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Jennifer Esposito

Assistant Professor / Architect, Principal, Toronto Metropolitan University / Place of Work Inc.

Jennifer Esposito

Assistant Professor / Architect, Principal, Toronto Metropolitan University / Place of Work Inc.

Milestones in a career and life are a wonderful way of inspiring our emerging young leaders. Please share a proud or “magic moment” that shaped your journey?

I really struggled through first year architecture school. As someone who thought they would go into medicine or engineering, I found the creative aspect of the discipline incredibly challenging. Looking back, I can pin-point exactly when things clicked for me. First, for the first time, I had a female professor that made it possible for me to see myself in this profession. Second, it was the semester we took on the design of houses/housing, which has turned out to be the typology I have specialized in over the last ten years

Who were your major influencers/mentors (up to 2) and what were the key lessons you gained from them?

Mentor #1: My Grandfather, Although my grandfather was a television and radio repairman by trade [introducing the first color television to Sault Ste. Marie], in my opinion, he embodied basic characteristics essential to an architect; architect as dreamer, as problem solver, as craftsman, as builder. Although I have known and admired many architects, my grandfather played a major
role in shaping my core values. He taught me to take pride in craft, to tinker, to search for answers in the details, to think with my hands, to see creation as a process and not only as an end product, and to always enjoy the work.

Mentor #2: Jennifer Luce, Luce et studio, During the time I spent with Jennifer in her creative design studio in southern California, she demonstrated every day what it was to be a strong female in a male dominated environment. And that sometimes as an architect you need steel toes and a hard hat and other days stilettos and a little black dress.

What do you think are the next big challenges we need to tackle as an industry and as a successful city-region? Are there specific things you think we should be doing to meet the challenges?

The profession and practice of architecture is changing. I am passionate about educating future practitioners and leaders to meet the opportunities and demands of our evolving discipline.

Tell us how you champion others in the industry.

I am committed to mentorship and advocacy for social and environmental justice in the profession. This is reflected in my work as a mentor with the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) as well as Women in Design and Mentorship Collective (Harvard University) as well as my role with various task forces and organizations such as the Equity Diversity Inclusion and Justice Committee of the Chair (Toronto Metropolitan University) and Building Equality in Architecture Toronto (BEAT) where I am currently serving as the chair of the Executive Committee.

What is your secret talent no one knows you have?

Amateur folk art collector.

What is the best word to describe you? And Why?

Rigour; as a former competitive athlete, my dedication to architecture evolved from a commitment to discipline and physical and mental preparedness.