As Managing Principal of AHBE Landscape Architects and CFO of AWA+D, Linda Daley represents the best of the multidisciplinary nature of the organization. Linda has brought her leadership, business acumen and drive for excellence to not only the CFO position but also AWA+D's Mentorship efforts. Read on to learn more about this month's Member Spotlight - a multi-tasker extraordinaire!
1. Biographical InformationI was born in the Philippines—my dad was Filipino; my mom a Filipina-American. When I was age 8, my mother, by then a young widow, returned to her hometown of New York City where she raised me and my siblings. I achieved an undergraduate business degree at Syracuse University and a MBA degree from Fordham University. In the advancement of my business career, I moved from New York to Boston and then Los Angeles. A series of events then occurred which led to my transition into the design profession. I pursued my design studies at the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture program and found my place at AHBE Landscape Architects.
2. Why did you want to become a landscape architect?Growing up in New York, I appreciated the value of landscape architecture within an urban context long before I imagined it as a career. Later, I was drawn to the profession’s collaborative process (I love the studio environment!) and its work in making life better for communities of people.
3. Who have been your greatest influencers? Why?My mother was one of my strongest supporters. Although she is deceased, I live according to the standards she set for me. My other influence is New York City, which is where my education about public spaces, streets and urban communities began. Through my own experiences in the places I visited, I examined how design affects people’s emotions, health and social conditions. My exploration continues to this day.
4. What do you feel are some of your most important achievements?I am not a risk taker by nature and plan for the long term whenever possible. Life, however, doesn’t allow things to go according to “the plan” and I have faced many unexpected choices that put me outside of my comfort zone. Relying on my values and the support of people I trust, I have managed to take risks which have resulted in a career I treasure. I am also proud to be part of a leadership team that has prepared AHBE for its future.
5. What are some of the insights of being a woman in your occupation?I have personally experienced ethnic and gender bias in my life. Do not tolerate any of it.
6. What excites you creatively, spiritually or emotionally?The experience of community. Beauty.
7. What do you think/hope your occupation will look like in 10 years?I envision the profession of landscape architecture taking a greater role in the design of cities. The wave of environmental sustainability has already resulted in landscape architects collaborating with scientists and other specialists, and looking at technology and innovation to help us solve design problems. I don’t know what the next wave or trend will be in ten years, but I anticipate that landscape architects will respond in such a way that new skill sets will be established and the profession is re-defined.
8. What role do/have you played in AWA+D and what is the importance of the organization in your life?I have been an AWA+D board member for the past two years—this year as CFO and, in the prior year, as the Director of Mentorship. Through AWA+D, I can give back to the design profession as a mentor and leader. The membership’s composition is one of its unique aspects and I enjoy the support that women of diverse disciplines, ages and experience give to one another.
9. What advice would you give the graduating class of 2015?Your education does not stop after graduation. Stay on top of developments in the profession by engaging in discussions within and outside of your firm—e.g., attend lectures, join organizations, network, volunteer as a committee member, travel, read everything, etc.
10. Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?Find your voice.