Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2016

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Get to Know a Member in 5 Questions
by Hourig Ayanyan

1. How has someone’s mentoring made a difference in your life or career?

Mentoring was very crucial in my growth process and learning to adapt in my career path. I had the opportunity to work with an amazing mentor who helped me analyze my strengths and weaknesses and develop both in constructive ways, as well as making sure that I spend the time to feed my creative soul either at work or a lot of times outside of work.

2. What is your next big goal for yourself, personally or professionally?

My immediate goal is finishing up my last exam, the CSE, and becoming a licensed architect in California before the end of this year. After that I want to focus on working on more interesting and complex projects and further developing my management and technical skills. My dream, long term goal, is to build a vibrant cultural community center one day.

3. In a parallel life, what would be your line of work?

It would have to be something in the Performing Arts. Maybe a principal dancer, choreographer, or set designer. I've always been fascinated with movement and the articulation of the body to convey abstract ideas and emotions.

4. What has changed since you started in your field?

The economic downturn was a big hit to our field. Personally, it had a big impact on the types of jobs that I got to work on. I was fortunate to work for most of it, though, and stuck through it until now where things have improved dramatically. In addition to that, I had my son in 2013 and embarked on a new journey of motherhood. That was also a struggle in a field that's not conducive to raising kids. I think we need to push our field to make some dramatic changes to be more accommodating to raising families. There is a good chance that we will be losing out on a lot of talent, which I already see happening.

5. Has your career path been shaped by being a woman?

Absolutely. I've noticed that more clearly after having my son. I am not able to put in more hours like I used to prior to having him. In my previous job I cut down my hours to 4 days a week. This is not necessary a bad thing, but it does affect the type of work you do, along with reducing the level of involvement. I constantly struggle to find some sort of work/life balance since our line of work is very demanding. I do think that we need to have a dialogue about establishing more supportive work environments, whether we are single or parents. I truly believe that we do our best work if we are happy with our lives outside of work. That requires a cultural shift in our field as well as in the larger society.

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