Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Felicia Middleton @UrbanAesthetics

Felicia Middleton is an Architecture Design Professional, an Author, an EPA Certified Renovator and an Entrepreneur. She is the principal of Urban Aesthetics, LLC serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area.  She specializes in Residential and Commercial Architecture and Interior Design – both Renovations and New Construction – as well as Commercial and Residential Kitchens and Baths, Quality Assurance, Interior Material Specifications, Interior Commercial Design including Restaurants and Bars, Salons and Spas, Education and Church Facilities and Corporate Design and Retail Planning. She also provides Construction Administration and Construction Management services.

She can be found on social media by following these links: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

At the young age of 15, while attending the Carver H.S. of Engineering and Science I took a drafting class and decided what I wanted to do as a career. I told a drafting teacher that I wanted to draw on computers. We had a drafting teacher who was very encouraging, named Mr. Avant. The students loved him so much because he would let us eat lunch with him in his drafting class and he had a genuine interest in each one of us. Sadly, he passed last year. I always wanted to thank him for his help and encouragement.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

College financing often was a challenge for me. My family had difficulties and paying for college became a struggle. I had to work many jobs while in college but I realize now that those jobs helped lay the framework for my future. Thank God for making it possible for me to overcome so many obstacles and pursue and achieve my dream.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?

Earlier in my career, I designed a Commissary Kitchen Warehouse and several cafeterias for the Vineland School District in Vineland, NJ. I learned so much from that project. I learned a lot about the operations of school food facilities. That learning process really reinforced how important the use of a building is in design and planning.

During that same time, I worked on many well-known food facility projects in casinos throughout the country. I found a design niche that I grew to love and still love over a decade later.

How does your family support what you do?

My immediate family supports me 100%. Especially my mother. She has been my biggest fan. My friends and family will often pass my name to others who may need my services. In addition, they support events and projects sponsored by my company, especially the community projects.

How do Architects measure success?

Many architects measure success via projects and achievements and the impact that they have on others. I would also add that success is measured by the way we are able to make a difference in our communities.

What matters most to you in design?

Safety, is extremely important to me, also function and aesthetics. Buildings are where we spend the majority of our time so they should be safe spaces that add to our well-being.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years?

Over the next two years I will focus on managing Urban Aesthetics projects while developing my own individual brand. Within 5 years I will have my brand developed in Food Facility Design and operate separately from Urban Aesthetics.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?

I feel in our profession mentoring and inspiring is very important. Your life, work and values should inspire your followers. My favorite historical architect, Daniel Burnham’s life story is inspiring, his buildings are beautiful and he has written very inspiring quotes. I have used his quote as a motto for my business.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency…”

My favorite current architects are my colleagues.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

I have a Business Coach but unfortunately, I do not currently have a mentor. I have been blessed with many mentors throughout my life and career and I have mentored many.

Mentoring relationships are not permanent. They end or change as we grow. I have desired to find a mentor for a couple of years but I have not been able to create the relationship.

The architect that I share an office with is probably the closest person to a mentor that I currently have. He is a senior on the architecture profession and he offers advice and gives advice when I ask. I have a great deal of respect for him.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?

My favorite historic project is the Colosseum. The Colosseum is a grand structure located in Rome, Italy. It is beautiful and strong, representing the games that were performed for spectators. Amazingly, it has stood robust and tall for almost 2000 years.

My favorite modern building has changed a many ties over the last 20 years, as innovation, design and the environment surrounding me changes. Most recently, the Cira Center, in Philadelphia, has been a favorite. I love it because it stands a jewel above the surrounding buildings and it represented the expansion of our downtown to the other side of the Schuylkill River. An added bonus is that the building is green, LEED Certified.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

For a while, it seemed as if there was a decline in the profession but I have noticed a recent resurgence. I do believe there needs to be some liberation in the process involved in becoming an architect and function within the profession. I see the profession opening up to multiple careers, interchanging with architecture.

What type of technology do you see in the design and construction industries?

Virtual 3d Modeling is a form of technology that I have seen most recently. Virtual reality in design will help us communicate designs to clients who have difficulty understanding plans. In addition, advances in project management software helps to streamline the planning and construction processes.

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?

The Green Movement has been my greatest influence in design. I became serious about environmental issues while in college and there I decided that it would have a big impact on my work. I worked for an environmental organization for a couple of years while in college and I learned so much. I added a few environment-centered courses while in college and

my senior internship included researching Brownfield’s Redevelopment. When I first entered the design world, eco-friendly design was not a large part of what we did. I was a bit discouraged at first but was reenergized in the early 2000’s when the green movement really started taking shape.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?

A LEED project. My current burning desire is to participate on a LEED project.

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?

I will to continue mentoring our young people by explaining to them as many aspects of our work as I can, to help the understand all that is included and let them see that this profession has so much to offer, depending on what direction you wish to go. I will let them see that when you fall in love with your work, it can be very fulfilling. I hope to let them see that you can make a difference in your community and also the world while working in this field but you MUST find your way.

What advice would you give aspiring architects (K-12)? College students? Graduates?

Fall in love love with architecture and the profession if you want to succeed and endure the work. You will have to put your time in while working but be sure to learn more than what is expected.

What does Architecture mean to you?

Architecture is art in the form of function and use. We create structures that affect people physically and emotionally. We discover solutions to problems both spatially and creatively. I learned at a young age that I liked seeing how things come together. In architecture, part of your work is to develop the way a building comes together. At times we have to take a building apart to bring the desired project together.

What is your design process?

I follow a basic process:

  • Determining the client’s Gain an understanding of their situation (financial, time constraints and any limitations)
  • Preliminary Research – Code, Zoning, Needs of Use, Property,
  • Pre-Design – Discuss research findings, create
  • Design Development – Develop the concept into a more workable Additional research.
  • Coordinate with project team.
  • Complete

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?

If I could not work in this great profession, I would be a writer. I guess I already am a writer. I have always excelled at writing. Writing is my second love, next to architecture. I have published 2 books, written for magazines and published several blogs. I absolutely love to write.

What is your dream project?

I have a strange desire to design a high-end Starbucks, similar to the project in progress in Chicago.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?

Take time to let things develop. Relish in the importance of being guided by others, mentors who can help you and your interests. You must share in your success, look to give to your fellow business colleagues. Develop a relationship with fellow business owners and remember that collaboration produces multiple wins. Work with partnerships, strategically develop partners with whom you can develop lasting business relationships.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?

Maintaining Momentum is a challenge that requires constant thought and planning. Moving to the next level while continuing a current pace is very important for success.

Keeping the needs of our community in focus while maintaining momentum is important and also challenging.

One trend I have seen in my industry, especially locally is the explosion of development within the inner city. It is similar to the Mc-Mansion boom we saw years ago.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years?

Remain relevant to society, business and your community. Offer a unique service that keeps the client as a focus.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?

I have learned that business is difficult and you have to extract emotion from the process or it will wear you out. I work in a creative profession but often the bottom line drives my work. I’ve read about and followed the lives of innovative leaders in business to inspire me, geniuses such as Steve Jobs. Although they are one-in-a million I you can be one, I can make a difference. I strive to learn as much as you can from these leaders, both good and bad and use their tools in my work.

Shark Tank may be entertaining but you can learn a lot watching that show. Learn where you can. Never stop educating yourself. Follow the rules.

A surprise I have encountered is the number of opportunities that are available for current and future business owners.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?

Read as much as you can. Keep learning. Be honest, thankful and give back as much as possible. Follow the rules. To me, true success, being able to use the resources that you’ve been blessed with to bless someone else. Whether it is with your money, labor, knowledge, time, mentoring, etc.

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We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Christmas Gift Ideas from ILMA


“From Now To How: Social, Virtual and Cross Generational Leadership” by Exec Coach & Trainer @JustCoachIt

by Guest Blogger, Irene Becker
First woman CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of trailblazing accomplishments in business and in the community at large. Irene is an inspiring executive coach, speaker and writer whose R-E-A-C-H methodology and 3Q focus has helped clients achieve breakthrough results in their careers, communication, leadership and lives. Passionate about the integrity of her work, Irene is dedicated to helping change-makers LEAD forward at the speed of change.

Leadership Balance

You can criticize, condemn and complain or imagine, inspire and innovate. Your choice will determine your destiny. – Deepak Chopra

The need to go from NOW to HOW is critical. Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward.

Hope lies in not simply playing to strengths, but to seizing every challenge, change, stressor and failure as an opportunity to grow, evolve and expand the power of our minds, the strength of our brains and the capacity of our hearts.

Courage lies in our ability develop a whole new mind set, skill set and heart set that optimizes the unbridled passion, purpose and potential of humans to do better, rather than simply living or working faster than ever before.

Strength lies in finding a common language, a common message that touches the heads, hearts and mind of many. A message that transcends social, ethnic, virtual and cross generational lines because it speaks to the purpose that unites us all.

Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward.

Leaders must be purpose driven because purpose equals profit on a multiplicity of levels. If your employees, your team, your constituents do not feel that the work they do, the contribution they make, is purposeful they will never optimize or maximize their potential.

If they do not feel that they are an integral part of a bigger picture, a larger goal or a greater team, the engagement, loyalty, transparency of communication and collaboration optimization of engagement and potential will not be achieved.

Similarly, if they do not have access to resources that help them learn new ways of thinking doing and communicating that enable their greatest potential in the face of change, challenges, complexity and opportunities they cannot lead forward.

Leaders must embrace their ability to go from NOW to HOW by not simply playing to strengths but also to using change, challenges, stressors, even failures to optimize all 3Q’s: IQ (intelligence-focus-ability to learn and re-learn faster and better); EQ (emotional intelligence; self awareness, self management, relationship management, social management, communication); and SQ (values, purpose, integrity).

3Q Leadership strengths are not for the faint of heart. They are instead for those who want to negotiate dark corners, build new bridges among diverse groups and develop communities of purpose and practice that survive and thrive by using strengths, changes and challenges to communicate and lead forward.

Leaders must be excellent listeners, learners and communicators who build bridges across diverse groups, internal and external constituencies. They must build and empower Communities of Purpose where shared objectives, values, purpose and language empowers, engages and sustains actual, social/digital/virtual communication and collaboration.

They must have the courage to negotiate dark unknown corners with courage, hope, faith, integrity and humanity knowing that the differences that separate us are inconsequential in relation to the common human bond and purpose that unites us.

They must have the communication skills to find the message, the sound bite that opens the ears, heads, hearts and minds of all, irrespective of race, creed, gender or generational age. They must be leaders who learn, re-learn and fail forward faster and better than ever before by developing real and virtual/social communities of purpose.

Leaders must be excellent listeners, learners and communicators who build bridges across diverse groups, internal and external constituencies.

The need to go from NOW to HOW is critical. Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward. It means embracing our ability to learn, re-learn, imagine, inspire and innovate by championing the mental, emotional agility and consistency of united purpose and integrity that can help us use what is to create what can be in ourselves, our people, our organizations…our world.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
I.LM.A. Team
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


10 STEPS TO GETTING THINGS DONE: WHAT MY KIDS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LEADERSHIP AND TEAM BUILDING

I often compare working with adults to working with children. Here is a list of suggestions to getting something done, whether it is other colleagues at work or your kids at home.

Please share your comments and feedback below this post.

1. SHARE THE VISION
It’s never easy getting someone else to just “buy in” and do something — at least not unless there is some big reward at the end. So share your vision and get “buy in” from your team. If it is possible, allow the team to shape the vision of the project, task, or event.

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2. MOTIVATION
Find out what motivates your team. My wife and I have been procrastinating about swapping out the kids play room with my office. By engaging my team (my kids) while my wife was out, I was able to have them help us jump start the small but arduous task ahead of us (since the two rooms are separated by two flights of stairs).

3. BREAKING DOWN A BIG TASK INTO SMALLER TASKS
Looking at all that needs to be completed is daunting, but when you break down the overall tasks into smaller, manageable tasks it appears doable. As things get done it is easy to keep the momentum going to complete the project and move on to the next one. Do not overwhelm the team — break down the activities into manageable tasks. Be realistic with the schedule to keep them motivated and on track.

4. FEEDBACK
Asking for and receiving continuous feedback helps the team see that their ideas matter. Integrating the team’s ideas into your overall project makes them feel vested in the project. It is easier to get things done when your entire team is on board with where things are headed. In my case, I asked my kids where they wanted to relocate some of the toy “stations” so they could be involved in the decision making process.

5. TAKE A BREAK
OK, playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “Mickey Mouse Built a House, How Many Bricks Did He Use?” (throwbacks from when I was a kid), might not go over well at work. However, taking a break from a task will help recharge and refocus the team. Take this opportunity to encourage and bond with the team. Remind them of the vision.

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6. TEAM BUILDING
Use the break to bond. Whether or not this project is as successful as you envisioned it to be it is a learning opportunity (try to “break the eggs” and learn on the smaller or less important tasks, if you have to). Having a solid team will help with the success of future projects. We can grow from our challenges and experience and learn to work with our strengths (and the strengths of our team).

7. ENCOURAGEMENT
Keep giving the team positive reinforcement (and yourself too). Telling the kids that mommy was going to be “so happy” when she saw what we had undertaken, kept the little troops motivated walking up and down those stairs carrying office supplies and toys on those countless trips up and down stairs.

8. OFFER REWARD
Ice cream after dinner worked in my case. Again, see what motivates the team and offer a reward. It doesn’t necessarily need to be money or a promotion. Something small like a gas card or tickets to the movie or ball game would be a nice token of appreciation for having your tea, finish the job. It makes them feel appreciated and keeps them focused on completing the tasks expeditiously.

9. NEXT PROJECT
Go back to the team and see what ideas they have for the next project. Also remember to ask what the best and worse parts of the project were so that the next project is even more successful. Make a list of “Lessons Learned” so you don’t forget!

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10. MANAGEMENT & PASSING THE TORCH
If you can, avoid being a micro-manager; Next time be part of the team instead of being the leader. Let the others take the role of the committee chair, project managers, etc. What better way to teach leadership then to give someone else a turn to manage a project, task, or event? You can mentor each other (if you are willing to be reversed-mentored). They get a seasoned team member with a wealth of knowledge and experience. It’s a win-win for both and a fantastic way to build a strong, versatile team. It’s also humbling and a great way to see the project from the eyes of the guys in the trenches, which in turn, will make you a better leader for the next big thing.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


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We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


LEADERSHIP by Napoleon Hill

The following are important factors of leadership:

1. UNWAVERING COURAGE based upon knowledge of self, and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long.

2. SELF-CONTROL. The man who cannot control himself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.

3. A KEEN SENSE OF JUSTICE. Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers.

4. DEFINITENESS OF DECISION. The man who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.

5. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. The successful leader must plan his work, and work his plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later he will land on the rocks.

6. THE HABIT OF DOING MORE THAN PAID FOR. One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more than he requires of his followers.

7. A PLEASING PERSONALITY. No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all of the factors of a Pleasing Personality.

8. SYMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING. The successful leader must be in sympathy with his followers. Moreover, he must understand them and their problems.

9. MASTERY OF DETAIL. Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader’s position.

10. WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY. The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.

11. COOPERATION. The successful leader must understand, and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce his followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION.

Source:
Think and Grow Rich, March 1937
Buy the book on Amazon.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.