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Meet Jenny Delgado of CannonDesign

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenny Delgado.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Looking back, I’m proud that becoming an architect and the arc of my career truly was purposeful. I grew up in Merida, in the Mexican Yucatán, and I carry so much of that experience with me today. At that time, I spent a great deal of time at my godmother’s house and her two brothers were both architecture students. I would watch them push their drafting tables together to work side-by-side, the lamps, and the light on the sketch paper – that scene resonated with me and I just always saw myself becoming an architect.

Once I was old enough, I attended the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in architecture. From there, I took a job with a small, boutique design firm in Mexico and worked there a number of years before moving to the Los Angeles area and joining CannonDesign.

While I was working in Mexico, I had the chance to contribute to a few sports stadium projects and even an Olympic Village. I loved these projects more than any other, and so I began to focus my training and work around sports architecture. I won’t lie, when I joined CannonDesign I thought I’d advance my sports design experience for a couple years and then join a different firm that specialized in those projects. Once I met the team at CannonDesign and people like Brad Lukanic, Lynne Deninger, Colleen McKenna, Craig Hamilton to name a few – I was blown away by their passion and commitment. I gave up on my previous plan to “move on” as I realized I was exactly where I wanted to be.

Now, I’m an education and sports design leader for CannonDesign’s LA office. I’m able to contribute to sports and recreation projects for four-year schools and community colleges LA, California and across the country. I love my job and so many days – the good ones, the long ones, the creative ones – I think back to the days in my godmother’s house and realize I’m lucky to have built the career I wanted at this time.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Of course, there have been challenges, but I see my challenges as blessings. I had a daughter while I was in college training to be an architect. No matter how much you love your child, balancing the demands of architecture school with raising a baby is tough.

There were long, long days and nights where my daughter slept under my desk while I worked overnight in the studio. The experience brought many exhausting moments, but it also bonded the two of us in a special way – we were a team up for any challenge in her earliest days. It made me realize that if I can raise a child and succeed in architecture school at the same time, I can do anything in my career. That’s the beauty of challenges, they empower you for the future (mine gave me my incredible daughter, friend and teammate, too).

The other challenge I’ve taken on in my career is advocating for inclusive design. Many buildings aren’t designed to accommodate every type of person who may use them and help organizations design inclusive spaces is not always easy. But, it’s important, and I’ve worked hard to advocate for more inclusive design discussions throughout my career.

This means ensuring public space is accessible to people with physical disabilities, locker rooms accommodate all genders and so much more. Inclusivity is about age, race, gender, ability – everyone matters.

The best way to design for inclusivity is to listen. With every project I lead at CannonDesign, we advocate for a participatory approach that allows us to engage the community affected by the building. We need to hear their ideas, understand their realities and then translate all of that into built environment solution that works for everyone. It’s not easy, but it’s remarkably rewarding when successful.

Please tell us about CannonDesign.
CannonDesign is an integrated global design firm that unites a dynamic team of architects, engineers, industry experts, and builders to help clients leverage design to solve challenges and achieve successful futures. We’re consistently ranked one of the top 10 firms globally in healthcare, education, sports, science + technology, commercial and in 2017 Fast Company selected us as one of the 10 most innovative architecture firms in the world. We currently have 21 offices and 1,000 employees globally.

We have a long history in Los Angeles and California, having worked extensively with the University of California system, California State University system, Kaiser Permanente, UC San Diego Health, Santa Monica College, the Museum of Tolerance to name just a few. We’re equipped to help organizations leverage design to solve challenges via numerous service lines ranging from architecture, engineering, interiors, facility optimization, consulting services, equipment planning, lighting design and much more.

One of the really interesting aspects of CannonDesign is our Single-Firm-Multi-Office (SFMO) methodology that allows us to pull the best talent from around the world to help clients in the Los Angeles area. I take great pride in our ability to bring the best talent together to solve our clients’ challenges, big or small, as it’s a key step to us becoming their trusted advisors and them knowing they can count on us no matter the size of their challenge.”

We’re also in growth mode as we’ve executed multiple mergers, acquisitions and new partnerships over the past nine months. Just recently, gkkworks joined CannonDesign to help strengthen our integrated project delivery approach and we’ve added other firms to bolster our pediatric healthcare, education, hospitality and workplace expertise. It’s an exciting time to be at CannonDesign

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
My biggest regret is that I didn’t pursue my full architecture license right at the start of my career. I assumed I’d have time later on, but your career ramps up and there’s never enough time. I’m working on it now, but it’s tough to balance that with career and family responsibilities. I’d tell anyone to secure all of their credentials as early as possible in their career.

The other lesson I’ve learned is that what we do matters. The best part of being an architect is meeting people who have had their lives changed by buildings we’ve created.

Maybe it establishes a place where they can be healthier, meet new friends, learn new skills, etc. Meeting these people inspires me each day. I’m grateful to do something I love and again, I’d tell anyone beginning their career today to find something they love and that they truly believe makes a difference in the world. If you have that belief, there’s no stopping you.

Favorite Quote:
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Laura Peters

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  1. Trisha Clark

    July 17, 2018 at 21:56

    So inspiring – what a great story!

  2. Kirk von Spaeth, AIA

    July 20, 2018 at 20:16

    No surprise there! I was fortunate enough to be working at Cannon Design in Los Angeles when Jenny joined the practice. Everyone she encountered – clients, colleagues, consultants – all knew from the beginning that her career was on a magnificent trajectory. Congratulations on your career so far Jenny, I’ll continue to watch as you soar.

  3. Mario leon

    July 27, 2018 at 12:08

    It’ a Great story of a great woman, a great person and a great Architect.

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