Megan Hart, NCIDQ, LEED Green Associate, Fitwel Amb.
Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
My name is Megan Hart. I am an interior architecture and design professional who has been working in the industry since I graduated from Syracuse University in 2006. I have worked on several award winning projects, including the New Enga Provincial Hospital which received a Citation from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). More than that, I am a passionate, dedicated, and results-driven woman.
I believe in breaking boundaries in the workplace, both for myself and other women,. For example, I have successfully founded and run women’s affinity groups at several of the firms where I’ve worked. I am the co-founder and managing director of the Hart Speech Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with severe speaking disfluencies. I have also broken my own personal boundaries by competing in marathons, triathlons, and cycling across three European countries.
I currently work as a design manager in the New York office of the global architecture and design firm Gensler, working in their Consumer Goods and Media practice area.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
My favorite experience with Ellevate was my first experience attending an event focused on communication in New York City. I met some incredibly uplifting and inspiring women who organized the event and who shared my common goals and visions for success. Moreover, the event was incredibly helpful because it emphasized the importance of building personal presence within the workplace through body language, tone of voice, and constructing a dialogue with your co-workers.
How would you define your professional mission?
I’m one of the lucky few who have aligned their personal and professional missions: I want leave the world a better place than the way I found it. I love what I do because I have the opportunity to design and build environments that improve the lives of building occupants.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
There are many qualities required, but the top two qualities that stick out for me are:
• Stay Flexible and Creative: As a leader, I know that remaining flexible is a career hack that is key to success. My ideas will not always be the best ideas for a project, so it’s important to remain open to new creative possibilities from my co-workers.
• Have Trust: Architecture is a team sport. A typical project is comprised of a team with clients, architects, designers, engineers, and various other consultants. We work in an industry that creates spaces that positively impact the way people work and interact with each other. By fostering trust within our team, everybody works toward a common goal and ensures that everyone will act in the best interest of the project.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
A memory that I will never forget came after I designed an outpatient pediatric oncology clinic in Michigan, which included individual bays that allowed patients to customize their own space.
After its completion, the project received some local press. I read an interview with a twelve-year old boy who was excited to come for his treatment because he had his own personal space where he could set up his X-Box, books, and movies and have fun while receiving chemo. We designed these bays to include a moveable screen that allowed him to be alone or make new friends while in the hospital.
There have been a few moments in my career that have brought tears of joy to my eyes. This moment was one of them because I was proud that my talent and technical expertise improved the experience of a child going through a difficult time.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
As I advance in my career, I find career challenges come less from project work and more from personal goals. I like to be challenged because it keeps me satisfied at work. On a personal level, working hard satisfies me deeply. I believe we grow as people and professionals when we face uncomfortable situations and new challenges. My worst professional fear is staying stagnant, so I always look for a new challenge to advance my career as these challenges help it move forward. The more professional experience I gain, the more difficult it becomes to identify these challenges.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being a mentor and role model. I love nothing more than working with people who are developing their skill sets and finding their own passions. The most rewarding part of what I do is watching developing professionals grow their own wings and learn to fly.
Who are your role models?
Early in my career, I worked with a few incredible women at Shepley Bulfinch in Boston who took me under their wings and mentored me. I learned how to be a teacher, a student and a friend. One woman in particular forged her own path to leadership at a time when this industry was dominated by men and for that I admired her strength. She was an incredibly talented architect and for that I admired her creativity and ability to edit her own work. Above all, she treated everyone with respect and had a way of making you feel that you were the most important person in the room. I will always admire her career, but her spirit and her kindness are the lessons I carry with me every day. If I can impact one life the way she has impacted mine, I will consider my career a success.
What is your morning ritual?
Self-care is an extremely important part of my routine. Every morning, I like to take time for myself. I like to wake up early and fill my morning with physical exercise. During very stressful times, I love to run or take long bike rides and use this time compartmentalize my thoughts. While on these long runs or rides, I will often pick the top three problems I have to solve that day and work through them mile by mile.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Say yes. Even when you doubt yourself, say yes. Accept every opportunity and make the most of it by believing that you can do it. Show up, be present, and be in love with every minute of every day. You can do anything with your life. Fill it with work and moments that you love.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Megan is a results driven Interior Architecture and Design Professional with over fourteen years of successful experience working with multidisciplinary teams. She offers extensive experience in Interior Construction, Project Management and Interior Design. Passionate about the design ideation process, she works effectively as Designer Manager on Project Teams and possesses excellent analytical and time management skills with a proven ability to work efficiently on both small and large scale projects. Before joining Gensler, Megan worked... Continue Reading
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