Typically, we aim to hire around two dozen interns a year. We often hire high-performing interns into full-time roles after graduation. Today, we’re proud to have several employees who originally came on board as interns who are now more than 10 years into their careers, as well as many more in various stages of their professional journey. TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? MS: Fundamentally, the recipe is a simple one. Trust doesn’t just come from good intentions; it comes from an ability to say what you’ll do and then do it. Having the knowledge and experience to deliver above-and-beyond results, time and again. Optimization of speed, repetition, and efficiency. Candor and transparency in communication are a foundational part of that. “I greatly enjoy watching people step into new roles and embrace the accompanying challenges and responsibilities.” TZL: Can you tell me exactly what “human- centered design” means and illustrate it with a project example or two? MS: The idea behind human-centered design is to invite the perspective and insight of the people we design for to inform the design, outcomes, and experiences we strive to achieve. We’re creating spaces where people live, work, and play so this is a fundamental piece of why diversity in perspective, background, race, gender, orientation, etc. are critical at MG2. The more diverse the voices at the table, the more equitable and inclusive the solutions will be. Our Crossroads and Rose Hill projects are great examples of human-centered design expressed in our work. In both instances, we’re evolving outdated, urban-based shopping centers into walkable, sustainability-minded, multi-family communities. They’ll feature green spaces, varying amenities and will be accessible via multi-modal transportation. Destination-worthy spaces whose composition can positively change the lives of their residents, visitors, and surrounding neighborhoods is human-centered design in action. TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?
MS: You need knowledge, expertise, and the passion to invest in research, learning, and expanding your ability to solve problems. That constant desire to learn and grow drives the practice forward, whether from a design or technical standpoint. It’s a constant. And it must also be coupled with great people. Confident leaders know that they don’t have all the answers. Early in your career, you’re seeking answers and certainty. But ultimately, it’s about being nimble and adaptable. The world is changing quickly and yesterday’s solutions may not be the answer to tomorrow’s challenges. TZL: MG2 invests in its leaders while focusing on their career, health, and wellness. Please tell me about some initiatives that work to meet this end. MS: Early on, we identify people with leadership potential and provide support during their evolution. I greatly enjoy watching people step into new roles and embrace the accompanying challenges and responsibilities. You can’t wait for a specific opportunity to arise to develop your staff; you have to continually invest in and provide opportunities. We have initiatives of all sorts, including extensive leadership training, EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion), coaching programs, free LinkedIn Learning access, and countless professional development benefits, including yearly training budgets and certification fee coverage. We offer opportunities to volunteer on community projects with partners like Seattle Design Festival and The BLOCK Project, yearly student internships and events, and the ability to participate in our Emerging Professional Series – a program that provides everyone at MG2 the ability to explore tools, knowledge, and processes from across our firm. To round everything off, we offer work-from- home flexibility and health resources for mental, physical, and emotional well-being through our firm’s comprehensive benefits package. TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking in the design industry. What steps are you taking to address the issue? MS: We’ve been focused on this for years and have given much attention to the way we recruit and howwe elevate our people. In 2020, MG2 partnered with the Global Diversity Collaborative: an organization that uses the results of effective collaboration to help companies transform into the workplace See PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES, page 8
HEADQUARTERS: Seattle, WA NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 425 YEAR FOUNDED: 1971 OFFICE LOCATIONS: 7 MARKETS: ■ ■ Consumer Experiences: Food, Beverage, &
Entertainment; Large- format Retail, Pop- up Retail, Specialty Retail, Worklife
■ ■ Community
Environments: High- rise, Hospitality,
Interiors, Mid-rise Residential, Retail Development ■ ■ Client Programs: Program Design,
Entitlement Services, Program Delivery, Cost Management, Built Asset Management
■ ■ Services:
Architecture, Brand design and
development, Casework and fixture design, Cost management, Interior design, Master planning, Program management, Space planning, Store planning and Visual merchandising
LEGACY: MG2 just celebrated its 50th anniversary!
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ARCH 21, 2022, ISSUE 1433
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