All in the DG Family – Cheryl Behnke
At Display Group, we are fortunate to have some of the best employees around. Introducing our All in the DG Family Series where we hope you’ll learn a little bit about the team. So far, you’ve met Niko Solomos. and Dave Danielson. We’ve got a real treat with Cheryl Behnke.
What is your name, title, and department?
Cheryl Behnke, I am the Design Director and I am a part of the Creative Team.
Explain your role at DG.
I am the Creative Team leader which encompasses the production shop and the design team. This means I guide the team through all design projects from concept to execution. Another thing I do is bridge the gap between sales and design. We really like to stay current and up to date at DG, so I really make sure that I am keeping up to date with trends for events, design, and (of course) event design!
How long have you worked at DG?
I started with DG in April 2017 so it has been about two and a half years.
What was the most exciting project you worked on? Why?
Definitely Detroit Homecoming 2017 at Michigan Central Station! Pretty quickly after I was hired on, I was handed a confidentiality agreement for a site visit to the train station. It was the first time it was going to be open to the public in 30 years! It was also my first time ever visiting the space so just being able to get a secret preview was fantastic. I remember when I first moved to Detroit how depressing it was to see this iconic jewel of the city to fall into disrepair and it was incredible and overwhelming to be a part of the team to bring the space back to life. I’m really proud of the work we did there and happy to see that Ford has purchased the building and is now renovating it.
What was the most stressful project you worked on? Why?
Also in 2017! In May 2017, the Display Group office hosted a Drinks x Design event in the showroom and warehouse. I had just started with the company and our President Rick was out of town so all of the planning was left to me and two other people. We needed to get the space together and figure out parking for 600 people – not an easy thing to do when our parking lot doesn’t fit a fraction of that many cars! Pretty much the entire process leading up to it was total chaos and with it happening pretty much within a month of being hired I wasn’t familiar with the inventory or, frankly, anyone else’s names so I basically just ran around the warehouse asking people for help. Luckily and thankfully, everyone had an amazing time and Rick showed up right as it started and was super pleased with the job we turned out – which was great because there were points during the day where I didn’t know if I would have a job the next day! Overall the event was a success, even if it took a lot of worry to get there.
What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career?
I have two! My first is to never be afraid to ask questions. Really, in our business it is always better to know than to guess. It’s always crucial to achieve the client’s goals and not your own. Which leads to my next piece of advice: set aside your personal style. You have to remember you aren’t designing for you, you’re designing for the client and you need to achieve what they’re asking for.
What is your favorite part about working at DG?
For me, it’s the people. Right from the start I really felt like I could be myself. It’s so important in our field to express your personality and not be afraid to be authentic. I’ve always felt like that here and it’s a huge part of our culture. Everyone here is remarkably welcoming and helpful and that is always comforting when starting somewhere new. I also love that every day here is different which keeps things exciting. This is not a place where things get monotonous or dull and that always makes it fun to go through your day and week not knowing what direction things will take you.
Where is your favorite place in Detroit to take in art?
I met my significant other Marq while working here and we love to go to concerts in the city. Our favorite venues are St Andrews and the Fillmore because they are much more personal for us in the audience. You really feel like you’re close to the artist and it’s great to have that intimate experience with them. It’s also nice to have these venues right in the city with so much around which means we have plenty of options for drinks and food.
However, we are expecting our first child! It looks like the concerts may have to be tabled for a bit while we put together the nursery.