Atelier Drome is thrilled to announce an exciting new change to our firm - architects Shannon Wing and Miriam Hinden have been promoted to Principals!
Miriam and Shannon have been working at Atelier Drome for several years and are an essential part of the core leadership. Let’s dive into a recent interview that we had with them where they shared a bit about their experience, discussed the importance of women in leadership, and their upcoming goals for Atelier Drome.
Women representation in architecture
Having female representation is paramount in any industry, and especially in architecture. Data shows that about half of students in architecture programs in the U.S. are women, however only 17% of women go on to become registered architects. This percentage has slowly but steadily increased over the years, but we must still ask - how can we push to have even more female representation in architecture? Miriam believes we should begin having more of an open dialogue and encourage younger generations of women to seek female mentors for support to gain valuable knowledge. Shannon emphasized the importance of seeing more women in leadership in our field and how transformative and inspiring it can be to a young professional. Our newest Principals understand the struggles to succeed as women in architecture and have a shared goal to always foster a positive environment, to motivate, and help other women ascend the professional ladder.
Pieces of Advice
Miriam and Shannon gave advice for women interested in becoming leaders in architecture. Shannon mentioned that it is “important to approach challenges with a solution focused mindset” and that taking the time to find a firm that supports and values your contributions is everything Miriam also said that it is crucial to be, “engaging, ready to collaborate, and have a shared vision by bringing everyone’s ideas together.” Both Miriam and Shannon mentioned that if you are a recent graduate, it is important to be confident about your creativity and skillset and to take on internship opportunities wherever you can. The more exposure you have, whether through a formal paid internship, building furniture, volunteering to help build houses, or accepting an opportunity to shadow an architect for a day, or even taking sketching classes, “helps you build your portfolio and further yourself as a creative professional,” Miriam said.
Questions + Answers
What is your favorite part about working at Atelier Drome?
Shannon stated “we work with a fun bunch of people that make going into the office enjoyable. Our projects are diverse enough that it’s not uncommon that someone will often be working on something completely different than you, and that leads to great conversation and ways to collaborate.” Miriam mentioned that it’s “all about the people in our studio!” She elaborated that “we learn so much from each other every day. It’s great to be able to chat through a design, gather round the drawing table and sketch together. Being together at the same table is really fundamental to how we collaborate.”
How does Atelier Drome foster a sense of community?
Miriam mentioned that team members like to get together outside work hours, sometimes at happy hours, to have backyard dog hangouts, and volunteer at events together. Shannon explained that the way our teams are structured in the office helps bring people together in ways that are unrelated to their projects. Everyone is part of a small team that meets weekly, giving people the chance to get to know others in the office and to learn from people that might have different types of experiences or perspectives. She also mentioned that we have charrettes, office meetings, and social gatherings that all help foster a sense of connection within our workplace.
How does Atelier Drome maintain a work-life balance?
Shannon explained that reviewing staffing and upcoming deadlines as a group of team leads every week has proven key to maintaining balance across all levels of the firm and enables us to adapt quickly to deadlines. Miriam stated a similar point- that we are working to help each other, so oftentimes work will be distributed throughout the office to create a more cohesive balance that is flexible and considerate of everyone’s work/life balance. Miriam said that by doing this “our office really strives to make sure that people are supported in and out of the office.”
Owners and Partners- Michelle Linden and Henry Walters weighed in as well. First, we asked, “what makes Miriam & Shannon great leaders?” Michelle and Henry both agreed that Shannon has an ability to organize massive office workflow & anticipate everyone’s needs, is respected within the office for her natural leadership abilities, and her willingness to spend time answering questions. Along with that, Michelle and Henry agreed that Miriam is extremely knowledgeable about our internal processes, building and accessibility codes, is exceptionally organized, and maintains a calm and level-headed demeanor even during difficult times.
When asked, “how do Miriam and Shannon help foster a sense of community and collaboration within Atelier Drome?,” Michelle answered “the entire AD team relies on Shannon and Miriam for advice, guidance, and for a second pair of eyes. Their regular presence in the office is a boon for our new architectural staff and more experienced staff alike. Recently, they had both taken on organizing our office-wide charrettes and learning series, which are great collaborative opportunities the entire office appreciates.” Lastly, we asked “what do you hope they will accomplish as the new principals of Atelier Drome?” and they agreed that they know Miriam and Shannon will help grow the firm in new and unexpected ways, along with continuing to mentor and inspire the younger AD members.
In terms of what comes next for these two, we discussed a few of their top priorities for Atelier Drome and we’re excited to see their new ideas in action!
To learn more about Miriam and Shannon check out their biography pages on our website!