April Professional Member of the Month


Sarah Coleman

Martin Gardner Architecture

Project Architect

1. What is the most exciting and energizing aspect of your current position?

The most exciting and energizing part of my job is imparting knowledge on the younger generation.  I didn’t realize how quickly almost 20 years would go and now I find myself one of the older ones in the office.  I also love dealing with construction administration. Finding creative solutions to problems in the field is something I pride myself on.  

2. What was the last interesting book you read?

I am currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I had recently heard her interviewed on a podcast I regularly listen to call “Do it Scared” by Ruth Soukup.  Part of the reason I listen to this particular podcast is to help me figure out what my next big goals should be and to keep me pushing myself.  What I am really enjoying about The Happiness Project is how the author sets an area in her life each month to focus on and develops resolutions to track improving her happiness in that area.  Sometimes we just need to reframe our thinking and it completely changes our point of view.

3. What do you worry about, and why?

What don’t I worry about is probably an easier question to answer.  I am a worrier by nature. I think the underlying theme of my worry is thinking “am I good enough.”  In this day and age, it is easy to get caught up in comparing oneself to others and then never feeling like you measure up.  Sometimes you just have to keep making your inner voice say, “you’ve got this and you are good enough.”

4. How do you define success? And measure it?

I look at success as defining and setting goals and then meeting those goals.  I decided I wanted to become an Architect in 6th grade.  Once that decision was made it was easy to track what to do next, do good in school, get an architecture degree, find a job in the field, and eventually licensure.  Even though start to finish took quite a bit of time, I have been licensed since 2012 and my youngest son is now 4. Lately I have kind of felt like I am floundering to find what my next big goal is going to be.  I think it is important to keep pushing ourselves towards something or it can become easy to become complacent.

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

I hope this answer does not sound too cliché but my answer is my mom.  My mom was a teacher. She ran the household and raised 3 kids. My dad was an airline pilot so he was gone a lot, leaving her often to take care of it all.  I was always encouraged and told that I could do anything or be anything I wanted. So that is why I was not intimidated when it came to selecting a career that, at the time, was male dominated.