August Professional Member of the Month
Martin Gardner Architecture
1. What is the most exciting and energizing aspect of your current position?
I really love being able to work on historic buildings and MGA has been very supportive of me going after the types of projects I want. Each historic building is unique, there are no two the same, so it is always interesting. I’m constantly coming across some unique feature that I haven’t seen before and I love to dig to find out more about it. I find it so inspiring to climb inside a courthouse dome and see a view most people don’t get to. I feel privileged to walk above a theater ceiling and see the inner workings - it’s one of the things I love about being an architect.
2. What was the last interesting book you read?
While it’s probably a bit cliché, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I read the book shortly after it came out and it was such an eye opener for me. I had never thought about all the ways we, as girls, are unconsciously taught to not raise our hand or sit at the table. It’s one of those books that I want to read again and again to keep in the forefront of my mind.
3. What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Besides getting my license, the other big accomplishment I’m proud of is getting my certification in historic preservation. When my daughter was six months old, I started nights and weekend classes and the program took about a year to complete. It consumed a lot of my free time that would have normally been spent with her, but it was ultimately worth it. I’m happy I pushed through it and grateful that I had support from my family to do so.
4. How do you define success? And measure it?
I think success is when you are happy with what you accomplish, whether it be big or small. Most things I set out to achieve, I do and when it’s done well I always feel a sense of pride that I’ve completed something I set my mind to do. Now that I have two kiddos I joke that success is getting to shower by myself, but I do think that scale of goals is important. I try to keep my goals attainable but challenging, so I feel proud that I pushed myself to do something, and do it well.
5. We are Iowa Women in Architecture; who were the female role models that inspired you?
Absolutely, my mom. She taught me to be strong and independent – to always stand up for myself and what was right.
I’ve also recently met Elizabeth Warren and it was an experience I got to share with my four year old daughter. When we met Senator Warren she told my daughter she that was running for president because that’s what girls do and did a pinky promise asking her to remember that. It was unexpected but inspiring because I understand the importance of girls seeing women in positions of power. Now every time my daughter sees her on TV or hears her name, she asks when we are going to go see her again. Strength, determination, and of course persistence are all things that have been passed down to me and I hope to pass them on to my daughter.