Current Title & Company: Associate, Architect; Elkus Manfredi Architects
Brief description of who you are professionally with concise accomplishments:
I am an architect at Elkus Manfredi Architects (EMA) and have been practicing for 6 years, mainly working on residential and commercial projects. I am currently leading construction administration for a high-rise residential project here in Boston. Architects have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment, so I maintain a LEED certification and prioritize personal education around green design in my career. I also enjoy working with our in-house 3D fabrication team to create 3D models that support the design process and communicate ideas to clients. Lastly, I am involved in our office’s recruiting efforts and work to improve diversity and representation in the architecture industry.
Why did you join TWT and what are you hoping to achieve as a member of the organization?
As an architect, my core professional network is limited to the architecture and design industries, whereas TWT affords me the opportunity and privilege of connecting with women from diverse professional backgrounds. These women embody success in every way, and I look forward to learning, sharing, and growing with them. Beyond a strictly professional network, TWT allows for real connections that exceed the occasional conference or mixer. This type of constant connection is what I have been looking for as a young professional.
What is one of your most proud professional moments and what are you most looking forward to professionally in the next five years?
My proudest professional moment thus far has been becoming a licensed architect. After completing my five-year B.Arch degree at Cornell University’s National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)–accredited program, documenting required experience in all phases of design and passing seven licensure exams, I officially became an architect in 2017. This accomplishment is particularly important to me given that Black women represent only 0.4% of licensed architects in the US. This year, 2020, we celebrate surpassing the milestone of 500 African American women licensed architects and look forward to watching this number increase exponentially in the years to come. I have made it a personal goal to help others achieve licensure, especially African American women. Along those lines, I look forward to seeing how architecture can respond to ongoing social, economic, and health-related tragedies that have finally been given a platform this year.
What do you do in your free time? Hobbies, Interest?
My primary focus outside of work is to stay active! Usually that means lifting at the gym or playing in a basketball league. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve been spending a lot more time running outdoors or exercising at a nearby park. As a Boston native, I also make sure I have time to watch the Celtics when in season! I love to travel and try to take at least one major trip every year. Everywhere I go, I like to visit a museum or building of architectural interest. I also purchased a home last year, so I’ve enjoyed playing “interior designer” and taking on some small projects around my new place!
What are your 3 core values?
Patience: Having patience with myself and with others is so important professionally and in my personal life. Giving others the opportunity to learn, grow, and ask questions requires an additional investment that always pays off over time.
Optimism: Optimism requires resilience, will, and determination. All of these attributes showcase an attitude of forward-thinking and hopefulness that have helped me in my life and career, especially on my path to licensure.
Authenticity: Authenticity has never been more important than in 2020. Someone who is their most authentic self is reliable and trustworthy. Mean what you say, and do what you say you are going to do.
Fun Fact: What Makes YOU, you?
I am an extreme DIYer, thanks to my parents. I watched them take on many projects over the course of my childhood—including a complete renovation of our home—which sparked my initial interest in architecture and design. There’s something about watching a 5′-7″ woman jackhammering in our backyard—or hanging out of a 3rd-story window strapped to a bed frame—that makes you feel like you can complete any project on your own!