My professional journey in the industry took off right after obtaining my Bachelor of Architecture. My first step was an internship at an interior design firm located in Wall Street's bustling financial district. This role had me frequently visiting landmarks like the D&D Building (now known as the A&D Building) and the New York Design Center to collect memo samples and specification sheets, providing a solid foundation in the field. My role expanded significantly when I transitioned to an architectural firm in vibrant Midtown. 

There, I was involved in various phases of architectural projects—from drafting RFPs and presenting conceptual designs to design development, developing detailed construction drawings, and conducting job site visits and surveys, all the way through to substantial completion. After gaining substantial experience in design, I found myself drawn to explore another dimension of the industry. This led me to the architectural sales sector, opening up a new chapter in my career and offering a fresh perspective on the industry that I'm deeply passionate about.

Design and I have been in a lifelong romance! What really gets my creative juices flowing is travel. It's fascinating to see how different cultures shape and interact with their built-in environment. Even though my day-to-day doesn't always let me flex my design muscles as much as I'd like, I seize every chance to sprinkle a bit of my design passion into life. Whether it's breathing life into the markilux showrooms or reimagining spaces in my family homes, there's always a project. And don't get me started on spaces that just don't 'work'—I can't help but dream up ways to make them both functional and beautiful.

Walking the path in this industry as a woman certainly presents its unique set of hurdles. There are days when I find myself inadvertently stepping back, wrestling with that all-too-familiar imposter syndrome whispering doubts. Then there are those subtle, yet persistent, microaggressions—like my name being mistaken repeatedly, despite gentle corrections. Yes, it's Ashley. Such moments can be a test of patience. Yet, it's these very challenges that forge our determination, turning obstacles into stepping stones for greater resilience.

We women have this innate knack for creativity, don't we? It's like we're wired to manage a million things at once, all while keeping our creative spark alive. This ability to multitask and think on our feet is what makes us stand out, especially when deadlines loom and the pressure is on.

My advice is to embrace the journey, every single step. Be deliberate in your growth, soak up knowledge like a sponge, and build a skillset that propels you forward. And remember, the path to success isn't always a straight line—be ready for its twists and turns.

Reflecting on my career, the projects that stand out are the ones where I had a hand in designing for Consulates and Embassies to the UN. Being trusted with such significant responsibilities early on was a game-changer for me. And then there's the thrill of working on projects for celebrity clients through markilux—knowing that my awnings are part of their lives is incredibly rewarding. Each project, big or small, taught me something valuable, shaping the designer and business professional I am today.

Building Enclosure Celebrates International Women's Day

Part 2 of a 2 part series

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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