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Debra Seay, Top 25 Women in Business 2022 Honoree

Debra Seay Employer: Amenta Emma Architects Title: Senior Associate Check out all of the WIB honorees here!
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Debra Seay, a licensed architect, joined Amenta Emma Architects in 2016, bringing with her 14 years of architectural experience on a variety of complex projects.

Due to her dedication and devotion to excellence, she was promoted to associate in 2018, and senior associate and senior project manager in 2020.

Her commitment to advancing health, happiness, mindfulness and productivity in the built environment led her to become a WELL Accredited Professional in 2017.

Q: What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

I am most proud to have achieved the goal of being a professional licensed architect. Only 22% of licensed architects are women. What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally? My next goal is to be a partner.

I want my voice and my opinions to be recognized not just within my firm but within the industry. Only 14% of partners in architectural firms are women. I want to make an impact on our employees and give a voice to working women and mothers in our profession.

Q: What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

It was a huge challenge to move to a new state in the middle of my career. When I moved to Connecticut more than five years ago, I knew no one and had no network. I had to start my career over. Now I am doing business development, developing relationships and bringing work to the firm.

Q: How has the COVID-10 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?

COVID has forced me to be more intentional as a leader. Being in the office full time creates opportunities for unplanned conversations and creative ‘collisions’ with co-workers. When everyone is working independently, your words and actions as a leader must be more intentional.

Q: Who has been your most important mentor and why?

I was fortunate that my first supervisor was a woman and majority owner of a firm. She taught me how to lead a job site, especially when I am the only woman at the table. She taught me not to be afraid to say I don’t know something. I am grateful that I learned early to do research and ask questions; that is when you truly learn.

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