ULI Logo

Queenie Wong

Partner, Zeidler Architecture

Queenie Wong

Partner, Zeidler Architecture

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?

For the first part of my career, I was very active in collaborating within the office and with consultants, but I’ll never forget the moment that I was asked to participate in my first project meeting with our client and contractor executive team. By having a seat at the table, I’ve been able to work with many people and hear diverse points of view and skillsets. Because of this I’ve come to appreciate the power of collaboration and in building strong relationships. Our industry is a highly collaborative industry – it’s not just one person’s responsibility to have all the knowledge and know-how. It’s about making connections and working together to solve a problem. It’s about active listening, strong communication, and working together to figure out the next steps. We’re never not learning in this industry – each of us will never know everything there is to know – so we must rely on each other’s expertise and adapt to change in our ever-evolving field together.

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

Mentor #1: Vaidila Banelis, Senior Partner, Zeidler Architecture, Working closely with Vai, I’ve learned from his ability to be both firm and accommodating. He’s taught me how to find ways to balance our clients’ needs while also being confident in my expertise and judgement. Vai is also both professional and personable. He treats his colleagues like friends and family, and his approachability has shown me that strong connections result in a positive environment and great work.

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?

Our industry can be hesitant to innovate. Innovating can be expensive, we’re comfortable with how we’ve done things in the past, or new ways of doing things could mean new liabilities. I think our biggest challenge is shaking up the industry to overcome these perceived barriers so that we can foster new ways of doing things. To overcome this challenge, every member of the team must buy into this; everyone has to be excited by it.

Tell us how you champion others in the industry.

I think the best way to champion others in the industry is to make sure we’re all excited about the work we’re doing. I want my colleagues to genuinely enjoy coming into work each day. When we’re all engaged and inspired, there’s more communication and idea-sharing. I think this is the best way to learn and grow.

What is your secret talent no one knows you have?

Animal whisperer. I have many animals, including two horses and a dachshund. I love caring for them, and it’s reciprocated – we feed off each other. Tending to them also gives me a sense of calm after a busy work week.

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

Hyped! I think energy and enthusiasm is the biggest motivator. We can get our work done while also having fun doing it.