International Women’s Week – A conversation with BVC alumna Liz Nandee.

Liz Nandee is turning obstacles into opportunities.

The Bow Valley College community is filled with amazing women who are making strides in their fields, contributing to the College community, and making an impact in Calgary. One such woman is Liz Nandee, a 2001 Interior Decorating graduate and Avenue Magazine Top 40 Under 40 honouree.


Liz, a first-generation Canadian, discovered her love for design during childhood and took every opportunity to learn more about the industry. “Starting my career at a young age, I immersed myself in several aspects of the design industry ranging from interior design to set design,” Liz says.


Her passion for design has blossomed into an incredibly successful career. Liz founded Basic Black Designs Inc. and has designed sets for Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, and many more household names. In addition to her celebrity clients, she also provides event, interior, and commercial design services. 


In honour of International Women’s Week, we sat down with Liz to learn more about her professional journey and how being a woman has impacted her.



Q: How has being a woman affected your professional journey? Have you faced any obstacles along the way?


A: My journey has been very interesting, especially being one of the youngest ethnic females working in the industry. There was a constant need to always prove myself and my capabilities in a very creative and competitive industry.


Q: How did you overcome the obstacles presented by your race, age, and gender?


A: I took on ‘self-created projects’ as well as several charitable projects to be able to prove my talents and took a lot of chances on projects that many said were unachievable. Working on things like celebrity projects helped me stand out and boosted my confidence.


Q: Can you share something encouraging to women like you starting out in their careers?


A: Look out for opportunities, and if there are none, create them yourself.

I would advise women to be confident in their abilities, believe in their dreams, and, most importantly, never give up!

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