Success Strategies and The National Design Studio Institute
are proud to celebrate these outstanding Design Consultants

Design Consultant of the Month, August, 2022

Christy Contestable, Certified DC PRO
Design Professional

Rochester, NY

Number of Years as a Design Consultant: 11

Here are some of Christy’s achievements that qualified her to be the Design Consultant of the Month for August, 2022.

Product evaluation and improvement

Christy closely scrutinized the included features and additional investments to maintain customer value while minimizing issues with availability or customers’ perceived lack of value.  In close collaboration with the electricians & internal stakeholders, she brought in a new lighting supplier that offered a wider range of attractive and in-stock products at a comparable or lesser wholesale cost.  Increasing costs, reduced availability, discontinued products, extended lead times, product quality and more were all addressed through Christy’s effective communication, persistence and collaboration. Margins were protected as design studio purchases also continued to rise.

Christy says:. Making sure our design studio is up date with current product samples has been a labor of love. We are in constant communication with our vendors to ensure we have only available products in our design studio.

Jay Benesh, General Manager, and Chelsea Madden, Design Studio Consultant, say:
“Christy’s efforts have been nothing less than heroic: efficiently reviewing customer wants & needs while making process adjustments to account for supply chain delays and discontinued products. Christy has proven to be an excellent resource, time and time again, to the entire Riedman Homes Team!”

Delivers a superb customer experience

Jay and Chelsea say:
“Christy consistently and repeatedly receives high scores for customer satisfaction and is frequently mentioned by name in customer surveys. Her efficiency and expediency in the selection process has saved thousands in costs. Faced with rapid market changes, including drastic price fluctuations and material availability, Christy has remained calm, professional, and been a trusted resource to a variety of customers navigating todays construction challenges.”

Implemented new design studio technology

Christy supervised the implementation and maintenance of the Riedman Homes online Design Studio and visualizers.

Christy’s Journey

I have been a design professional with Riedman Homes for 11 years. An internship during college at a high end design/ decorating center turned into a full time position for about 4 years. I also worked in the flooring business for a few years.  I was recommended for my current position by a design client who was building with Riedman Homes at the time.  The rest is history.

What she loves most about her career

Helping our homeowners bring the vision they have for their new home to life.  It’s important to us that the client’s personality shines through no matter their budget.

 Favorite Design Trend

I don’t really have a favorite design trend.  There is always something I love about each design trend. That’s what I love about design- What’s Next?! I’m getting the biggest kick out of the “Grandma” trend.   Modern interiors mixed with a few antiques.  Creating that “Grandma’s House” vibe….

Tips for other Design Consultants

The biggest tip would be, really listen to the client.  Our job is to bring their vision to life.  Ask A LOT of questions.  We are guiding them in making many permanent decisions they will see daily for years.

Another great tip….If they are struggling with relaying their vision, ask to look at their Pinterest boards or ask them to bring in some inspiration photos.

Last tip- Research the current trends & products. Always have a couple of “wow” products in your design studio.

Fun Fact

I have been obsessed with design since I was a kid.  I would always move my family’s furniture around and recreate their spaces in my head.  It wasn’t until I took a quiz that told me I was meant to be a designer, that I changed my major in college from criminal justice to interior design.

I cant imagine doing anything else.

Upcoming goals

For the rest of 2022 include preparing the design studio for a major product update for 2023 & continuing education courses. 2023 goals include: increase sales at the design studio by offering unique products.  Hold more events at the design studio.  Continue to elevate the customer service experience. Continue to grow my skills.

Note from Jane

Always an overachiever, Christy enrolled into the DC PRO training and certification program when it first opened, in October 2020, and quickly became among our first group of proud Certified DC PROs. It’s clear that Christy wears many hats besides the critically important role of handling homebuyer selections and delivering a superb customer experience to every one of them!  Way to go, Christy, for bringing in technology resources, and handling product challenges as well. It’s quite an accomplishment to have your manager say that your actions have been heroic.

WOW! Join me in celebrating this months hero, Christy!

Design Consultant of the Month, July, 2022

Stephanie Bensley, Certified DC PRO
Senior Design Consultant Professional

Chesapeake Homes,
Virginia Beach, VA

Number of Years as a Design Consultant: 5

Here are some of Stephanie’s achievements that qualified her to be the Design Consultant of the Month for July, 2022.

Increased Total Purchase Price/Option Sales

Stephanie’s ability to convey the value of many products has resulted in increased option sales, while maintaining high customer satisfaction. She’s proven that buyers are willing to spend more money when they understand the value they are receiving and see the reason for the higher cost. This was the result of extensive time and effort put toward improving product knowledge and the way that she conveyed that information to her customers.

Provided Training for Design Consultants at company’s newest design gallery

Stephanie volunteered to visit a new design gallery in another state, to help the Design Consultants there work the DC PRO style of selling seamlessly into their appointments with buyers, as she had successfully been doing at her own design gallery.  She helped the consultants to completely reformat the way they moved through the new gallery, helped improve product presentation, and provided valuable product education to the Consultants working there.

Brandi Peralta, Chesapeake’s VP of Sales and Marketing, says:
“The Design Consultants down there love her!  I get asked when she is coming back all the time.  She made an impact that has resulted in an increase in their numbers, while also making things easier on them.”

Stephanie’s Journey

Stephanie joined Chesapeake almost 7 years ago as an assistant working to get her real estate license. She submersed herself in everything she could to learn everything she could. She was chosen to represent the company’s new design gallery and dove in head first, applying her same work ethic and determination to learn all that she could to make the design gallery successful.

Brandi says:
“I am impressed every time I see her in a design appointment. She continues to grow and learn and strives to make herself better at her job every day. She epitomizes what everyone should look for in a Design Consultant.”

What she loves most about her career

I love the moment after I make suggestions for a customer’s home, when all the selections come together just right. The look of surprise and excitement on their faces knowing they have created their dream home/kitchen is the best. Also, my career provides the perfect balance of following a process while allowing my creative side to flourish!

Favorite Design Trend

I love bringing in pops of color, and jewel tones are hitting just right. Greens and blues are soothing and comforting while providing a memory point in a home. And I’m definitely glad to see warm tones coming back around, giving homes a cozy vibe.

Tips for other Design Consultants

Trust the [DC PRO] process! My background is not in design but I think I have been able to find success in my role because I believed in and followed the Success Strategies guidebook, and over the past two years, implemented what I learned from the DC PRO course. Having the right tools in my toolbox helps buyers to be confident in their decisions.

Fun Fact

My husband and I say we are traveling the alphabet! What started as our first vacation together to Antigua has been followed by countries starting with the letters B, C, D and soon to be E. Covid slowed down our travel plans but I’m excited to see where our ABC’s take us!

Goals for this year

I can’t wait to get back to presale design appointments! We have been in an inventory-only selling format for a while. During this time I was able to work closely with our purchasing department on updating and streamlining products that the design team offers.   I am looking forward to the ability to interact with buyers again and finally seeing their smiling faces. I’m starting to brush up on my product knowledge so I’m ready to provide the best experience yet for our buyers.

Note from Jane

I’m so impressed with everything Stephanie has done to become an outstanding Design Consultant!  I got to know Stephanie when she volunteered as an “advance program material tester” for our DC PRO training and certification program.  Stephanie was part of the team of actual Design Consultant and Design Studio Managers who reviewed all of the DC PRO lessons, exercises and follow-up activities before we released the program to the public, and she constantly offered invaluable feedback and insightful comments. Her input surely made DC PRO more user-friendly for everyone else!  As I got to know Stephanie throughout the long months of the testing phase, it was apparent that she is passionate about her job, and is a self-starter who is dedicated to doing whatever she can to continue getting better and better.

Stephanie is also an active member of the Certified DC PRO Insiders Club, and contributed the topic for the July Idea Exchange session, when we discussed goal-setting for design studios and consultants.

Join us in congratulating Stephanie for a job well done.

To nominate someone (or yourself!) for Design Consultant of the Month, contact
Laura Cook, Program Director at to request a nomination form.

Someone is eligible for nomination if their primary role is meeting with a builder’s customers to handle personalization, regardless of their official title.

To congratulate one of the Design Consultants of the Month, visit our Fb or LInkedin page and leave a comment on the post!