Summary of Qualifications:
As an emerging professional and recent graduate of AIA Georgia’s Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, I am interested in the position of the Young Architects Representative as the next intentional step for my growth and responsibility as an architect and leader.
I own a small practice in Atlanta, and I teach design studios at Georgia Tech. I love what I do. I love the variety of opportunities and experiences it offers. I love feeling like I’m working towards something I believe in. But architecture can be an incredibly tough industry for many people. During a class last spring, I met with my students to talk about how their semesters had been going. Unsurprisingly, several of the conversations were punctuated with expressions of anxiety, depression, burnout, and general frustration. And I felt it. I felt it for them, and I felt it for me. Thinking of the careers they would go on to have, the offices they would be part of, and the people they would work for, I saw my younger self in so many of them, and I felt an immense responsibility to do more.
My first few years in the profession have revealed a critical need for change and progress. I am concerned about the sustainability and well-being of many of my peers, colleagues, and students, especially those belonging to groups who are underrepresented. I am in the process of looking for ways to make these issues more visible and begin breaking down the barriers between academia and practice. My priorities in this role would be centered around these issues of visibility and advocacy. As stated by Brené Brown, “you either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
I recently wrote an article recounting the damaging discrimination I have personally experienced in the industry, and the number of people who reached out afterwards to share their own stories was heartbreaking. A few even attributed their decision to leave the profession to this discriminatory treatment, abandoning architecture altogether for careers in which they felt they had a more equitable opportunity to succeed. I know no shortage of architects who would love to get out of architecture, and I think that illustrates a very deep and critical problem. There is no justifiable reason why ambitious, talented, and hard-working individuals cannot find satisfying and healthy careers as architects.
True sustainability is multifaceted sustainability, demanding the consideration of internal relationships, external interactions, and the resulting consequences of our work. We need to examine how our efforts align with the priorities of equitability, accessibility, and affordability, and we must advocate for these priorities and support each other though every step of the process from early academia to firm leadership. Opportunities for education, growth, and success should be accessible to all, and I intend to use the responsibilities of the Young Architects Representative to bring positive and compassionate conversations of inclusivity to the community.