• Cheryl A. Smith, AIA, LEED AP

AIA Liaison for NIBS/BETEC

What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2015?

2015 has been simply incredible for me. I was recently elevated to principal; my team was awarded the opportunity to host the next Building Enclosure Science & Technology BEST 5 Conference; and I was selected to serve as the AIA Liaison for NIBS/BETEC, which has opened unique doors for me to connect with both institutions.

What was your most notable project, deal or transaction in 2015?

My most notable project in 2015 has to be the start of construction – after years of working on design and documentation – for a 51-story mixed-use tower at 15th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, to include the city’s first W Hotel.

How do you contribute to your company and/or the industry?

As a national leader in building envelope technology, I lead much of the firm’s technical side of the practice, from reviews of code and constructability issues to complex building envelope performance analysis.

Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career?

My husband, who is also an architect, has had the strongest influence on my career. I see first-hand what he has achieved in business over the years, which in turn has helped me develop my own career. He is my strongest advocate, and he helps me balance my overachieving ideas with reality in a light-hearted, fun-loving way.

What impact has social media/networking had on your business?

Networking, especially with other professional board members, has introduced me to many connections that have helped me to be more knowledgeable of current building envelope issues. This knowledge has contributed directly to my firm, by helping us design higher performing buildings for our clients.Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you chose the field/profession you are in today.I suppose one could say that design and construction was in my genes; it was what I knew and loved to do as I was growing up. My father was an entrepreneur and a contractor; I learned a lot from him about construction, business, and the development world. I also learned from my mother, who was the taste maker of the family, how to design and become a leader in the community. I think that I found the best of both worlds because as an architect, I can design great spaces and buildings, but also have an understanding of how things get built that helps me relate to contractors.

What qualities and/or personality traits do you feel make you most successful?

I never give up; I always think that as a team, we can find a successful solution. I also have an uncanny ability to communicate and motivate others to achieve.

What was the most defining moment for you in the profession you are currently in?

Being nominated for my first board seat on the ACE Mentor Program Eastern Pennsylvania Affiliate board of directors was extremely rewarding. My involvement in the program and on the board strengthened my confidence and my team leadership abilities.

Tell us about your family. I’m the oldest of four siblings, am happily married to a terrific husband, and have two young adult stepdaughters and sons-in-law with whom we spend a lot of time. Together our family enjoys gardening and canning, wine making and tasting, and attending concerts, especially in Nashville where the oldest resides.

Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession?

My parents taught me how to be successful at whatever I wanted to do; they taught me, by example, to be respectful and considerate of others and to constantly give back to others.

What activities do you enjoy during you free time?

I enjoy hiking, traveling, kayaking, cooking, wine tasting, listening to music, and watching a good sports game with friends and family.

What word of advice would you give to a woman about to go into your allied field?

I would recommend joining professional organizations and getting to know your professional colleagues. Other professionals can become your mentors, advisors, advocates, friends, and collaborators; they will help provide new connections and opportunities as you begin your career.

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