Occupation:Principal at Dominion Seven Architects
Hometown: Lynchburg, Va.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I meet with prospective clients to discuss their projects, do a little accounting work, go on job sites looking at a project under construction and do a little nonprofit work.
What led you to where you are now?
Interestingly, owning an architectural firm was the last in a long line of careers. It evolved from marketing architectural services for another firm.
What were the early days of business ownership like?
Certainly a lot of marketing to establish our reputation and a presence in the local community.
What did you learn in that process?
You have to be looking for the next job while you are busy serving your existing clients. It is a difficult balance at times.
Is there anything you would change in retrospect?
Not a thing. This “career” has been an adventure and a challenge, but one that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
What lessons have you learned?
Nothing is more important than your reputation so doing a quality job is always a must.
What excites you about the work you do?
I meet so many new people in this work, and I thrive on getting to interact
with people from all walks of life while at the same time treasuring the “old” friends and associates.
What are some challenges you’ve faced over the years?
The economic downturn of 2009-2010 was very challenging for a small business. Everybody in our firm made sacrifices to get us through.
What are some ideals that you prioritize in business?
First and foremost, you have to love what you do. Secondly, always do more than is expected of you for your clients. And, lastly, always do your best work and, if you make a mistake, own up to it and learn from it.
Are there any unique challenges that women in business face?
When I started in business there were still men who called me “honey.”
I learned to “be one of the boys” to survive. Women in the workplace have
come a very long way since. “Just be confident and know what you are talking about” was the motto I adopted back then.
What is your advice for facing these unique challenges?
Be well educated on your subject matter and confident that you know more about your subject or issue than those you are working with, and you will be well prepared for whatever comes.
What’s life like outside of work?
I volunteer for several local nonprofit organizations—the Lynchburg City School’s Education Foundation, Lynch’s Landing, the Awareness Garden. I also love playing golf in my spare time.
What do you envision for Lynchburg?
That we will continue to be a friendly City who cares about its own with a thriving downtown and forward-thinking leadership who makes all proud to live, work, worship and play here.
What type of leader are you?
I have always believed that you cannot ask your employees to do something that you yourself are not willing to do. So lead by example and work as a team.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You can’t take it with you, so value people and relationships over money every time and avoid regrets.
What one piece of advice would you share with others?
Do what you love and love what you do. The rest will follow. Life is short.
Any closing thoughts?
I am beginning to phase myself out of the working life, and I am looking for my next challenge or opportunity.