Chair and Associate, Building Equity in Architecture Toronto (BEAT) and Omar Gandhi Architect Inc.
Sector: Private Sector
Magic Moment: I have been lucky enough to have a number of memorable moments, but would like to mention three. The first is being hired by Omar Gandhi as an Associate to lead his Toronto studio. He believed in me and had confidence in me and my abilities before I had confidence in myself. The second is when my first OAA mentee, now a licensed architect, asked me to be his mentor. I strive to mentor openly and honestly and I do my best to share knowledge and skills in a profession that can be unnecessarily competitive. My first mentee and I had worked together when he was a co-op student, and I was humbled to know I had made an impression. The third is a DesignTO tour at Prime Seafood Palace that I gave with Stephen Dalrymple of Coolican and Company where we spoke about the design of the space and our process. It was incredible to give an honest, intimate overview of this project I had poured my heart into for six years, to an audience of people who felt inspired by the project and wanted to know more.
My parents: My dad taught me humility, kindness, passion and the importance of laughter. My mom imparted creativity, strength, resilience, motivation and commitment.
My Aunt Karen: Remember from a young age her sitting and drawing with me – back then it was always rainbows, that’s the only thing I wanted to draw. I looked up to her then, and I still do today. She was a role model of what a successful, smart, independent, career-oriented woman looked like, and she provided me countless opportunities throughout my life that I continue to look back on fondly. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support and generosity.
Next Big Challenge As An Industry: The housing crisis and lack of affordable housing. The right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right. We need to improve access to housing, a problem that disproportionately impacts marginalized and equity-deserving groups. We need to recognize this as an emergency and act accordingly.
On Championing Others…: I am a founding member of Building Equality in Architecture Toronto (BEAT) and am currently Chair of the Executive Committee. BEAT is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to empowering women in the design profession by creating opportunities for community building, advocacy, networking and mentorship. I also mentor several OAA interns on the path to licensure and volunteer my time at post-secondary institutions.
Secret Talent: Spotting greyhounds! Anyone who knows me, understands my deep love for those beautiful creatures with their tiny heads. I’ve developed a sixth sense for them, and I can spot them a mile away. I will always stop to say hi, and I have no qualms about chasing perfect strangers down the street to meet their sweet pups.
One word that captures you: Determined. When I set my sights on something, I will not give up until I reach my goal. I don’t cut corners or take shortcuts – when I sign up for something, I make sure it completed to the best of my ability without compromising the original vision.