Anna Graham: Radford graduate with an eye for design and a drive for success
Anna Graham ’16 just cannot stop getting recognized for her talent, initiative and hard work. As a senior interior design student at Radford University, she was chosen as a top finalist in the 2016 Sherwin-Williams Student Design Challenge, a national contest for young designers.
Now, she has been recognized as one of Professional Remodeler magazine’s 2020 class of 40 Under 40, and her business has been named the Best Interior Design Firm 2020 by the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Radford University has one of the best design programs in the country,” Graham said. “The personal relationship you gain with the professors because of the class size is something that you can't get everywhere, and it really makes a difference in your learning success. I had a great experience at Radford and attribute much of my success to the wonderful professors and rigorous program.”
Graham hit the ground running after her graduation in 2016. She married her high school sweetheart in September of that year and settled in Odenton, Maryland. Shortly after, she began planning the founding of her business. At the end of 2018, Anna Graham Interiors was born.
“I specialize in kitchen and bathroom remodels, but also recommend furniture, window treatments and paint colors,” Graham said. “All of my jobs are different, and the constant change is what keeps every day exciting. It's fun to be able to travel with my job, and it's nice to know that my clients are so comfortable working with me that they trust me with their homes and their vacation homes.”
Two years later, the recognition is rolling in.
“Professional Remodeler is a trade magazine for those in construction, design and the remodeling industry,” Graham said. “Every year, they open applications for their class of 40 under 40. I was lucky enough to be chosen as a part of this year’s class.”
In addition, Graham recently learned about the upcoming recognition for Anna Graham Interiors as the Best Interior Design firm 2020. A profile about the recognition will be published later this month.
Graham attributes her success to the knowledge she gained and the work ethic she developed while a student at Radford University.
“I chose Radford for the design program,” she said, “but during my initial visit, my parents and I were walking through the campus and ran into Dr. Holly Cline, the chair of the Department of Design. She immediately jumped in and gave us a personal tour of McGuffey Hall and information about the design program. A couple days later, I received an email from her asking if I had any more questions and if she could be of any more help. Whether she knows it or not, those actions are what sold me on Radford.”
As a student, Graham said that interior design Professor Joan Dickinson, Ph.D., helped mold her into the designer she is today.
“She taught me to think past the pretty and find the meaning behind my choices,” Graham said. “She taught me to think about how a choice tied back to the message the design was to convey to the clients or customers. Her feedback was always honest and constructive, and I noticed that my design knowledge and skills greatly improved after every course I took of hers.”
Today, Graham continues to rely on what she learned at Radford to grow her business and fuel her success.
“Building a business is challenging, but being recognized for my knowledge and hard work is just confirmation that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing,” Graham said. “I truly believe I wouldn't be as successful as I am without the amazing education that I received at Radford.”