Women's History Month Q&A


As the month of March and Women’s History Month comes wraps up, we are recognizing the women of Design Workshop. These women are doing amazing things for our studio, the profession and the world. Did you know that women make up 52% of our employees, 45% of our associates and nearly 40% of our principals? We know the impact they have had over the last 50 years but how incredible will their impact be over the next 50? Take a moment to meet some of the talented women of Design Workshop.


Becky Zimmermann

President | Denver, Colorado

Q. Tell us about a woman or women who currently inspire you.
A. My mother, who passed away in 2017, was an inspiration to me. She was tough as nails and an amazing caregiver. Up until she was 89, she was delivering Meals on Wheels to people in her small town.

Q. Complete this statement. This women's history month, I want to shine a light on ________. Why?
A. Working mothers, especially executive-level women with children under the age of 18. In YPO, a global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries, more than 75 percent of the members are men. Women at the highest levels of leadership and business ownership are scarce. Most of the time, for women to achieve professional goals, they need supportive spouses and a network of caregivers. Too often, I have seen young professional women put their careers on hold because their spouses do not take on at least half of the family care responsibilities.

Q. How do you want to set an example for the next generation of women leaders in the world?
A. I hope I set an example by how I lead my life, operate a business and contribute to community. I want the next generation of women to know that their viewpoint matters, that they are talented and smart, and to trust their intuition.

Q. Can you tell us about an obstacle you overcame in your career? How did you do it?
A. There have been many times in my career where doors have cracked open for me because they had to add women (like my Executive MBA Program or acceptance as a full member of ULI at the age of 29). I whirl through the door and then prove that I deserved to be there, regardless of my gender.

Sung‑Hye Park

Landscape Architect | Austin, Texas

Q. Tell us about a woman or women who currently inspire you.
A. The women in my office inspire me daily. In my career life, this is the first time I’ve had women in leadership. I feel trusted and supported here which makes me happy to have chosen to work here.

Q. Complete this statement. This women's history month, I want to shine a light on ________. Why?
A. Minority women. Too often, real aspects of them are hidden behind layers of minority appearance and stereotyped preconceptions. I want their voices to be heard.

Q. How do you want to set an example for the next generation of women leaders in the world?
A. I have been trying to become someone who anybody would like to work with, a person who supports and nurtures growth. It is a great feeling when I see somebody who I work with grow in their career. It gives me an even greater sense of achievement when this person is woman paving the way for the next generation of women leaders.

Q. Can you tell us about an obstacle you overcame in your career? How did you do it?
A. While working in Asia for over ten years, I was often the only woman in any meeting room. I was not given the same opportunities to present as men were in these meetings I was considered a woman first, rather than one of the consultants. I had to work more hours to prove myself and demonstrate that I was a woman who does quality work. While it has allowed me to be successful in my career, it was mentally exhausting.

Manisha Kaul

Office Director/ Senior Design & Planning Professional | Chicago, Illinois

Q. Tell us about a woman or women who currently inspire you.
A. Growing up Mohini, my mother, a shy and liberal lady born and raised in the inner city of a tourist town in the foothills of the Himalayas, was a bottomless pit of love and strength. She never told me that I couldn’t achieve what I set my heart and mind to.

When I espoused the landscape architecture profession, I was moved to my core after reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her determination to answer her calling for maintaining the ecological balance of her world has inspired me every day since. The social revolution that empowered people to question the government was no small feat. It inspired me to think about our life choices that lead to a degraded environment, not just for the present, but for the future generations of this global community.

Q. Complete this statement. This women's history month, I want to shine a light on ________. Why?
A. Not the women as I am confident they can bring themselves into the limelight by their sheer perseverance and pragmatism. I’d like to shine a light on a critical resource – water. In our race to be the world’s largest natural gas producer, water is at risk of becoming collateral damage. Once again, the greed of oil producers and government to regain their position in the pecking order of global politics is sacrificing our precious resource – water - silently to the expanding fracking industry.

Q. How do you want to set an example for the next generation of women leaders in the world?
A. My motto is “never give up” and “never give in” and always “look at the bright side” of life. Believe in yourself and in the power of sharing knowledge and mentoring the younger aspirants.

Q. Can you tell us about an obstacle you overcame in your career? How did you do it?
A. I grew up in a small town, Srinagar, where architecture or design as a profession did not exist even though I was surrounded by the iconic Mughal gardens. Only a handful of people before me (mostly male) had adopted architecture as a profession. The fear of immersing in the unknown world of architecture existed, but I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that that it was my family (parents and my husband) who were the real heroes in my professional story. They supported my whim of wanting to learn architecture, stayed up late-nights, listened tirelessly to my rants before the submission due dates , and never told me that I could not keep going back to school. I am grateful to them because during one of those “back to school” instances, I found my love of ecology and regenerative landscapes and with it the realization that it takes “one woman” to make a difference. Any obstacles that I would classify as small bumps along the way paled in comparison to the immense support that everyone gave along the way. It is this support of my peers and mentors that has enabled this journey from architecture to landscape architecture and beyond to be possible.

Sarah Delcambre

Landscape Architect, PLA | Houston, Texas

Q. Tell us about a woman or women who currently inspire you.
A. I am inspired by women who support and empower other women. Sometimes we are the harshest critics of ourselves but the most powerful thing we can do is to have each other’s backs. Women who have pioneered to become leaders in what used to be male-dominated industries continue to inspire me to take on more challenging leadership roles and not let anything hold me down when it comes to my goals.

Q. Complete this statement. This women's history month, I want to shine a light on ________. Why?
A. During this month, my main goal is to shine light on the fact that women in the workplace are no longer a rarity. We now comprise nearly half of the workforce. The way we continue this momentum is to encourage our daughters to strive to become whatever they want to be in life, whether it’s the ever-important job of motherhood, the workplace or both!

Q. How do you want to set an example for the next generation of women leaders in the world?
A. I am currently championing the local Women in Landscape Architecture group in Houston. My goal is to create an environment in which young professionals can learn to confidentially share their stories and ideas. When we build this confidence, goals and obstacles seem far less daunting and great things happen. Several seasoned landscape architecture firms in Houston were founded by women! We invite these leading women to our meetings for mentorship and conversation and it has proven to be very beneficial. Both sides walk away with fresh new ideas.

Q. Can you tell us about an obstacle you overcame in your career? How did you do it?
A. The biggest challenge I have faced as a young professional is being taken seriously, particularly out in the field. I became licensed a year ago and that renewed my confidence as a knowledgeable landscape architect who can speak up when necessary. Design Workshop has also taught me that we are all lifelong learners. When I don’t know something, I admit it and look at it as an opportunity to learn. As with many professions, things are always evolving and we must continue to grow in knowledge to succeed.

Rebecca Hill

Landscape Architect | Los Angeles, California

Q. Tell us about a woman or women who currently inspire you.
A. The first woman who comes to mind is Angela Merkel. She seems to be able to handle all the egos of male leaders with a straight face. I would definitely lose my cool!

Q. Complete this statement. This women's history month, I want to shine a light on ________. Why?
A. It’s okay for women to make statements. Recently, we had a women’s round table on modeling confidence and Aimee brought up the words we shouldn’t use in the workplace – “I think” and “I feel like,” among others. etc. We tell ourselves that we pepper our speech with these deferential terms in order to make others feel empowered or to leave room for other opinions but it makes us sound weak and uncertain. It diminishes our position as leaders and experts and exposes us to be steam rolled ourselves. In a place where both confidence and debate is encouraged, we should be able to make statements and our confidence should inspire rather than squelch others.

Q. How do you want to set an example for the next generation of women leaders in the world?
A. No one is infallible. Sometimes it seems our choices are to be perfect all the time or be a failure. This dichotomy inspires some to boast infallibility or perpetuate a “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude. This rewards the confident not the competent. The more we can accept that no one is perfect, the more we can expose the “fakers” and promote real leaders to affect real change. The best leaders use their own and other’s missteps as learning opportunities.