Next up in our International Women’s Day series, we have Associate, Tiffany Montañez.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
To pay tribute to all women’s accomplishments, to bring light on the inequities that women face, and to empower everyone around you.
What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?
We’ve known for a while that woman can do and deserve to have it all. However, more often than not, the idea of ‘having it all’ comes with a caveat. Existing systemic policies currently do not support the notion of women being able to “have it all” without a form of sacrifice, which most men do not experience. Addressing issues such as maternity/paternity leave, access to flexible work, and true mentorship and sponsorship of women at a larger systemic level is a crucial and necessary step towards equity for all.
Why do we need more women in leadership?
Having people of all types of diversity, women, BIPOC, disabled folks et cetera in leadership is crucial not just to provide diverse perspective to decision making, but also to have representation the next generation of diverse leaders can look up to. If you can see it, you can be it.
What advice would you give to young women aspiring to a similar career path?
Three things: First, your voice and your experiences matter. Be brazenly loud with and about it. Second, the worst thing that can happen is being told “no” and when presented with a “no” it just means there is a different route to achieving your goal- it does not mean it’s the end. Lastly, find your tribe(s). As multifaceted professionals, there are communities and support groups for the various parts of yourself. Honor it.
Can you share a moment that’s inspired you?
During this last NOMA conference, a colleague, Naomi Harrison, shared her unique experience navigating this profession as a Caribbean woman, as a mother, as an advocate for the industry, and of course, as a professional. Many could call her route untraditional, however, her story reminded/taught me that there is no single way to achieve success in architecture and doing things according to your own terms is what matters most.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
This is an incredibly challenging question because I could easily fill a Judy Chicago “The Dinner Party” styled dinner, but if I had to limit it to three, say Felicitas Gómez Martínez de Méndez, Petra Allende, and Giannina Braschi. All Boricuas who were/are part of the diaspora using their unapologetic voices for the greater good.