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Innovators & Disruptors: Women on the Leading Edge

CoVaBIZ Magazine is proud to shine a spotlight on 25 trailblazing women whose impact extends far beyond their individual achievements. You can read their full biographies here and Susan Pilato's below.

Susan Pilato, CEO of Mantra Inspired Furniture
In addition to her role as co-founder and CEO of Mantra Inspired Furniture, Susan Pilato is Principal of the woman-owned, designer-focused company PC&A Business Environments. Alongside a team of talented individuals, Pilato is committed to the creation and manufacture of sustainable, American made, investment grade, solid wood products that won’t end up in a landfill. Both companies have been recognized for their charitable endeavors and community-mindedness. In 2022, Mantra Inspired Furniture joined the Good Future Design Alliance, a community of design-build professionals dedicated to reducing their total waste by 50% over five years.

Can you highlight a project or initiative that you feel has made a significant difference in your field? The Mantra Inspired Furniture brand was born from our concern of the “green washing” of environmentally unfriendly commercial furniture in our design industry. Sharing the lessons learned of the truth in sustainability with our fellow designers has opened minds to understand how to ask the right questions to ensure client projects have authentic sustainable furnishings. Through the sharing of this education, we have made an impact to create less harm to our landfills.

What motivates and inspires you to continue pushing boundaries in your industry or profession?  I love working with our talented team and seeing what we can accomplish. They all inspire me to go high! What advice would you give to your younger self as you were beginning your career journey? Don’t strive towards perfection, but rather excellence. There is no such thing as perfection and there is beauty in imperfection if your mind is open enough to see it.

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a project, who would it be and why? That would be Charles and Ray Eames, who were very influential and innovative designers of modern architecture, furniture and art from the 1940’s – 1980’s. What I admire the most was the insistence of Charles to credit equally his wife, Ray, in all their designs and creations in a time where women were not recognized as leaders in the workplace. They understood what true teamwork and collaboration could create through diversity of thought and experience.


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