Lab Rats in the Race

Lisa Adams ('91)

President/Designer, LA Closet Design

ULSF Board President, 2017-2018

I sincerely believe that my experience as a student at University Laboratory School has been the foundation for my adult life endeavors. On so many levels, ULS’s progressive and inclusive nature engendered a respect for process, knowledge, community and importantly, the benefits of being a well-rounded person.

The requirement of participation in all core subjects was challenging at times but it instilled in me a far broader set of interests than I could have imagined. It opened doors that I might never have walked through. Art, music and athletics are all as integral to my life as science and math. As a sixth grader with absolutely no experience with basketball I was able to join the team and work my way to varsity. I continued playing basketball through college and today it remains one of my great passions – and best of all it is shared by my son. But perhaps the close knit and supportive environment is what made me feel free to try, fail and try again. Important life lessons!

ULS’s emphasis on research and development led me to my first career in science. At University of California, Berkley, I majored in chemistry. But after a few years in a professional lab setting my creative side was seeking expression. Largely because ULS encouraged experimentation, I had the confidence to take a dramatic departure and pursue my MBA at Pepperdine where I began exploring business ideas which led to my unexpected but highly rewarding career as a designer. As an innovator in the residential design space I specialize in ultra-luxury closets and have managed to combine a diverse set of interests and skills. My type A, left brain side is exercised by the precision of organization, measurement and the detail work of building. My right brain, creative side is refreshed with the art of design and the process of marketing. Which takes me back to idea of how a well-rounded education helps a person be prepared for the bumps of the road, open to new opportunities and explore new ideas, as well as be able to relate to a wide variety of people.

I truly do feel a debt to ULS and participating in the school’s future as well as acknowledging my past is the best way I know of giving back. I am currently the president of the University Laboratory School Foundation which is dedicated to supporting ULS’s dual missions – designing and delivering the best possible education for students and serving the educational research and development community. In this capacity I am charged with raising monies and making sure all committees and governing boards are working in harmony towards a single goal of improving ULS. Ensuring that ULS continues its good work preparing future generations of students for the world of tomorrow is one of the most valuable things I can do for my hometown of Honolulu.

In Los Angeles, I carry that value forward in giving back to my new community both personally and professionally. I am a member of the Advisory Council of Dress for Success, a philanthropic organization that provides clothing, education and counseling for women. In addition, I am the proud mother of an equally well-rounded teenage boy whose personal education I have molded after the one I received at ULS.

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