Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Cushing on Flourishing Through Integrity

Integrity is the defining trait of any successful entrepreneur, and Lisa Cushing has come to embody that through her professional journey. Over the past 17 years, Lisa Cushing has worked through her company Petals by Design to provide the Houston community with quality floral designs and a dedication to curating a unique experience.

Cushing is a 2001 College of Technology graduate from the Graphic Communications Technology program and a board member for the University of Houston’s Alumni Association Foundation. In 2004, she founded Petals by Design, a local boutique floral design studio, to create the floral visuals of events ranging from weddings to formal dinners.

Starting as a side hustle and growing into a full-time business, Petals by Design has allowed Cushing to touch the lives of those that she has helped through her business.

After nearly two decades of running her business, Cushing continues to look to greater levels of success as a business owner through integrity and commitment to the needs of her customers.

“People want to know that they’re valued,” said Cushing. “At the end of the day if we’re showing them that we value them, then to me that’s a job well done.”

Cushing highlights the importance of her support group and dedication to her work as being essential to her finding success as a woman entrepreneur.

“It has not been easy,” said Cushing. “It’s been a collective effort and teamwork that got us here and has sustained us to this point. If you ever feel like you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve made it, you haven’t made it. You just keep going, you just keep fighting, you keep moving forward.”

Cushing continues to show her Cougar pride by investing her time into the University of Houston Alumni Association Foundation. As a board member, she currently co-chairs the student engagement committee to help with the ring ceremony.

“Watching the excitement when these families come through,” said Cushing. “That’s been so rewarding to see how excited some of these first-generation degree recipients have been.” 

Cushing’s connection with creating student legacies at UH extends to her involvement in the legacy scholarship committee, which assigns scholarships to students whose parents are active members of the UHAA.

“I received a legacy scholarship,” said Cushing. “My dad was a first-generation degree recipient of his entire family. That pulls at me. That’s important to me. I want to make sure that that continues.”

Legacy and impact remain an important part of Cushing’s journey, and she hopes to continue that through her own work professionally and with the university. When asked what advice she may have for future women professionals, she emphasized the importance of balance and being willing to make mistakes as helping her come into her own today.

“If you can at least keep that in the forefront and not be afraid of the hard work that it takes and the long hours, it’s worth it,” said Cushing. “Don’t ever let anybody try to talk you out of it. That would be my advice.”