july professional member of the month
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?
Getting to “yes” starts with active and empathetic listening, seeking to understand other perspectives, finding the kernel of agreement to develop, collaboratively creating a solution (even if partial) with which all can align – OR respectfully stating one’s point of view and values, possibly suggesting other possible assistance for the person or group, then moving on.
Sometimes our careers can be demanding; how do you wind down in the evenings to maintain a balanced lifestyle? My career has long been a composite of several activities, from an historic architect and tax credits consultant to office manager/partner for my husband’s home inspection business to hat shop retailer. That variety helped with balance, given that I was working from home in relatively small blocks of time over 8 to16 hours daily. Over the last 9 years as a widow, West African djembe drumming several times a week in the local community – so playing poly-rhythmic traditional music is a great grounding and releasing activity -- which may not be winding down so much as shifting my energy. And then, having a social community based on earth-reverence feeds my spirit and gives an outlet for creativity and play.
In 2017 technology is at our fingertips - what is your favorite app and/or website? Ha – my favorite tools are grid paper and bar/café napkins for creative brainstorming and collaboration. I have long joked that as architects, we almost cannot talk unless we hold a pen/pencil in our hand!
As professionals we are versed in community interaction and collaboration; what are you involved in outside of your profession? I stay pretty active in historic design issues within my historic district neighborhood. Most recently, I have gotten a little bit involved in Girls Rock, which is an organization using music to empower marginalized persons.
We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you? Barb Welander of Mt. Pleasant encouraged me to become a licensed architect and join her in the AIA. Julia Morgan and Denise Scott Brown were role models on the way, as were artists Georgia O’Keefe, Frieda Kahlo, and Judy Chicago. Some more recent contemporaries for whom I am grateful are Claudia Cackler, Suzanne Schwengels, and Kate Schwensen -- and the fact of more women in architecture every year!