Jodi Duncan:: My journey to become AIFD

Jodi Duncan in AIFD Symposium Class

Jodi Duncan is a talented and enthusiastic  florist out of Southern Illinios.   Please take a moment to check out her designs on her website,,  they are amazing.  Jodi is also a member of AIFD, the American Insititute of Floral Design. It is the highest honor a designer can achieve, standards are high and membership is prestegious. There are only 1,200 members in the world.   In her words, this is her story of becoming AIFD. 

I purposed in my heart to become AIFD at a young age. My first job was in a flower shop. I was 15.  I remember reading the industry publications and noticing “the letters” after the names of featured designers. I soon discovered that AIFD was the benchmark, the gold standard of excellence in the floral industry. In my youth and zeal, I wanted that. I said “When I grow up, I want to be AIFD” so  my journey began as a personal goal.  
When I turned 33, I figured I WAS a grown-up and needed to get serious. I had my second child in 2003 and began ramping up my skills in 2004. By 2007 I was finally ready. At that time, I remember reading a quote by Anais Nin “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I could identify!
My AIFD journey was a wonderful process. Along the way, I asked questions. I took risks. I took classes. I learned.  I cried. I sobbed. I got mad. And most importantly, I got BETTER. I found joy in my passion for flowers and creativity.  Along my journey (and it was a LONG journey….!)  my reasons for wanting to be AIFD expanded and became deeper; my talents and purpose more refined.
I saw this as an opportunity to give back to the floral industry that had been so good to me. 
Another reason developed along the way…. friendship. I connected easily with other like minded designers. As I traveled around the country taking design classes, I met the most wonderful people who have enriched my life. AIFD is a terrific community to be a part of. I have dear friends from coast to coast and around the world, all because of AIFD. I have friendships that would not exist without AIFD, as well as experiences I would have never had without AIFD.  I did not come into the AIFD family with delusions of being rich or famous.  I live in the cornfield.  I joke that some of the people in my demographics can’t spell AIFD.  
So many wonderful things in my career are directly traced to being an AIFD accredited designer. Each Symposium only adds to the connections, the friendships, the inspiration, the knowledge. Symposium is a tremendous experience on many levels.
There is no doubt that within the floral industry, that AIFD opens doors that would otherwise be much more difficult to open.  I now get invitations to design for stage shows, do showroom work at the markets, contribute to trade publications, and large scale design projects,  and was recently (TODAY!) invited to design in Europe.  Does that happen for everyone who is a member of AIFD? Certainly not.  Was that the reason I wanted to achieve accreditation? No. I just wanted the satisfaction of knowing I was a part of the best of the best. The opportunities and friendships are the icing on my AIFD cake. Everybody has a different cake. These are the elements that compose mine.
Will AIFD make everyone a rock star? No. Will it get you fame and fortune? Doubtful. Will it make you a better florist, a better designer, a better human being? Most certainly.
-Jodi Duncan, AIFD
Jodi Duncan

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  1. A funny thing happened after my AIFD test in D.C…..I met Jodi Duncan. Actually, I believe it was after Jodi was inducted into AIFD, I ran into her and said, “Hey! I know you! We tested right next to each other in D.C.!” and believe me when I say it was a miracle that I remember anything after that test. I do remember her lovely accent and curly hair and yes, we became friends because of AIFD. Jodi has done some amazing work and this girl is unstoppable!