December Professional Member of the Month

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Brenda Nelson


Associate Principal

1. 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? Our first goal should always be to build trustworthy relationships.  If we do that well, any disagreement that arises can be more easily resolved.   If conflict does arise, “reflective” listening is a good first step.  Work to fully understand what the other party is saying and clarify, by stating it back to them.  Be respectful when stating your own position and craft your words in a way that does not put the other party on the defensive. I’ve found that most people are much more open to resolution when they know we are truly working to build a consensus.

2. Sometimes our careers can be demanding; how do you wind down in the evenings to maintain a balanced lifestyle? Playing tennis or working out, is the best stress reliever for me.  I find that heading to the tennis courts after a long day’s work –  is just what I need to decompress.  And most days just aren’t complete unless I have had some time to do a bit of reading on my own.

3. In 2017 technology is at our fingertips - what is your favorite app and/or website? Evernote is my go-to app. I started using it after I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.  It keeps my mind less cluttered, is always available on my phone or computer, and has curbed my tendency to hand-write a list and promptly lose it.

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

·         Church and Christian lay counseling ministry. 

·         Tennis

5. We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you? My mom is my primary role model.  She was a hard-working professional with an adventurous spirit, very high expectations and a positive outlook. Growing up, our motto at home was “work hard, play hard”.  She taught me that anything worth doing, was worth the chance that you might fail at it.

Iowa Women in Architecture