September 2022 was the one-year mark of when I came to the United States. I’m originally from Ethiopia, which is where I received my degree as an architect. My journey to working with EVstudio was made possible by my academic journey. I’m currently a student at University of Denver (UD). I’m studying for my Masters degree in Organizational Leadership with Project Management, and received a scholarship through UD that covers a quarter of my tuition.
I was led to UD’s masters program through my work as an architect in Ethiopia. That’s where I had most of my professional experience. The tendency for architects in Ethiopia is to have strong technical knowledge, with less emphasis on management or leadership. There, an architect interested in leadership really has to have a mentor who knows the skillset of management, which can be hard to find. When looking for possibilities for learning management and leadership in a formal setting, I found UD’s program, and was thrilled to be accepted and come to the United States to study.
At first, my student visa only allowed me to work on campus, which encouraged me to get back to working as an architect while I studied. Once I sorted out my work authorization to work as a foreign architect, I found EVstudio. During my job search, which was mostly online, EVstudio continually popped up in the search results. This firm had almost everything I was looking for in a job, especially in how the studios are structured. I was particularly interested in EVstudio’s Multi-family Studio, and the types of projects they handle. I was thrilled to receive a job offer after I applied.
This has been a really good place to land, and to gain and share experience with the rest of the team. It has been challenging to balance working full-time with evening classes twice a week at 6pm, and the new employee probation period was definitely a bit of a struggle while I found that balance. It’s all paid off, however. My master’s program has already helped me in my work here at EVstudio, and in turn, my work experience is allowing me to put leadership skills into practice both personally and at an organizational level as I learn them.
Being an architect is about more than making beautiful designs. The skills of project management are incredibly important. We spend a lot of hours managing projects, and having these skills be at their best leads to better project outcomes. It’s easier to clearly define scopes, set reasonable project budgets and timelines, and communicate more effectively with all parts of the team. Better communication is always a good thing, but I am also learning how to implement better communication through stronger emotional intelligence, a skill that goes hand-in-hand with better leadership. This allows me to get a good sense of how my people are feeling, and plan accordingly. A happier team is a more cohesive team, and does better work.
I’m happy that my first professional experience here in the US is at EVstudio. I’ve met some amazing people, and gotten to work on incredible projects. I’m looking forward to continuing to sharpen my skills as an architect and a project manager through my work and my master’s program.