March 13, 2019
I started my professional career as a Registered Architect in Mexico. In 2002, I relocated to the United States. While I was excited about this opportunity, naturally I was worried about leaving behind the professional life that I had built, as well as leaving family and friends.
The development of my professional career in the United States has been a challenging journey, but also one that has been very rewarding. I was fortunate enough early in my career to find an employer and colleagues that supported me through this transition and provided me with the foundation I needed to grow and to build confidence and credibility while still maintaining my authenticity.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced has been gaining eligibility to sit for the Architect Registration Examination. The process towards licensure has proved to be long, costly and challenging. Despite all this, I have viewed each exam as an opportunity to challenge myself and finally, I will be taking my last examination within the next few months. Another difficulty that I have faced as a professional has been to find the balance between work and family life. I am a mother of two young children and am lucky enough to be married to my husband, who is also an architect. We share our passion for the profession, which helps with this delicate balance. Through the years, I have learned to develop proper boundaries that have allowed me to better establish priorities. I am fortunate to have an employer that has a clear understanding of the importance of a family and that has been extremely supportive of my growth.
“Nicolas and Sophia, beach day” (Photography by Angelica Arent)
“My partner, my love” (Photography by Angelica Arent)
One major satisfaction in my career has been to serve as the Senior Project Manager of a complex high-rise luxury condominium project in Long Branch, New Jersey. This project has been a proud collaborative effort between contractors, consultants, and designers.
“South Beach at Long Branch during construction” (Photography by Justin Calvert at Shore
“Team, in 2018, celebrating milestone” (Photography by Justin Calvert)
My future goals are to obtain my architectural license this year and to be more active in my community by raising awareness of women empowerment. In 2017, I was honored to be selected as a panelist for the Commercial Real Estate Women of New Jersey (Crew NJ) to discuss the Redevelopment of the “Cities by the Sea”. Having the opportunity to participate in this and similar events have had a significant impact on me.
“CREW NJ panel discussion with industry leaders, in 2017” (Photography by CREW NJ)
The person who has truly inspired me to this day is my mother. Not only because we share the same profession, but because she has always given me purpose, direction, and strength. She has always provided me with the encouragement to overcome every obstacle that has been placed in front of me during my career and in every aspect of my life.
”My mother, in 1967, Legorreta Arquitectos” (Photography by Angelica Cerrillo)
Growing up I remember going with my mother to the construction sites filled with men. While few of them were respectful, there were many who were not so willing to receive instructions from a woman. My mother was respected and I admired how she always found a way to break through those challenging barriers. Growing up in a country where gender inequality has always been an issue, I learned at a very early age that as women in an industry dominated by men, you need to work harder, be more prepared and be very persistent. My mother used to say ‘Always be the most prepared in the room’.
”Construction Trailer” (Photography by Angelica Arent)
From my experience, I would suggest to any woman who is attempting to break into this field, to pursue licensure. I truly believe that having a license brings automatic respectability and a sense of confidence and security. Unfortunately, to one degree or another, women still encounter gender inequality on a day to day basis in the workplace. While I feel that the dynamics within the profession have been progressing towards equality, it is still not perfect. Working your hardest, being more prepared, and being the most persistent has helped me to move forward in my career and to gain the respect of my peers.
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in AIA Jersey Shore, Associates, Diversity, Emerging Professionals, EquityInArchitecture, Women in Architecture | Tagged: #AIA, #AIANJ, #AngelicaArentAssociateAIA, #Associate, #BalanceForBetter, #BlueprintforBetter, #diversity, #equity, #Inclusion, #Mexico, #NewJersey, #WHM, #WIA, #womeninarchitecture, #WomensHistoryMonth, #WorkLifeBalance | Comments (0)
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