NAHB Education Instructors are a tremendous benefit to hundreds of students every year, guiding them through the information, trends and skills that will help them grow their businesses.
NAHB Master Instructors have taken the extra steps to connect with students and HBA staff, as well as advocate for lifelong learning. They have more than 10 years of real-world experience in the content they teach and take pride in promoting the NAHB Education curriculum.
Wanda E. Gozdz, CAPS, is founder and president of the consulting and interior design firm Golden Age Living, LLC in Deerfield Beach, Fla. She is a consultant, residential interior designer, author and decorated educator — and she was NAHB’s 2014 CAPS Educator of the Year. Her goal is to inform aging consumers on how to adapt their homes to their changing lifestyles and to educate professionals who serve the senior market on how to help clients age in place.
Wanda was kind enough to join us for a chat about her work and education philosophy:
What is your favorite thing about being an NAHB instructor?
When the class is finished, and the attendees tell me that they found the class to be very valuable, or when I am teaching a new a concept and they just had an “Ah!” moment.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
My mentor told me early in my career, “Listen and respect all people’s opinions, even if you don’t agree,” and respond by saying, “Thank you for sharing.”
What was your first job in the building industry?
I am the oldest of seven children, and my oldest brother was my best friend. We built forts and rafts as children and learned critical thinking skills. My dad was a contractor and a brick layer, and from a very young age we were his assistants when he remodeled our home. He did all the work himself and demanded perfection in everything he did. He instilled a great work ethic in all his children. I went off to college and got a degree in education, studied library science and received a degree in Interior Design Technology. Now I design residential interior spaces.
What is your favorite course to teach?
I love to teach the CAPS courses, and my favorite course has been Business Management for Building Professionals. It teaches the building blocks for starting and running a business. If I had that knowledge 35 years ago it would have accelerated my business growth. My goal is to teach my students how to read and interpret financial statements. If they walk away with that knowledge, I know that they are on the road to success.
What drew you to the building industry?
Everyone wants to remain in their home for as long as possible, and I saw a great need to educate consumers and professionals on how to make that happen.
What are some of your hobbies when you’re not designing or teaching?
Running marathons. It requires training, discipline and a commitment to overcome mental, physical and emotional obstacles in order to succeed.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
To stand on top of a mountain 14,000 feet in the air and to be able to touch the clouds.
What’s your favorite movie?
I’m a busy residential interior designer with a lot on my plate. Why should I make time for education?
Education, Education, Education is my motto! Knowledge is power! The more we are informed the better we can make choices and decisions for ourselves and for our clients.