International Women’s Day 2021 | Jorey ‘Shosh’ Friedman

What attracted you to work in architecture?

It was the one profession of several I had contemplated that encapsulated a good number of my passions including art, model building, a fascination for geometric shapes, house renovation projects, and fort building, to name a few. That coupled with some innate personality traits that seemed to be a good fit for an aspiring architect were the key attractors.

Describe a typical working day for you…

One of my favorite things about this job is that there really isn’t a “typical” workday for me (2020 – Year of the Pandemic – excluded, of course). Depending on how many projects are going on at one time, and the phase of each project, it can range anywhere from a day in the office running air traffic control for staffing of the various projects, guiding and mentoring the design staff on specific projects, and team and client meetings too… getting on a plane to travel to a foreign country for a 2-3 day design charette. Boredom is not an option in this profession, and for this, I couldn’t be happier.

Can you tell us about 1-2 challenges you faced throughout the course of your career, and how you overcame them?

As my career evolved and I took on more of a leadership role, it was quite challenging for me to ‘let go’ of design control. It took some time and a good deal of self-reflection to feel comfortable enough to stand back and let the junior designers, whom I had been mentoring, express their own design ‘voice’ which was different than mine. Over time I learned how to guide, encourage, and enhance their efforts with ‘fat pen’ sketches, rather than force my own design ideas with a Micron .005 pen. It was a process, but I now find great satisfaction in sharing their pride for a job well done.

Six Senses, Turks and Caicos

What are you most proud of doing?

Professionally, I am most proud of becoming the first female Principal at SB Architects.

What do you see as some of the challenges facing women in Architecture?

Hands down, the work-life balance, particularly if you have children. I believe it takes a certain amount of personal mental acceptance to convince yourself that you can be dedicated 100% to being a wife/mother and 100% to being an architect. Thinking that you are only dedicating 50% to each, equates to being 50% successful at each. In my mind, this is a subtle, yet important distinction – one that needs to be made to feel fully content.

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to a similar career path?

Don’t lose sight of your goal no matter what obstacles may present themselves along the way.  Go around them or over them, or simply find other paths to travel even if they may seem less direct. Sometimes it’s the less obvious and more circuitous route that reaps the greater, more fulfilling life and career experiences.

Lastly, what three skills do you think are essential to be a great leader?

  • The ability to listen.
  • The ability to communicate clearly, succinctly, and collaboratively.
  • The ability to lead by example.

Interview with: Jorey ‘Shosh’ Friedman, Principal and Vice President

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