Live on the Disrupt Symposium to discuss Building inclusive, diverse and talented teams
By Stephen Drew
April 23, 2022
0:00 / 01:01:40
Sara Kolata00:01

Welcome everybody. This is so Kalata and I'm an architect and an organizer of the disrupt symposium. A five day virtual event dedicated to the topic of business of architecture. The first edition of disrupt will take place first to the 5th of May at 7:00 PM central European time and move. Welcome to stage C level leaders, partners, directors, and founders of practices, such as UN studio SLM, big Sonetta Saudi architects, architects, Gensler Perkins, and will what's buckets are up to name just a few.

The event is sponsored by Graphisoft creator of ArchiCAD cow's creator of V V right to an arc Zed by HP, Sarah DC, and the school of architecture in this. To check the full speaker lineup and purchase your tickets. Go to www dot disrupt symposium. Those com today we gathered for a one hour round table discussion dedicated to the topic of building inclusive, diverse, and talented teams to elevate your architecture practice devoted to all of you out there who manage teams are thinking of growing their teams or struggle with team retention and recruitment.

We are in the people's business after row and offered times managing projects larger than life. We have to rely on our peers. Therefore, how do we create environments that are present and inclusive? We are joined by Vivian Lee woods, Bagot New York studio executive, who is driven by a belief that good design can and shoot inspire that way.

Vivian encourages her team to balance creative vision with practical solutions to deliver value to the clients and end to use that. We are also being joined by Diana darling, the co-founder and president of the architects newspaper and magazine that serves muse and includes reports to a global community of architects, designers, engineers, landscape, architects, lighting designers, interior designers, academics, developers, contractors, and other parties interested in the urban environment.

And lastly, we'll have Stephen Drew the founder of the Architecture, Social, the combination of working directly as a hiring manager, as well as consulted in the recruitment industry means that Architecture Social has a fresh spin on an old formula by breaking down traditional barriers between companies and creatives, providing a supportive environment to develop professional skills, find new jobs as well.

Socialize. So let's start. Welcome everyone.

Hm, I need to have a drink after this. So

Vivian Lee02:59

my mouth just got dry.

Sara Kolata03:01

Let's start with you. You manage the woods Bagot office in New York city, as well as, uh, you are also the co-chair of the AIA New York women in architecture committee, where you mentor young architects and promote women in leadership and design roles.

Tell me what you think is the state of inclusion, especially when it comes down to women in the AAC workplace.

Vivian Lee03:24

Well, first of all, Sarah, thank you so much for having me. This is very exciting and, uh, I'm in a very good company with Diana Darley and Stephen Drew. So again, Really excited to the round table discussion.

But let me tell you a little bit about in terms of what I've been doing both at AIA New York, uh, and, uh, the woods Bagot. So I've been practicing for 30 years and I've definitely seen, seen more women in the, in the industry, especially the AEC industry, architecture, engineering, construction. Not only women are at the helm of large firms now.

So someone like Lauren Edelman, who is the partner, and I som we have Latoya came down, uh, at Mooney, Lola Nolan, Lee's LIBOR at Bayer binder, bill Kristen Sybilla Dattner and recently Fiona cousins that era all here in New York. Um, but there's also amazing, um, women, um, being recognized by design, like Jeannie gang Annabel, Salvador, dipper, Burke, but also in Europe, like pricing who bang, uh, dorky man drop.

And of course the Pritzker Lorius Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara. They are just so amazing. I also see more women in college and university. Um, and deans and chairs of architecture schools, which is great. Uh, there are just too many to name I can go on for hours and them we'll the knees. Um, so it was wonderful to see is this actually a surge of female architects, both from the BiPAP, Latina and Asian communities as well.

So, and the next generation of emerging designers and architects, and that's really important. We're basically building a pipeline and we have influencers positive, early positive influencers. That advocate for mentorship, such as Julia Molina. You probably know her. Sarah has an online publication of Madam architect and John Lloyd, who was a founder of women, architects collective you haven't checked it out.

You should, you should really look. I know her whole spiel is about personal branding, which is very helpful. So as the co-chair for the AIA women, you know, architecture community here in New York, um, I've been kosher for last four and a half years, and I'm definitely seeing, um, a lot more women, um, being, uh, participating in our events.

And I'm just like so lucky to see all of these incredible women at AEC industry. And I'm, I'm learning from them and inspired by all their accomplishments. It gets me going. And so at WIA women in architecture, our mission is really to promote elevate at Gans women in architecture and those of the ally industries through our programs and events, they are centered around four main pillars.

So we, our programs are usually based on design leadership, professional development, and. Workplace culture and advocacy activism. So I think last year we had over 24 events in a year. So that's average is about two events a month. It's where we've been really busy. Um, so at the WIA we just had, they had a career day event and therefore high school students form from underrepresented schools, uh, here in New York and the vicinity.

So most students, um, actually came from diverse, I think, backgrounds and were aspiring for generation going to college and are interested in pursuing a career in architecture, engineering, or construction. So we pair them with participating with, um, paired the students with, uh, female architects, practitioners from all levels of experience, one to five years, five to 10 years in 10 to 15 years and offer three rounds of virtual mentoring.

Um, where they get to ask questions and the mentors share this with the students, the process of applying to college, what do architects do and how does occupation have the positive impact on our built environment and how as designers and architects, we design places and spaces to improve the way people live, work and play.

So, uh, just a little shout out for the WWI committee. So please check out, you can Google AIA, N Y w I a, you can see all our path programs and events and you get to know all our speakers and learn about our resources that we provide, uh, in our monthly community meetings. So a little bit about woods Bagot.

So we're a global firm close to 950. We're probably, you know, getting to a thousand people pretty soon. Um, so what's bang is a larger bookworm and we really aim to achieve equity in our studios. So back in March at the international women's day, we actually, um, had an event. Each studio has a, uh, sort of a local event to elevate the women.

And we nominate someone in our studio to talk about their accompany. Um, so, and we also share asset global firm, we share sort of a little bit of a stats, right? So we get to see how many women are across all our global studios. So as of today, we have in terms of leadership level at the principals where women is about, um, a 34% and our target is really to raise that to 50%.

So every year when we, we get to promotions, we try to elevate women to slowly get that to that equity at 50%. But the good news is that we're actively building the pipeline as that right now, currently we have 42% women as associate principals on track to becoming principals versus 33% were male. So, um, and also we are w w what month are we now?

April? Right. So April w we're busy recruiting for summer interests. So we're reaching out to all the schools across, um, the, uh, Northeast. And, uh, so what we did last year, um, we're incredibly successful is that we did a blind selection. Uh, when we get the resumes and portfolios, we blacked out the people's names, the name of the schools, if they have any headshots, we, we know we crossed that out.

So we're reviewing their CBS really solely on the student's qualifications and purely on their talent and experience. So in not just because, oh, you know, he's a, he or she or went to a certain school is purely on their work. And, and we were just so proud that at the end of that whole selection, we ended up with six interests and four of them are women.

Uh, so that has a little bit what we were trying to do to bring more equity into our firm. So I'm very, very optimistic about the direction of our profession. So, and I know many of the firms are doing the same and doing their best to be more inclusive, more diverse, and bring equity in a.

Sara Kolata10:09

Wow. Yeah, it's true.

Uh, I'm curious. Uh, Steve, did you ever hear about that methods, your recruiter, yourself to just black out people's names and sex and what school they're come from and just basically recruit based on talent.

Stephen Drew10:25

Um, good question. If you saw the door open, I was just cause my little dog was walking around, just praying with the balls out my feet and stop

Diana Darling10:33

calling her my dog.

Stephen Drew10:35

So I shut the, I shut the door. Yeah. It's very different between the public and the private sector in architecture. And I think that it's 20, 22, right. And I think that all largest small, medium companies, we're all kind of waking up to the reality that it's not just talking about the projects anymore.

It's not just about salaries. And actually we have to think about accommodating people and being inclusive in the true sense. So I have seen this happen, but I think it's less about, oh, we need to do that. Now in the public sector, you might find that certain, um, certain counselors may ask for he and she to be removed from the recruitment process.

But what you tend to see now in the private sector is that companies are slowly realizing that. We need to do all this stuff because you're going to get the most awesome people and they're going to stay for longer. I mean, the reality is if you look after staff in the true inclusive way, and that takes time, you know, it's not going to happen overnight and you can't just say, you know, it doesn't work, do the amnio skills, we've got to be more inclusive.

And that said, you've got to really work at it. And Mike Vivian says it takes time. And you know, it's, it's little by little and, and, and, and half of it's a process. And half of it is a go and along with your existing staff, as well as potentially winning over staff as well. So super important. I do see people doing it in the public sector side, but more so in the private to me, it's always hard though.

Having worked in recruitment to remove all the, maybe references on the CV and I, to me, that's not the most important part of the process we should be talking about. Looking after people and keeping them longer and recruitment's expensive. Right? And actually you can think at first, always always stuff the people are talking about.

Is it going to cost the business money? And is it going to be a lot of work? Well, guess why, if you don't do it, if you don't start doing it, you're going to lose people and you're going to have to pay for recruitment consultants. Are you gonna have to, you're gonna have to work on those projects with less people.

And I think that actually solving these problems, guess what happens? People love coming to work. Somehow sync days are reducing and recruitment's easier. And you get people who actually want to work at the company, really excited to apply so that when you go further down the process, you don't realize that you lose in some of these seven months because they're just going somewhere.

It's not the right fit. So, you know, it takes better time. Definitely. Where fair, if you want to have longer staff work. Um, who wants to come to the office and offer a lot of value, then you gotta see gotta start going for this process. So it's not as simple as just, um, we're gonna be, uh, more inclusive in the recruitment process.

It's like, what's the DNA of the company. What can we do on today? And then once you, once you work on all that, well, guess what, the recruitment process will be more inclusive because you're much more of an inclusive company. So it's not as simple as just slapping it on the website that we're inclusive.

You've got to really go, go get into the DNA of what that is and how can you help your current staff? How can you get them excited? How can you bring the culture? Um, people's home cultures into it, into the office as well. How can people from different backgrounds really get the most out of the projects and how are they going to have a bit of fun in the office?

And that's what we all want. We were talking about it earlier. We don't want work in dowel places. People want to be an exciting places. We'll ignore some projects and also be challenged where they beliefs as well. And that's part of the farm process. So we, I will keep you up to date, so, and how it goes.

But 20, 22, we've got to get with the times, you know?

Sara Kolata14:25

Absolutely. And you know, I love how you speak about actually these, uh, this process of becoming more inclusive. Can you give some, uh, ideas or examples that maybe you've seen already in different case studies of how other businesses are implementing that?

I'm curious.

Stephen Drew14:41

Yeah, good question. It's not a case of putting like a fruit bowl over there and I'm like some sofas and saying, look at us, were inclusive. Look at our teams page or people's backgrounds. I think like, what are a few ways we don't talk about it. It's like true inclusivity is also, um, exactly where people are in their personal life as well as professional life.

So for example, The can accommodate and then when people can start work, it sounds like that might just be a functionary, but it's actually true inclusivity, because guess what if you call it awesome, kick-ass architects, who's also, you know, a single parent or perhaps they're busy with kids and work life balance, and actually be an accommodate in that.

You're going to get someone who's amazing talent and, you know, even flexibility working, you might some people in the audience be like, oh, I'm bored about talking about this with the virus and all this stuff. But years ago I used to meet these awesome artists. Couldn't get a job because they couldn't work in the office five days a week.

So actually, you know, having some terms of flexibility is massively inclusive and that's just very functional level, but having it also. Having people at different points in their careers talk. And, uh, you know, I know many architecture practices that encourage the students to stop and talk to gather. So I've seen many, many, many examples of it, but also celebrate in people's higher attention on.

So, you know, it's not just about the Stafford. It's also about the projects where you work and getting involved in communities. So there's like the inwards aspect and then the outdoors aspect. And we talked earlier, Sarah about accurate Larry and they set it up internally, the ACRA Larry academy. And so at that's basically allowing people who don't conform to the traditional route of part one and part two OC sexual education in the UK, but allowing people in the community to work in the office and get involved and that's inclusive in one sense, and that's in the local area.

So they're actually improving and getting people in the Barra with next to where the offices to come and. And have an insight into an architecture, Korea that, that the, you know, uh, university courses you can't really do unless you were in this privileged position. And that's another thing just before we move on the question, there's also, there's, you know, economic exclusivity, uh, you know, inclusivity as well because Architecture is getting more and more expensive to study, you know, how can, how can, how can you get people from different backgrounds all the time?

Who wants to be an architect? It's like, can people actually afford it anymore? You know, it's like I did a study in the UK and it's something like 95,000 pounds to do the five years of architecture and live and accommodation and the eats and sleep and do all that stuff while you're studying. So, you know, we have to start thinking about how can we support people, include them into architecture and get past these barriers.

Few examples, but as well as that you see on six practices, now I'm adopting the apprentice scheme in the UK, which is awesome, which means that people can work part-time as well as study so that people don't come out of the, you know, uh, graduate with 85,000 pounds of debt. So there's a few examples I can think of.

And I encourage everyone to start looking into the apprentice scheme. If you're an employer, I have a think about that as well. How can we continue to get people interested in architecture from backgrounds, which might be the non-traditional routes?

Vivian Lee18:23

I think one thing that you said mentioned, um, and Stephen you mentioned is, um, about, um, the schedule, right?

Accommodating people's schedules. But you know, when we interview now, most people are asking us, do you have flexible hours? And the answer is, yes, we do. Um, we are asking people to work, um, uh, three days a week in the up to come to this year, three days a week and two days are flexible. And the three days it's also flexible really, depending on the project needs.

And, um, so the team will decide which three days they want to come in to do more collaboration work. And then the other two days are flexible. So it's really,

Diana Darling19:05

I think it just depends on where you are. Um, you know, I'm here in New York city. I have a small office in Texas. People in Texas have been going in for months, probably a year.

In New York, we cannot get a rhythm into an office. At this point, we haven't got any employees. They always used to be live in New York city now than eight live in New York city, the rest live someplace else in the country. Um, you know, it's interesting yesterday. Um, we had our facade conference, uh, in New York.

It was very, very difficult to drive an audience. Um, in what I heard from a lot of manufacturers, they're like, they're trying to make, um, appointments with firms. Can I come in and show you something? Can we have a meeting? And they're like, oh no, no, I don't live in New York anymore. I live in Oklahoma or I live in Alaska.

It's like, oh my God, how do we reach this? How do we, how are we going to move forward and try to make something happen? It can't all be virtual, but maybe it is all going to be virtual. I don't know. Um, so I'm now like, okay, now these firms are, is this temporary? Or are they going to force them to come back at some point what's going on here?

But, you know, I was able to get my team, which a lot of people came up from Texas. They've been going out to dinner every night, walking into times square, trying to create a bond when, you know, for two years, nobody had ever met before. So that's been really important and really nice. And I was in a woods Bagot.

Um, Last week and I saw how beautiful it was. And I was like, oh my God, I have to get my office together and get people coming back because it felt so good to be in this beautiful office where there were people working. So, um, and I want that for my team as well. We've been kind of going into the office, but that's just, you know, workplace what's going on with workplace.

Um, and one of the things I see, you know, also being from New York city versus, and trying to hire in New York city versus hiring remotely, uh, and having an office in Texas, which is a different socio economic, um, uh, position, uh, in New York city, you know, benefits are higher. People's, uh, cost of living is higher.

Um, and the education of the people that you see coming to live in New York city, You know, there went to Harvard or they went to Yale or they went to Columbia or, you know, they're coming in from schools all across Europe and in New York city. Most of my marketing backend is there. I mean, in Texas and, you know, they went to UT Austin or they didn't go to these, uh, the schools that have all these big names, but they are great, you know, dedicated workers.

And so we're mixing these two cultures together and, um, we have a lot of diversity. We've had people from Nepal that worked for us, people from Ms. Afghanistan. And I love that because it just feels so great to have, um, people from all these different cultures that come in and support media and architecture.

And they, they, um, you know, want to work their way up. They want to learn a lot of different things and it's a very dedicated workforce, you know, but I have a different. Mandate, you know, I'm a media company, it's not the same as hiring an architecture firm, but, um, we do have a very active job board. I want to say that we, we launched our relaunched, our job board, uh, last January.

And, um, you know, I use that also as a tool to see what's happening in the, in the job landscape. And last month it sort of fell off and it was like, oh my God, what's going on? You know, the variants coming up, people are not going to be hiring. And it was just a blip. The first week of April, it was like, The gates, the flood gates open, and we started getting a lot more job postings.

So I was like, sure. I think it's continuing, there's a lot of work out there looking and hiring, as you guys know is Lydia knows it's very hard to find employees right now. It's a big demand in the architecture firms. So, um, that's what, uh, that's, you know, some of the ideas that I have about hiring and running.

Sara Kolata23:40

And I think that you just, um, kind of started a really interesting topic because it's true. It's really hard to find a really good quality talent. And I think that happens globally because I was even speaking to a potential client, uh, from, in Dubai last week. And they had a very similar situation where they want to grow and expand, but it's very hard to find the right type of people for the positions.

And so I'm kind of going back to Stephen. Uh, I'm really interested from your perspective, basically as a professional recruiter, what do you think is important to take away from hiring. Within the firms and recruiters recruitment, but also retaining your stuff on your talent within the office. And, and especially, you know, this question on, uh, relating to, uh, how fragile our industry is with, you know, with pandemics, we have economic situations, even war related, uh, you know, right now in central Europe, a lot of practices withdrew their projects from Russia, and that has a tremendous impact on the economic state of these firms.

And I'm sure, um, that, you know, some might struggle with with again, um, you know, probably running their businesses or whatnot, uh, that can affect teams and it can affect, you know, uh, keeping talent in. So those kinds of, um, external factors, they always affect our businesses, uh, Architecture businesses.

They're very fragile to that. Um, so how, how do you see that Steve, in respect of the.

Stephen Drew25:04

Yeah. Yeah. That's so I'll, I'll kind of, I'll jump in the spreadsheet. The first question with regards to Ukraine and Russia obviously is awful situation. Hadn't really seen that effect much of the work though in London, it feels like business as usual.

And the other one, I don't know, a lot of clients are particularly work in the Russia. You know, I have a huge market, which, which is affected by or by Russia tends to be maybe some of the larger practices. So with it being business, as usual as dire, as Diana said, I everyone's looking right now. And that's why, so employers who will listen, and this is why inclusivity and diversity is more important than ever, because guess what?

This is what in, recruitment's called the candidates market. Okay. A talented person. Who's an acid to accompany right now has total choice on where they want to hire. They've got people saying, join me, join me. They also got jobs everywhere, every century. And I always laugh because, and then he told me if you think this is what, but when you eat these jobs, these job descriptions, which are posted, and they're written in this top down view towards like employees, like we are looking for a senior architect, you must have eight years experience must have this.

Must have that. Mr.

Oh, I don't even want to learn that. It's crazy because when people are looking, they don't want to look at that. They want to talk about what it's like to work, that they want to something related to. So when you write in an eyes and you say like, would you like to be included in design making decisions at a practice, which is working on interesting projects?

Yeah. I wouldn't mind that I've been bored working out my cubicle for a while. And the idea of where I work is like a cake day, but that's not good enough anymore. And so these ads need to be relatable. And the point is they're not going to get anywhere because people are thinking about their current situations.

And right now, if I was a professional and what I speak to a lot of people it's about moving on from their current situation. So we have an architecture practices, like set in your ways and you work until nine o'clock and you don't even know really the guy next to you and down there another team altogether, well, that's kind of a boring existence, right?

You want to work in an office. Interesting vibrant has to happen. And I think there's an art form to that. So these are the companies that are doing really well right now in what's called the candidate driven market. They're not writing these ads, which are long lists. They're talking about guests, what we did today.

We did like a sports, right? So we have the charity, or we got a really interesting project with a part one's been involved. Doesn't need to be like constantly doing events, outwards. I mean, of course it's nice to be involved in the community and do that stuff, but just showing what it's like to work in these places.

I mean, super important. And everyone's online to one extent and we do like to have office and go to places. Person. So why not celebrate the office? Talk about stuff. Talk about the new starts or how was your week? You just can qualify as an architect. Okay, great. Tell us, how was that experiences? What projects are you working on?

What mistakes we made. We so scared to talk about mistakes all the time. And then actually we want to work in environment, you as human. I make mistakes all the time. And I think that the more you expose yourself, the more inclusive it is and more people will apply. And that's really how you win in this market and the companies which do not do that.

Don't really talk about the office. Don't like to talk, but they hours, they work not honest about current situations and they're not looking to develop. There at the bottom of the pile, no one

Diana Darling28:56

was speaking and go back and look at these job description. I have to tell you that's not something I normally do.

I just to see what revenues coming in. I'm not like looking at you.

Stephen Drew29:07

You, you laughed. When I, when I, when I say that, because you went to a job board, right? I always amazed people go, no, one's applied to my job and you read that and it's like the biggest list. It doesn't talk about the company. Doesn't talk about the culture.

Let's talk about really the bad. And they go up and Owens applies. My course, who wants to work that no one

Diana Darling29:29

that's a morning as well. I have to look at that for my own job postings, but I want to get back to something else because you talking about people leaving in seven months. You know, when I, before I started the architects newspaper, 20 years ago, I changed jobs every three years.

That for 20 years I changed jobs every three years. That just felt like that was my rhythm. I got bored. I wanted something else. Okay. You know, step up. Uh, so you know, now then I saw something on the big tick tock person. I saw some, this recruiter on Tik TOK saying people, people don't stay any longer than two years in a job.

So forget thinking, you're going to have somebody stay your five, 10 years. You have that. You're really lucky. And, um, I have found that, you know, I've had some people leave recently. They were here for five years and they're like, Diana, I just want to try something else. And I'm like, I understand I did that myself.

So I understand really hard to lose those people. I don't think there's a way that you can retain them.

Stephen Drew30:32

Well, the point. And it's interesting, but why not set that as the challenge, right? If you just going to go out, people are going to leave anyways, then you have, I know

Diana Darling30:41

I say I try to, I think about that and try to develop that, um, you know, an environment where people want to stay, but.

They're getting poached off LinkedIn, you know, there's just so many ways to find employees and snag.

Stephen Drew30:57

If you got to come look, I'm sure it, then there's different law industries, but you're right. There's some people that want to move around either the same thing. I worked in one place for one year, and then I sat in my own business, which is kind of like the worst that, you know, this is a work somewhere and then Sapper rival business.

So, Hey, I've done it myself. I've also found myself thinking, oh, I'll just work somewhere for a few months. Now. I was there for four years and, and you, right. You can't beat yourself up. If people go then that's it. But it just makes sense from a business point of view, having, I know I charge clients, recruitment's not cheap, it's really expensive.

And so, you know, when I send these emails out and the reality is I say to people is try not to use me. Well, you had this problem at all the less you'd be paying me and that's fine. And I, at first I was like, oh, I shouldn't really be saying that because I'm like put myself out of a job, but actually in architecture,

Diana Darling31:53

there's so much, it's not going to change that quickly.

No, not that quickly. It's hard to change. It's hard to change a culture. It is. Um, yeah, you mean

Stephen Drew32:05

it this way. If you manage to get everyone's, whoever works for you to stay an extra two months, I wonder how much that would save in the bottom line, you know?

Vivian Lee32:15

But it's a lot about, um, it's about keeping the culture, right?

The workplace culture. And, um, so when, when we went into the pandemic, this is, um, like early 20, 20, we actually had a round table discussion with a lot of our workplace into your clients. And, um, we wanted to know was like, w what are you guys doing? Like, you know, because there are clients that we, we do spade.

I mean, most of the, at that time everyone was working with. And I think there was a lot of discussion about like, oh, what about, you know, it's about the culture, you know, we need to bring people, you don't have that water cooler chatting anymore, or those chance encounters, you know, you, you know, you kind of like pass by.

Someone's like, Hey, you know, I know this thing is going on. Have you looked into that? You know, kind of loose that. And, um, but, but I think, you know, coming back, you know, we really need to engage our teams. Um, and just last night we actually had to say that we had our spring soiree because we didn't, we didn't have a Christmas party because of the COVID.

So we decided to push it out and, uh, and it was a gorgeous day and we had a great time and it was just so nice to see people coming together. Face-to-face and getting to know each other, um, talking about their work, talking about their, you know, their personal life, what they're doing, you know, we're now talking about doing a bowling night or karaoke night, I think.

And when you come to a place it's not just about the work, right? It's about the people you work with and the things that you do. And, uh, it's definitely, I think, um, it's also being more inclusive in that way. And, uh, it's not just about work, work, work anymore. Have a little fun, right.

Stephen Drew33:51

Um, yeah, just to add to that, I think it's so interesting that you say, because it's true people constantly leave, then you know that like Rick's tapestry about what is this company's culture.

War is woods Bagot. Basically when these people go, it kind of goes out the door, doesn't it. And I think that a company can have that existential crisis. And I know I've been there building a business, especially at the star key member leaves. And you're like, wow, kind of the company's going at the moment.

So I think that that's a really important part. You mentioned Vivian. Well,

Diana Darling34:21

you know, being part of a small business over 20 years, I, you do have those moments where you're like, oh my God, how are we, what are we going to do? And after why are you just like, you know, Different theme. We're going to be grateful, whatever comes in and it changes.

And then somebody else pulls in and they've got great talent. They bring new, um, new, um, ideas that they have and it changes. And you just have to be flexible because that is what will happen. It will definitely change. You have to be flexible it's you can't hold on to what the culture always is. Even if you set a culture, you're trying to set a culture, people change the culture by their personalities that come in.

Sometimes you just have people that come in and they're people, you know, there are people person they're very upbeat and, um, people gravitate towards them. And so you think about skills, just bringing that type of person into your culture or into your company is amazing to have that because that, um, uh, You know, also helps bond and helps teammates, uh, bond with the company, knowing that there's people like that, that they can interact with.

Um, so yeah, it takes all kinds of, uh, of, uh, it's not just the, the company or the management at the top. It's, you know, it is helping people understand at the bottom how much they're appreciated and how much they bring to the table in an organization.

Sara Kolata36:04

I was wondering, because I think that that topic of topic of culture and the office and office culture is really important.

Um, and I'm always thinking about those sort of more. Toxic environments that perhaps I experienced in the past when I worked in places, you know, and I certainly have a friend now who was sharing that in one of the offices she works with, there is a conflict between two monitors and it really radiates onto the staff, um, such that it's unpleasant to be there even though, you know, no one really has an and, um, maybe an attitude towards you directly, it's just really hard and weird to be in this environment.

And I always think about how do you, you know, how do you in an office place manage conflict and sort of make everyone feel comfortable, even if something like this happens, which is a very human thing. Of course. So do you guys have some advice on that?

Vivian Lee37:00

I think, well, I want to do the best work to get the best results.

And, um, and I think, um, I think we all need to recognize our own, uh, abilities, uh, to do great work. Um, by really engaging, um, the talent of others to do the great work. I, you know, I think the collaboration is very important and, uh, I think we, if we all are in the same page in terms of the end result, maybe that will mitigate some of the conflicts.

So, you know, you ha you have a target, you have, you know, a team approach. Um, and, uh, and again, you know, the, uh, you know, we all have different personalities and sometimes, you know, some people get along, some people, you know, better with others. Uh, some, there are some of those people, uh, person that are just like brightened a room.

And, but I think everyone, um, everyone contributes right to eventually to doing a great project. And I think the target is to focus on that.

Diana Darling38:02

Yeah. You know, I'm a very passionate person and, um, I, uh, I'm trying to think where I was going to go with that. I'm a very passionate person and people who might be watching this, that may have worked for me before.

I'm I, you know, I drive hard and I try to get, you know, you don't get where your, where we're at by not having passionate about it and trying to keep everybody going in the same direction. Um, there was something else I was going to say about that, but, um, I try to take myself out of being physically present.

A lot of times, you know, you as the president, you, sometimes people just need to be with their, with their. Like for instance, I have all these people in New York right now. They're going out to dinner. They're doing whatever. I don't want to be there. They don't want me there. So I like, okay, great. You guys all want from 2043 to 42nd street and you went to time square together.

You bonded, you had that great experience. I'm so happy that you did that. I mean, they didn't ask me to come, but a lot of times there's a president or the, you know, upper management. They don't want you around. So allow them to have those experiences together. Um, so that, uh, you know, Complain and, and talk about what they need to talk about and figure it out.

Um, so that's one thing I've learned, you know, I used to sometimes I'm like, you mean that happened in the office? How did that happen? I'm there every day. How could that have happened? I didn't see it. Um, and I don't think I'm a naive person, but you know, there's just so much that happens in an office environment.

You know, we're small office. I can't imagine. I mean, I used to be in big environments. I worked for the gap. I worked