Our line of work is built on the value of relationships and opportunities; what have you found is the best way to communicate in times of conflict?

Stay calm, listen, and be willing to compromise.  Most people I know in this industry are very passionate about their work, and so it's easy to become emotional during these situations or "hold your ground" because of all the previous time and effort involved.  Not allowing personal emotions to take control, and by listening and trying to understand what the other parties' goals are, can help lead to a solution that works for everyone.  And it shouldn't mean giving in or giving up your vision -  it just means making an effort to allow two-way communication and applying a bit of creativity to find an answer where everyone walks away thinking "Success!" (and earns you respect in the process).


Sometimes our career can be demanding; how do you wind down in the evenings to maintain a balanced lifestyle?

When I had a more traditional role in an Architecture firm, winding down started at dinnertime.  Cooking with my husband and eating dinner together as a family was a great way to take a breather from the work day and reconnect.  But now that I own my own business and work from home, my balance comes from having the flexibility to shift my work hours as needed.  We still do dinner together almost every night, but my evenings often involve working, so being able to spend time on family activities throughout the day provides balance now.


In 2017 technology is at our fingertips - what is your favorite app and/or website?

As a specifier who is constantly researching products or installation techniques, Google is my best friend, but for more social aspects, I'm pretty old-school and rely on LinkedIn for keeping up-to-date with colleagues and Facebook for seeing what my friends are up to.  New things I've been exploring are Wunderlist and Todoist (great for sharing home or work lists), streaming music sites and OurPact (a parental app to control tablet time because who wants to always be the "bad guy"?)


As professionals, we are versed in community interaction and collaboration; what are you involved in outside of your profession?

In addition to my current board position on iaWia and increasing involvement in CSI, I've started getting more involved in the kids Johnston school events and my husband and I volunteer at our church.  As a family, we also try to volunteer a couple times a year for local events, like charity races or helping with school fundraising events.  We are also learning how much you can connect with the community just through sports and scouting.


We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you?

To be honest, when I graduated in the early 90's, there were VERY few women architects in practice, especially regionally.  Someone once told me that I was the 11th woman in Iowa to be licensed (a figure I have been unable to validate).  So, my role models were often young architects who were making large contributions locally or regionally, like Randy Brown in Omaha and many of my colleagues from HLKB.  But specific to female role models, most of them were at Iowa State.  Kate Schwennsen was someone who had a very successful career at Mark Engelbrecht's office and was [then] teaching at Iowa State, who I could identify with and definitely looked to as inspiration of what a woman could accomplish in this field.  I also had Karen Bermann, Lynn Paxson, and Jennifer Bloomer as studio instructors and their successes as Architects, Educators, and Authors were also very inspiring.