TZL 1382 (web)


responsibilities. At the principal level, working on architectural projects includes business development to bring in the work, or make the relationships with clients that result in being awarded a project. Leadership responsibilities are shared and are divided up among the business owners in the following categories: business administration, strategic planning, human resources, workload management, marketing, project management effectiveness, production, and information technology. TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? Rossomando: Last year we developed a new strategic plan that includes a firm statement and implementation goals for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We’re committed to an equitable practice based on empathy, transparency, education, collaboration, and trust. Historically, our firm has always been at least 51 percent woman-owned. We have the highest number of licensed women architects for architecture firms based in Austin and are the largest women-owned architecture firm. But we believe unless you are being intentionally inclusive, you are being unintentionally exclusive. Therefore, our goals include actively recruiting ethnically diverse candidates for staff positions, supporting emerging professionals and re- emerging professionals in ways that create engagement and retention for those with non-traditional work needs, encouraging participation in leadership development for women and non-white staff, and initiating JEDI training for firm leaders through national conferences or on-demand learning to address issues such as career progression, work culture, leadership development, and talent recruitment. TZL: I see the company does some pro bono work. Can you tell me about a recent project? Rossomando: We share a belief in the transformational power of architecture to engage people, draw communities together, and inspire. We’re always looking for ways to share our skills and resources with the larger community of Austin. With our work at Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned sustainable development that provides affordable housing to the chronically homeless population in Central Texas, we’ve contributed design expertise and hands-on labor for two micro-houses of the 120 tiny home units built. With this pro bono work, we’re changing lives

by providing homes as well as getting practical building knowledge by working with our contractor partner Bailey Elliott. The Community First! Village is in the same area of Austin as our own design office and it’s rewarding to be a good neighbor. TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? McKinney: Since we’ve just completed a leadership transition, you’re catching us at an interesting time to discuss different styles of leadership. Although Michelle and I have different skill sets, we’ve been able to match the right person in leadership to the right time in the firm’s evolution. Michelle is very organized and leads with a lot of energy and a dash of humor. She’s an expert project manager and takes the time to carefully train people using the many tools available in the office to efficiently and consistently execute their work. As the leader of the firm since the beginning of 2020, she has a practical handle on the state of the business and makes decisions for the wellbeing of the firm in an unflappable manner that instills trust. I am an intuitive leader who has learned to seek consensus and to share the fun parts of being an architect. I established the core values of the firm including the importance of listening and collaboration. Since founding the firm, I’ve been inspirational in shaping its design voice and cultivating a successful business with the building blocks needed for sustainable growth into the future. Both of us love to design and hope to inspire everyone at McKinney York Architects to work like they remember why they wanted to become architects in the first place. Our architecture is aspirational and optimistic to create a more harmonious and sustainable world by connecting people to each other and to the world around them. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? Rossomando: We take staff enrichment and leadership development seriously. All employees receive informal and formal feedback throughout the year. Informal feedback includes one-on-one “coffee chats” and project team “lessons learned” meetings to discuss daily operations issues as well as job satisfaction. Staff that are See COLLABORATION, page 8






❚ ❚ Winner of local, regional, and national awards

❚ ❚ AIA Homes Tour participants

❚ ❚ TxA 2013 Architecture Firm Award recipient MAJORITY REGISTERED ARCHITECTS: More than half of its architectural staff are registered professionals.


❚ ❚ LEED professionals on staff

❚ ❚ Austin Green Building Program certification experience

❚ ❚ City of Austin Platinum-Level Green Business Leader CERTIFIED HUB & WBE: Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certified by the State of Texas Building and Procurement Commission; women-owned business enterprise (WBE) certified by the City of Austin

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RCH 8, 2021, ISSUE 1382

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