TT: Capturing client goals is imperative to the success of planning and designing any project. No matter how big or how small a project is, my goal is to meet with the client and ask them about who they are, how they work, and what they want in a new design. Asking these questions ensures my team and I fully understand the client’s goals so that we can start working to reach them. After listening carefully, I consider the various ideas and solutions most suitable for the project. Once the client approves our ideas, we can then move forward with the details of how to get the project built. This type of open communication fosters positive client relationships.
Q: How would you describe your approach to project management?
TT: My approach to business and project management is to provide great customer service by following up and following through. This proactive methodology allows me to address any issue that may occur in real time throughout the entire design process and schedule.
I believe that practicing good communication with my internal team, external team, and client will produce a successful project delivery. I aim to be open, willing to listen, and share. Collaboration is very important to me and how I lead my team. Promoting open collaboration shows everyone that you want to see them succeed. This recognition of their value to the project and team gets everyone motivated. The key is to create an atmosphere focused on communication, openness and collaboration.
Q: What areas of practice management would like to explore here are Huntsman?
TT: I would like to explore a higher degree of leadership within Huntsman, to grow my expertise and resume. I enjoy the responsibilities that come with leadership and mentorship. I like gathering a team and working to reach a common goal. Through this team work, I strive to share my knowledge with junior staff and help them to excel. In turn, I’d like to also take on the management of larger projects with higher construction budgets, because my goal is to be a technically seasoned project manager.
Q: Which of your projects are your biggest achievements? And why?
TT: One example is a mismanaged property where the building architect was not keeping up with the pace of the brokers. Huntsman was brought in to support property management in creating modern and economic building standards, while also providing a quick turn-around on space plans. Due to our great customer service and design, the property manager requested our services at another property in the East Bay. I view this project as a great achievement because we met the client's expectations, and it led to growing a long-term working relationship.
Q: Who is your biggest influence and why?
TT: My parents have been a consistent influence throughout my life. They have a great work ethic, which I aim to emulate! I definitely get my leadership skills, ingenuity, and determination from them. They have always encouraged me when I wanted to grow and expand. This support has led me to be where and who I am today.
My biggest design influence is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. I graduated with a Professional Bachelor of Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology, where he taught for many years. His appreciation for minimal, structured open spaces and elegant details has strongly influenced my design aesthetic.
Q: As a member and former president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, how has being so involved influenced your personal and professional development?
TT: I am absolutely an advocate for diversity within the field and feel like I’ve been given an opportunity to disprove stereotypes and show that professionals come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I'm not self-conscious about being a woman or African American in a male dominated profession. Instead, my goal is to work with everyone as equals and to find the best solutions for the task at hand.
Being a part of NOMA has definitely strengthened me. The pool of talent that I come in contact with is so impressive and inspiring. I’m especially proud to be a mentor to NOMA student members. I’ve been lucky to have found mentors as well and have learned a lot from architects and designers whose point-of-view I respect greatly; people who experienced life during the 60’s and 70’s when working within design and architecture wasn’t as accessible as it is today. Hearing stories of how hard it was for minority architects to obtain work back then motivates me to do my best.
In turn, as a mentor to younger professionals today, I’m able to influence and provide guidance with my own personal experiences. I recently participated in SFNOMA’s Architecture Summer Camp. I was able to share my perspective on architecture and education with the students. I discussed with them the challenges they might face and the amount of effort they will exhaust throughout the process. Pulling all-nighters builds character! I also encouraged them to take every learning experience to heart and by doing so, they will be exposed to the essence of architecture and the importance of creating meaningful places and functional spaces.