I accidentally signed up for architecture when I filled out my Texas Common Application in high school, but my passion for the profession grew when I started in the program and realized how much I appreciated the infiniteness in problem solving. Everyone would be given the same problem, but everyone would produce a different solution based on their individual backgrounds and perspectives. I loved it.

The next generation of up-and-coming architects and designers inspire me to design and continue to learn and grow as a designer. I have promising young designer on my team that I help to develop her skills, and while working with her I find her interest in learning from me pushes me to improve upon my own design skills.

Some of my frequent challenges involve the assumption at meetings by clients that whatever male I was in attendance with was by default my superior… even when they were the intern I brought along for a learning opportunity. After over 14 years in the industry, the assumptions lessen, and I have learned how to navigate the situations a lot better than when I was earlier in my career.

Like others who represent marginalized diversity in the profession, we bring valuable perspectives and skills resulting from our unique experiences as women. In addition to being more that qualified to do the same work as our male peers, we, at times, add more value because of how we have learned to navigate in life as women in male dominated societies.

My advice is to always keep moving forward. Sometimes you get to be inspired by those that come before you, and other times you get to be an inspiration for others when that trailblazer doesn’t already exist. No matter what the industry looks like when you enter it, know that you will succeed as long as you decide its for you not matter what.

Two of my more recent projects, the Houston Choice Neighborhood Third Ward Cuney Homes Planning project and my SAISD MLK Academy project, have both allowed me to do more a lot more community engagement which is one of my favorite parts of a project. The people side of architecture has always been rewarding to me, and whenever I get to connect more with people on a project those seem to become my favorites.

Building Enclosure Celebrates International Women's Day

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Jacqueline Beckingham Melvalean McLemore Lisa Haude Erin McDannald Ashley Smith Samantha McCormack Rachael Lewis Taylor Starr Stephanie Lafontaine Christine Faverio Erin Carlisle Melissa Strickland Lisbeth Jimenez Ula Bochinska