, and Bettendorf, Davenport. Moline, Davenport, Bettendorf and what’s the other one? Well, we’ll think of it in a minute.

SCARPINO: It’s okay.

ROWLAND: Well, that was kind of funny how that came about because I got a call from a gentleman out there that belonged to a private club, the Davenport Club. It would be like the Columbia Club, downtown men’s club. He had gotten my name from a gentleman who had seen my work at Purdue, and called me out for an interview and then I got this job. This men’s club was teetering on the brink of maybe going under because there was another downtown club that seemed to be prospering more. It was one of those wonderful things where what I did in the way of the design of this space turned the whole club around. It became very prosperous. The other one finally folded in favor of this one. So you know when you talk about gratification and seeing something within a fairly brief period time, that hospitality field offers you that.

SCARPINO: So there was a real connection between image and. . .

ROWLAND: . . .It was a real connection, yes, where. . .

SCARPINO: . . .outcome.

ROWLAND: . . .outcome, yes. Lots of things, especially when you were doing offices, it’d become hard to measure how much better the gentleman was doing as a result of having this nice executive office than he was when he didn’t have this nice executive office. But in the hospitality field you can make a difference. Then all the people that belonged to that club started calling me, and I did an insurance company. I did a construction company. I did a real estate company. I did Von Maur, they were the department store out there. Did some work for them. An agricultural firm. I did a couple of private country clubs. I mean all this, it’s a hard place to get to, by the way. You know, the Quad Cities.

SCARPINO: Sounds like your initial market development was by word of mouth.

ROWLAND: Exactly. It’s always the best kind.

SCARPINO: By reputation.

ROWLAND: By reputation, that’s right. The interesting part of it is that the gentleman who recommended me to the Davenport Club in the first place was a person I had never met. He also recommended me to a couple of other clients that I got. And I would write to him, say thank you. It was probably two or three years later before I ever met the man. But it was a case of word of mouth. He had seen what I had done. The client was happy and he was happy to make that recommendation. You just never know where these things come from.

SCARPINO: While you’re building a market for your services your firm must have been growing, so how did you go about bringing people on board with the expertise to get the job done?

ROWLAND: Well, Bill and I started out and our first employee, now that was another eye-opener. You know our, when we started out, we didn’t have any salary. It was, after you paid all the bills if there was some money left, that’s what your income was. When we hired our first employee, that was kind of an eye-opener too, because you know, if we didn’t have any money that was one thing, but now you’re obligated to create enough volume of business because this guy is really relying on you to feed his family. I don’t know whether many people find that as shocking as I did, but it was a scary thing when I finally realized that I was now responsible for somebody else’s livelihood.

SCARPINO: Do you think that’s a part of being a leader?


SCARPINO: Accepting responsibility, recognizing it.

ROWLAND: Yes, yes. Makes a big difference. You get a lot more serious.

SCARPINO: So who was, I mean what position did this person fill?

ROWLAND: We hired him as an interior designer to do drawings and assist Bill and I. Then I think the next person was Cynthia Von Forester, who was accountant, reception, secretary, she was everything, and we really just started adding interior designers. A lot of them came from Purdue because that’s where the big school of interior design was.

SCARPINO: So was your job to do interior design or to make rain?


SCARPINO: Were you generating business?

ROWLAND: Oh yeah, both. Yeah, both. But all of our work came from our reputation.

SCARPINO: Where were your offices located in those early years?

ROWLAND: The first office was on College. It looks like we’re stuck on this street. It was College and about 39th Street. It was a couple of houses that had been joined together. There were some other architects in there and there was a kitchen planner and a bunch of us. So that was the first one, and then Bill lived in Martinsville of all places. So he wanted to get someplace that was closer to the interstate so it was easier for him to get there. So we ended up buying a place out on east 38th Street and it’s a terrible neighborhood now, and frankly, we got out of there in the nick of time. But it was fine for the time. It was again, two houses that had been joined together but it had an atrium in the middle of it. It had kind of a garden like this. It was just fine. It worked nicely for us and good old Bud Hunter financed it. It was at that point I thought well, I’m going to pay rent to myself, I’m not going to be renting places. So that’s when I started buying wherever we were going to be housed.

SCARPINO: I’ll just note for the record that your current facility is located at the intersection of College and New York in downtown Indianapolis.

ROWLAND: That’s right.

SCARPINO: How long has this been here?

ROWLAND: We’ve been in here now for about 12 years. But before that we were right up the street here on College, again, at 330 North College.

SCARPINO: Now this has the look of the building that your firm designed.

ROWLAND: That’s right. Eric.

SCARPINO: But you started with an empty lot, I think.

ROWLAND: No. Actually this, I’ll show you the pictures of it. This was an old, one-story concrete block warehouse. It was a pretty ugly looking thing. That’s the original outside wall that you see running through there.

SCARPINO: So the brown concrete block wall that we’re looking at through your large windows here is part of the original building.

ROWLAND: That’s the original, uh huh.

SCARPINO: My goodness.

ROWLAND: Eric did a wonderful job. He worked for a. . .

SCARPINO: . . .Eric is your son.

ROWLAND: . . .is my son and he worked for a firm in Chicago when we hired him to design it. It’s really worked beautifully for us and of course it has parking for 36 cars at your door.

SCARPINO: So you developed a market for your services and products.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: You hired employees. How about capital? I mean, you had a banker, but I mean how did you generate the funds to get the business up and running, particularly after you began to hire people?

ROWLAND: Well, I really never had to put a huge influx of money in it. We were not selling product, so it wasn’t like we had to buy inventory of fabric or lamps or furniture. We were not in the business of selling product. We were in the business of selling design. So frankly, the cash flow was there.

SCARPINO: So, just to make sure that I understand this and the people who listen to this recording understand it, in your kind of business, the client buys the materials.

ROWLAND: That’s right. I mean the way I set this up is that we were paid for our design. We’d bill them by the hour. Send an invoice monthly for the time that’s been spent, and the product, we would write the specifications for and then we would put those out to bid. So the product would still be bought from a business furniture company or a Continental or another office supplier or in some cases it might be different resources. But we did not have to invest in hard product. We had to invest in drafting tables and all the equipment that you need to do it and we had to invest in a library which I’ll show you out here. It’s just staggering, the size of it. But it was not a huge capital influx that you would have to if you were going to be buying inventory of furniture.

SCARPINO: I’m going to switch gears here a little bit.


SCARPINO: We’ve got just 30 minutes or so left. I promised I’d let you go in two hours, but I wanted to drop into the conversation several of the standard leadership questions that we ask everyone. These range broadly across the spectrum, but the first question is, what do you read?

ROWLAND: What do I read? Well, a variety of things. In the way of recreational novels, I read, I’m a Ken Follett fan. Long before Oprah found it, I read Pillars of the Earth and just recently read his subsequent World Without End, I think, which is fascinating to me because it’s about building of cathedrals. I’ve read Jan Karon’s books which we’d all like to live in that perfect little town that she envisions. I’m a John Grisham fan. Dick Francis. I love horses. And I’m a Jane Austen fan too. So a little variety of things there. I do like to read some biographies. I like to read about people. Probably, well I’ve read a lot about some our historical heroes, of course, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. I recently read the book between, about Churchill and FDR, their relationship. I’ve read about Katharine Graham, Washington Post. I think she’d kind of interesting. Queen Elizabeth, First and Second. Right now I’m reading Truman.

SCARPINO: The biography of Harry Truman?

ROWLAND: Biography of Harry Truman, which I really. . .

SCARPINO: Is that David McCullough’s book?

ROWLAND: Yes, it is. I read his 1776 not too long ago. I don’t read perhaps as much as a lot of people do because I have a vision problem where I can only read so long and my eyes blur. So I don’t read as much as maybe I could and should. I’m kind of a visual person too so I look at a lot of movies and BBC things. Masterpiece Theatre things.

SCARPINO: Do you think that a leader should read?

ROWLAND: Yes, uh huh. When I was active in the business I was reading a lot of books that had to do, you know, the Peter Principle. I used to love Tom Peter’s examples of successful ways to do business. In Pursuit of Excellence. Those things I found very helpful, very worthwhile.

SCARPINO: Do you ever read about other leaders?

ROWLAND: Well I think some of those people are leaders. Lee Iacocca. Yes, I do. I just finished reading, this is maybe a little one, but this is Carver McGriff, who was our minister. He wrote a book called Making Sense of Normandy. It gave me a lot of insight into him, too. He was in the infantry when we landed in Normandy, World War II.

SCARPINO: So your minister was an infantryman.

ROWLAND: That’s right.

SCARPINO: And wrote about the experience.

ROWLAND: And wrote about the experience.

SCARPINO: Was he in the ministry at the time. . .


SCARPINO: . . .of the Normandy landing?

ROWLAND: No. He was a kid, as a lot of them were, eighteen years old or something. Didn’t know what they were getting into or where they were. Just thought it would be a big adventure. It’s amazing.

SCARPINO: I guess I could say this even though, I interviewed a man yesterday who lost a limb in Vietnam at the age of 19.

ROWLAND: Uh huh.

SCARPINO: So, very young man.


SCARPINO: Who do you think, who in your mind are important leaders?

ROWLAND: Well, I think, when I think of somebody that to me was the epitome of a leader it’d be J. Irwin Miller. He’s dead now.


ROWLAND: Passed away just a few years ago. His son is doing very well in his footsteps, Will Miller.

SCARPINO: That’s the J. Irwin Miller of Cummins Engine.

ROWLAND: Of Cummins Engine.


ROWLAND: I just had the good fortune to get to know him and I would say in almost any way you could think of the characteristics of a good leader he’d be it. Probably the best I could point to.

SCARPINO: What do you think some of those characteristics were that caught your attention?

ROWLAND: Well, he was first of all very honest. Very well educated. Very visionary. Very thoughtful. Very concerned about what he did and how it affected people. His ability to see what the Cummins Engine Company needed and who he had to attract to this dumpy little town of Columbus to really make that thing work. I’m sure that had something to do something with the architecture importance that came to that town where, you know, he just set a whole different mood for the, raised the bar unbelievably high in Columbus.

SCARPINO: Right. But he paid for architect design building in Columbus.

ROWLAND: That’s right and it’s just phenomenal. He’s a very humble person. He really was. When I had the good fortune to meet with him I always felt like I was at the foot of a prophet. A very religious man. He could read Greek, Latin. I mean just way over my head. But I just thought he was a marvelous person.

SCARPINO: What do you think made him visionary?

ROWLAND: I don’t know what about his character or his formation of his personality might have done that whether—because he came from a background of ministers, and I think he just always saw a bigger picture, and some people do. I don’t know why particularly.

SCARPINO: Do you? Do you see the bigger picture?

ROWLAND: I try to. I think for the most part I do try to get past the little picky stuff that gets in your way and remember where you’re trying to go.

SCARPINO: What was the big picture you had in your mind as you launched your firm?

ROWLAND: Well, I wanted to be, I wanted to be an interior design firm that could provide absolutely superb results. I wanted, I know a lot of people have said did you have goals like, and so many people use monetary goals. Like I want the revenue to be twice as much next year as it is this year or 10%. I never thought in those terms. I never thought in those terms. My goal was to do the next job better than I did the last one and the next one better than that one. That was more my goal so that the end result was to provide superb design, to help our clients do better at whatever it was they did. That’s kind of it. You know, along the way you think—first of all you had maybe six employees in there and you think, well this surely will be enough. Then you had 12, and you thought surely this is enough. So I never really saw well, I want to be a firm that has 50 people. You know, I just never thought that way. I just wanted us to be excellent and be as good as we could be and attract the best talent I could find.

SCARPINO: How did you do that? How did you persuade people to come to work for you?

ROWLAND: I think it’s because of our reputation. I think we’ve been well respected. I think that I gave them no limitations. I always knew that I had to hire people that were better at this than I am. And I went after them.

SCARPINO: Did that ever intimidate you to know that you surrounded yourself with people who are better at some things than you were?

ROWLAND: Oh no. No, I purposely wanted people that were better at it than I had been. If there weren’t any better than I was I would never get any better, would I? No. No, no, no. No, actually the greatest thrill is when a client that you may start out working with who insists upon calling you, quits calling you and calls on the designer that you assigned to the project. That’s a great feeling, because then you know they have the client’s confidence.

SCARPINO: Other than Irwin Miller, who else inspired you as a leader?

ROWLAND: Frank Walker. Do you know Frank Walker?

SCARPINO: I don’t, no.

ROWLAND: Frank Walker is, well he’s retired now, but he was head of Walker Research. Frank Walker was a client initially and then became a mentor. I was on his advisory board, corporate advisory board. I think he’s an excellent leader—by example. He’s a positive thinker. He thinks big. He thinks down the line. I just thought he was an excellent example. He was always seeking new ideas, would listen, initiate, very good leader. Frank Walker.

SCARPINO: Seeking new ideas, listen, initiate—are those qualities of an effective leader?

ROWLAND: Oh, I think so. I think so.

SCARPINO: Does that describe you?

ROWLAND: I don’t know. I hope so. Joe Barnett. Do you know Joe Barnett?

SCARPINO: I don’t, no.

ROWLAND: Now these are a couple of local folks. Joe Barnett, Joseph Barnett was head of Bank One, and he was, in the civic activity he was head of the Chamber and all kinds of things. Joe Barnett I think was a, has a style about him that inspires confidence. He has the most wonderful sense of humor and he did an excellent job of heading that bank. He of course, eventually Bank—see I started out on Indiana National Bank’s board and then it became NBD Detroit, and then it became Chicago, and then we merged with Bank One. You know how all this madness had been going on. Joe, I have found has a very easygoing manner about him. I’m sure he must get mad sometimes but I’ve never seen it. He makes you feel, when you’re with him, like you’re the most important person. But it’s his sense of humor.

One of the examples was, you know, a lot of men, in particular, don’t want to tell stories on themselves that might be embarrassing. But Joe Barnett tells this story. They lived in Evanston. He was a banker obviously. In their new house they had carpet put down and the door wouldn’t close on the bedroom because the carpet was too thick. So he says I can fix that. You know, just have to take the door off, plane off some, put it back on, which he did but it turns out that he took it off the top instead of the bottom. Well, you know—but he’d tell this kind of thing where I think a lot of men would have never told something on themselves. But that’s not Joe. I remember he was conducting a meeting one time and you know, you always ask for questions. So it was time for the questions and he said, well I know that nobody wants to ask the first question so would somebody ask the second question, please? [laughing] You know, it’s just that kind of personality. I think he’s an excellent leader and he’s been very ambitious in civic opportunities. Take on some things that others really wouldn’t want to.

SCARPINO: For example?

ROWLAND: Well, I was involved in helping to start the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. Clay Robbins and I were wanting to get two key leaders to take on the responsibility for chairing that to begin with and we felt we had to have just the right people. We went after Andy Paine and Joe Barnett and Andy Paine felt that it was probably not something that would work and Joe Barnett said, I don’t know Andy, I think maybe we could work it out. And he did. So did Andy, and you know, he’s just. . .

SCARPINO: Could you just say for the record what the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership is?

ROWLAND: Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, it exists now. It is the economic development over Central Indiana. It replaced the Corporate Community Council which used to be in existence just in Indianapolis. When Ben Lytle was—and Ben Lytle was another good leader too—when Ben Lytle was chairman of the Corporate Community Council he asked if I would chair a task force, and I did it with Larry O’Connor, and of course Clay Robbins was footing the bill, Lilly Endowment—he asked whether I would co-chair a committee to look at how we do economic development in Indianapolis and if we had a clean sheet of paper how would we do it over. So that was a task force that, the result of which was that we had to be a central Indiana, not just an Indianapolis, and that we needed to approach this using the strengths that we already had from the standpoint of industry clusters and we needed to get it run by the top CEOs in that community. So that was established. We asked Joe and Andy to be the first ones and then we went off to start the membership. Now it is just doing superb things. I mean we’ve stayed with this industry cluster thing. The Life Science Crossroads thing is an outgrowth of it. It was headed, the person we hired to be the working administrator was Dave Goodrich and now it’s been taken over by Mark Miles, and it’s just doing beautifully.

SCARPINO: So you chaired the task force that came up with this idea for the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

ROWLAND: Uh huh, co-chaired it with Larry O’Connor.

SCARPINO: Its mission is to attract and facilitate economic development?

ROWLAND: Economic development and it’s regional. It’s central Indiana and it includes the presidents of Purdue and IU, Ball State, Indiana State. They’ve done great things. They really have. It’s just been a joy to see it happen.

SCARPINO: What are you most proud of about what this organization has accomplished?

ROWLAND: Well, I think that the whole endeavor into these industry clusters, the life science thing. They’re bringing all these incubators that are popping up and all of the efforts that you’re seeing in the life sciences, they’re doing very, very well. They’re now concentrating on advanced manufacturing and logistics and they have a group that Carol D’Amico is heading that’s concentrating on that. Purdue’s been very active in all of this. So, to see this happen and see the support that it’s getting, and the leadership that is has. I think Mark Miles is doing a great job. Dave Goodrich did a wonderful job getting it started from scratch. It’s hard to start something from scratch. What we have is the participation of all the CEOs of all the top organizations. So, it’s exciting to see it happen.

SCARPINO: Does this organization have money that it puts into ventures?

ROWLAND: Yep. Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: What’s the source of the money?

ROWLAND: The membership of the corporations that are part of it and then also they get some grants I think, depending upon what the project is. Lilly Endowment has been very supportive of it.

SCARPINO: Back to another one of our standard questions. As you developed your business and as you developed as a leader, who helped you along the way? I mean, you’ve mentioned a number of people.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm. Bud Hunter, my banking friend. Wes Martin, who is an architect who opened some doors for me. Frank Walker. I think maybe in a sense, you know, there have been a lot of, Dan Evans, Sr., Dan Evans, Sr. Interestingly, they’ve all been men.

SCARPINO: I noticed that. I didn’t want to lead the witness by asking you how come there are no women on your list, but why do you think that’s the case that all the people you’ve named are all men?

ROWLAND: Well, because there haven’t been that many women in business.

SCARPINO: Were there any as you were getting started in town here?

ROWLAND: No. Not that I knew. They were beginning to be in the professions. Lawyers, and even those were new. But no, there were not a whole lot of women my age or from my generation that went into business. It just wasn’t encouraged. Now I have to say that I think I was fortunate because the profession that I’ve been in, of interior design, was okay for a woman to be in. So for that reason I think maybe I had it a little easier than if I had been trying to be an architect, or an engineer, or all these male-dominated fields where women just have no business being. They’ve had it much rougher. So I think that’s been to my good fortune.

SCARPINO: Do you think that having had a mentor or mentors, played a role in your development as a business leader?


SCARPINO: Can you talk about any of those folks?

ROWLAND: Well, one of the first opportunities that I was given to participate in something of a civic nature had to do with asking to be on the Historic Preservation Commission.

SCARPINO: Mm hmm. Indianapolis?

ROWLAND: Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, and as a matter of fact there was a woman that suggested me for that position. It was Scotty Bennett and it was Mayor Hudnut’s, one of his numerous terms in office, and Scotty worked for the mayor, and there was an opening and she thought that I might be good and be interested in it. Frankly, it became a great love of mine—historic preservation—still is, and if you look at what did you really contribute in your lifetime, I can point to some things there that I’d be proud of. So that was a door that was opened for me that I could get passionate about, and really, I think do a pretty good job. It was at a time when the bulldozer mentality was running rampant and it seemed like every time we turned around somebody wanted to tear something down, and there we were saying no, not so fast. They even had, some of those neighbors were toting guns to those meetings. I mean, it was crazy. Hudnut would pretend like he didn’t know who I was when he’d pass me because I think he was getting pressured. [laughing] I mean, they wanted to tear the Circle Theatre, okay? Well we wouldn’t let them tear down the Circle Theatre now. They would be horrified if we let them. And the Union Station and all those things. But I was in it, I was president of that commission when all this stuff was going on.

SCARPINO: Do you remember when you first went on the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Committee?

ROWLAND: I’d have to look up the dates for you, to tell you the truth. I lose track of those times.

SCARPINO: I mean, I’ll admit that I couldn’t find your start date.

ROWLAND: Couldn’t you? Well, I’ll find out. I think it was in the eighties.


ROWLAND: But I think in that capacity I was viewed by an awful lot of business people as being maybe a reasonable person trying to deal fairly with this.

SCARPINO: Because you were one of them. You were a business person yourself.

ROWLAND: I was a business person myself, yeah, and because an awful lot of the petitions were tear down the building or something, and trying not to be emotional about these things and all that sort of thing. I think that observation of maybe that was another first opportunity that came to me in the corporate world, which was to be on the board of Midwest National Bank. That was the first corporate board I was invited on. Midwest National Bank was headed by Frank Lloyd, Dr. Frank Lloyd. Dan Evans Sr. was on that board, and I think he had a lot to do with my being invited on there. Subsequently, I was also invited to be on the Meridian Mutual Insurance Board of Directors. Dan Evans Sr. was on that. So you know, there’s one of those mentors that opened some doors, who’s always an interesting man, always. I liked him a lot.

SCARPINO: Was there a difference in the way you exercise leadership between running your own business and serving on a board of someone else’s business?

ROWLAND: Sure. [laughing]

SCARPINO: What were the differences?

ROWLAND: Well, you’re normally invited on those boards because of some expertise that you bring. I think in my case it was probably marketing. I don’t think I was ever invited on any those boards because I was a good interior designer. I think it was more probably from the marketing or business perspective and I was not the first woman in all cases. Although, on an awful lot of them I have to tell you, I was the only woman. But not so with Midwest, with Meridian Mutual. Mildred Compton had preceded me there. She was head of the Children’s Museum. She’d been on their board before. But in the capacity of a board member, there’s a good deal of time to learn what the business is of that company that you’re serving on, and try and figure out how your particular expertise might be helpful, and when to offer it and when not to offer it. I found that probably the thing that I did more for those boards I went on was to ask questions. I would sit on some of those things and they’d be telling the board something, and I truly didn’t understand what they were talking about. But I thought I can’t just sit here and pretend like I understand what they’re talking about. I would have to say, I’d have to ask a question. I’d have to ask clarification or I’d have to question why they were doing that or something and I discovered that it opened up the whole conversation. That I wasn’t the only one sitting around that table that didn’t understand, but I was the only one apparently that was dumb enough to ask the question. So a lot of what I did was to ask questions and provoke conversation.

SCARPINO: Do you think that’s a mark of a leader?

ROWLAND: I hope so. I hope so.

SCARPINO: To ask questions.

ROWLAND: Ask questions.

SCARPINO: Provoke conversation.

ROWLAND: Mm hmm.

SCARPINO: I asked you about people who mentored you. Do you mentor other people or have you mentored other people?

ROWLAND: Yes. That’s a term that’s kind of a funny one. A lot of people say, you ought to get a mentor. I think a mentor is most successful when you want to help a person because you admire their potential, you like them, and you want to help, rather than being assigned. That could be a coach but to me that’s not a mentor. So I think I have been a mentor to a number of people that have worked for me. Sarah Marr-Schwartzkopf, who’s the president. I think I’ve been a mentor to her.

SCARPINO: Just for the record, she’s the current president of Rowland Designs.

ROWLAND: She’s the current president. She came to work—did I tell you about how Sarah started?

SCARPINO: No, you didn’t.

ROWLAND: Well, Sarah graduated from Purdue. This was when our offices were up the street here in the next block. She came in wanting a job and I didn’t have an opening. She said, let me work for you for nothing for a while and then see whether you think I might be worth hiring. I’m going, I can handle nothing. [laughing] I can’t pass this one up. Well that told me something about her character right off the bat. Who would come in and ask to work for nothing? So I said okay. So obviously she was very talented and very dependable and very enthusiastic and wanted to learn and all that sort of thing. So we hired her. I can’t remember, she’ll be able to tell us whether she worked here a month or two months or what it was and we hired her. I just have been enthused about Sarah and helping her all along the way, and now she’s the president. I think it’s pretty great.

SCARPINO: Must give you a good feeling.

ROWLAND: You bet it does. You bet it does. She’s doing a great job. There are some other people that I feel I have mentored too by opening doors for them and getting them in positions that they might otherwise not have had an opportunity to do. If that’s mentoring, which is what I think it is, yeah.

SCARPINO: Do you think that networks play a role in the development of a successful leader?

ROWLAND: Now how do you mean networks?

SCARPINO: Networks of contacts, people who know you, know your reputation.

ROWLAND: Oh, sure. Well, as I’ve indicated, most all of our business through the years has been through that networking, if that’s the right word. It’s been word of mouth and that’s even true today. Probably I think 80% of our business comes from repeat customers or customers that have recommended us.

SCARPINO: I asked you toward the beginning of the interview if you played golf.

ROWLAND: Uh huh.

SCARPINO: Did you use your ability to play golf as a mechanism for developing your business? I mean were you doing business on the links?

ROWLAND: Huh uh.


ROWLAND: No, not really. It’s interesting as more and more women have gotten involved in business leadership now, I’ve played with a lot of women. I have, but no, not like the men. First of all I wasn’t that good a golfer. You know, the guys wouldn’t want me playing with, because I’m swinging three times to their one. Didn’t work that well. Couldn’t get any money off of me probably. [laughing] So, no I didn’t use golf as—I think women have always had kind of a tough time of it from a networking thing because guys would have, their wives would have dinner parties and bring customers or business associates for that kind of a social environment. We women don’t have wives, and so it doesn’t work out that well. It’s been more just through, I think that when you get involved in a lot of the civic activities you meet people in a different capacity, and I think that’s had a lot to do with—that might be a networking avenue that would be different from just the social aspect of things. I’ve always felt that it’s important to get involved in the community to give back. I’ve encouraged that through this whole organization, and you’ll find a lot of people are involved in a lot of things.

SCARPINO: Quite a bit different than the Business Furniture Company you worked for your first 10 years.

ROWLAND: That’s right, exactly. I think we’ve done a lot of good. We really have.

SCARPINO: So do you think networking is different for women than it is for men?

ROWLAND: Oh my, yes.

SCARPINO: How so? I mean you started down that path and. . .

ROWLAND: Yeah. Well, just the social opportunities have just not been there for women. It’s beginning to change, but even then—a lot of women, and I would tell you that I’m one of them, that have been fairly successful in business, you’ve got to have a husband that is supportive of that, and in many cases, the roles reverse. My husband finally became the cook in our house. I think I cooked for the first 20 years, but he did it for the last 20 years. We always managed to get to most all these swimming things and everything, but you just have to have a supportive spouse. In my generation there weren’t very many of them.

SCARPINO: I’m going to ask you one more question before I turn the recorder off, and then I hope I can schedule a second session with you but, and it definitely relates to being a woman in business. How did you manage to raise two children and a business? I think you were raising your business and your children at the same time.

ROWLAND: Same time, yeah. Well, I’ve had good child care, and without it you’d be dead in the water. At least I don’t think you could. I really felt that my, if you make the decision to have children, your first responsibility is to get those children raised well. I dearly love my kids, and I was at home with them before we decided that the world… I said, I ended up using one of the bedrooms at home for a little office. Then about the time Jason, my young one, was about two years old, and of course they want your attention and everything. I had some deadlines and I couldn’t get all this done and at one point I thought, I’ve got to close the door. Then I thought, you know, Sallie you can’t do that. When you’re to the point where you have to close the door, you cannot do that in your house. Now, if you want to go out and establish an office someplace and have the right kind of care here while you’re gone, okay. But you can’t be doing both of them at home. That was the end of that.

That’s when my husband, I said, you know Dick, I either have to establish this as a going business and get an office and get serious, or let it go. Because I can’t do it the way we’re doing it. That’s when the decision was made to establish the business and Bill Hawkins and I started up. I had the good fortune—my kids were healthy. A lot to be said for that. You don’t have sick kids all the time. When I look back on it I honestly don’t know how I got through all those times, because you’d take one of them to nursery school and you no sooner get them there and you’d have to pick them up. You know, it was just a freaky time [laughing], but part of my deal was, at least for the first seven years of this, I had to be home by three o’clock, so I was there when the kids came home from school. But I had a very good and consistent housekeeper/babysitter who was with me from the time that Jason was two until they graduated from college.

SCARPINO: My goodness. Same person?

ROWLAND: One time in there we had to make a change. She had three children. Tragically, two of them died of sickle cell anemia, and she was out of it. So, she had to stay home obviously. She was really had lots of things that she needed to get over. So I found someone else that filled that void for about three years who was also very good. She was such a good housekeeper I never could find anything. She’s put everything away. Where is this stuff? [laughing] Then her husband became ill and she had to leave, and about that time I called Nina again and she said yeah, I’m ready to come back. She would come when I know she really didn’t feel very good. She would come when the weather was lousy. She was just so reliable. And without that kind of support I don’t think I could have done it. I know I couldn’t have done it.

SCARPINO: Is child care part of the business here?

ROWLAND: Is it part of the business here?


ROWLAND: No, we don’t have a child care part of it, but we’re certainly very understanding about it. We have an awful lot of the women designers who go on part time.

SCARPINO: Flex hours and things like that?


SCARPINO: Well, we’ve been talking for two hours and I promised you that I wouldn’t run over two hours so I’m going to thank you very much for being kind enough to sit with me for this session, and I hope we’ll be able to schedule a second session with you.


SCARPINO: Thank you very much.