Women’s History Month: IA Inspirations

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In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked a few of the many successful women in the IA family to name a woman who has inspired them and impacted their career, personal life, or both.

Maya Lin at the Museum of Glass. Image © Sharon Styer, Wikimedia Commons.

Maya Lin has been a big inspiration of mine. She has a passion for the environment and incorporates her values into all her designs. At just 21 years old she won the public competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which put her on the map. Her work continues to inspire and speak to her passion for building awareness to protect our beautiful earth. Lin says,
“To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.”

Teressa Merck

AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP

Managing Director, Raleigh

Teressa Merck

AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP

Managing Director, Raleigh

Author, researcher, and storyteller Dr. Brené Brown. Image courtesy of Bbearg Team & Wikimedia Commons.

Both professionally and personally, I have been inspired by Dr. Brené Brown. She writes and speaks about being vulnerable and embracing the imperfect. Her books have been life-changing for me and two of my favorite quotes of hers are:

“Connection is why we are here; it is what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives”​

&

“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.”

Michelle Atkinson

IIDA

Managing Director, Houston

Both professionally and personally, I have been inspired by Dr. Brené Brown. She writes and speaks about being vulnerable and embracing the imperfect. Her books have been life-changing and two of my favorite quotes of hers are

“Connection is why we are here; it is what gives us purpose and meaning to our lives”​

&

“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.”


Michelle Atkinson

IIDA

Managing Director, Houston

Christine Veenendaal. Image courtesy of LinkedIn.

The woman who’s probably had the biggest impact on my career is probably Christine Veenendaal, former
Regional Executive at Nelson (Formerly VeenendaalCave). Christine’s imprint on my life spanned over two decades of personal and professional growth. She helped map my future and supported the depth of impact she knew was in me, even though it took me longer to figure out for myself. She was a force that I won’t ever be able to shake…nor would I want to. This imprint is formed by a legacy of love that I continue to utilize each and every day. She will always empower me to take life a step farther than I believe is possible, offer more empathy than is warranted, but always empower others to “take care of each other and do so with a joyful heart…”

Jodi Borges-Bradley

LEED AP, NCIDQ

Managing Director, Atlanta

Jodi Borges-Bradley 

LEED AP, NCIDQ

Managing Director, Atlanta

My interest in graphic design was sparked by my grandmother, who studied commercial art at Pratt in the late 1930s. She illustrated greeting cards before she met and married my grandfather. When I was a child, she encouraged my interest in drawing and helped me see that a love for art could, in fact, lead to a career.

Julie Maggos

SEGD, LEED AP

Senior Director of Experiential Graphic Design

Artist and inspiration Alice Switzler Baldwin.

My interest in graphic design was sparked by my grandmother, who studied commercial art at Pratt in the late 1930s. She illustrated greeting cards before she met and married my grandfather. When I was a child, she encouraged my interest in drawing and helped me see that a love for art could, in fact, lead to a career.

Julie Maggos

SEGD, LEED AP

Senior Director of Experiential Graphic Design

Melissa Marsh, Founder Executive Director of Plastarc, Inc. Image courtesy of LinkedIn. 

When I took my first job after graduating, I was almost immediately immersed in client meetings—something that often takes a few years to grow into with experience. I believe it was because my firm at the time thought I was professional, mature, and confident enough to handle it. They may have had the professional and maturity pieces right, but certainly not the confidence! While I did my best to come off as confident, deep inside it was very intimidating to be in meetings and presentations that were comprised mostly (if not all) of men (and highly successful ones at that). While it was intimidating, I knew I had to be part of the solution to get more women to the table.


I found myself at most meetings counting the men and women and calculating the percentages. Over time, I noticed the female percentage slowly begin to rise. More and more women were not only being brought to the table but were leading the conversation and being a large part of the decision-making process. I was fortunate to have learned from these women and how they navigated the male-dominated landscape.


Melissa Marsh is one of the women I learned a lot from in this arena. She introduced me to workplace strategies, a niche I had not known existed, which immediately resonated with me. A recognized expert in strategies, she took me under her wing and invited me to high-level male-dominated meetings that she led with confidence. The way she spoke was inspiring, and she was a good listener. Melissa let me know I was being heard and that my perspective was meaningful, which is critical for a woman’s development in business.

Kelly Funk

NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C

Managing Director, Philadelphia

Kelly Funk

NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C

Managing Director, Philadelphia

One of the most influential female figures in my life is my mom. She always taught me to hold my head high, have confidence in myself and my abilities, and at the same time be humble and have empathy for others. Her unwavering support, even in my adult life, is a true joy and a luxury.

Lynn Vandeberg

LEED AP, IIDA

Co-managing Director, Seattle

Doris Vandeberg

One of the most influential female figures in my life is my mom. She always taught me to hold my head high, have confidence in myself and my abilities, and at the same time be humble and have empathy for others. Her unwavering support, even in my adult life, is a true joy and a luxury.

Lynn Vandeberg

LEED AP, IIDA

Co-managing Director, Seattle







IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.



IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.


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