Next up in our International Women’s Day series, we have Scott Lee, President & Principal, SB Architects.
Who are the women who inspire you?
My wife, Tracy Lee inspires me daily. She’s a professional, a wife, a mother, and an athlete. She’s such a well-rounded person who pushes herself to excel in all aspects of her life. It’s fantastic to see our two daughters growing up and demonstrating the same skills.
I must mention, Krystal Solorzano, Vice President, and Associate Principal of Marketing & Business Development at SB Architects. She does so much for the firm. She’s self-reliant and a true leader. She is the definition of someone who takes the bull by the horns. Krystal identifies opportunities for the firm and pursues them with vigor, all whilst balancing her personal life, being a wife and mom.
Outside of our team, I would like to mention two women from one of our collaborators, Rosewood Hotel Group. Caroline MacDonald, Senior Vice President of Operations, Americas, is a fantastic leader and incredible friend, I have her to thank for meeting my wife as she introduced us years ago; and CEO, Sonia Cheng who is an incredible leader. Rosewood is very female-led which is very inspiring to see in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Dana Jacobsohn, has recently been promoted to Chief Development Officer, U.S. Luxury Brands & Global Mixed-Use at Marriott International. She worked incredibly hard to get to this position, she’s a collaborator, influencer, hard worker, and friend. Dana always makes the time for respectful conversations and is eager to share knowledge and information for mutual benefit.
Finally, I want to give a shout-out to Robin Kennedy, EVP, Chief Development Officer at Montage International. Robin has been instrumental in our work with Montage and she’s a fantastic friend.
What does it mean to you, and the industry as a whole, to have more women leadership?
It’s an undeniably great thing. It speaks to meritocracy, where people are promoted to leadership positions based on merit, rather than gender, tenure, or tradition. It’s where society is moving and it’s great to see it in our industry. We want young female architects, who are just entering the industry to be able to see and envision themselves in a leadership role, and to do that, they need to be able to see it. I’d like to think that we are ahead of the curve in terms of gender parity, currently sitting at a 50/50 split between men and women in the firm. We have a whole team of incredibly talented women, it’s critical to us that our workplace and culture feel equal, progressive, and innovative.
How, as a man, can you help break down any barriers facing women in the workplace?
By ensuring that our team’s skills, achievements, and milestones are celebrated and that everybody feels heard and understood. At SB Architects, our Miami office is led by two incredible women – Jorey ‘Shosh’ Friedman, Vice President & Principal, and Pinar Harris, Vice President & Principal. We’re incredibly vocal within our firm and try to highlight and push our female team wherever possible, but to move the meter on a grander scale, we need to be vocal within the wider industry. Continuously shouting about and celebrating the achievements of women, encouraging others to do the same, and keeping the conversation going as we move towards gender equality. I’m also a big believer in treating people the way that you would want to be treated, which is with the utmost respect, courtesy, and professionalism.