2021 Outlook: Fostering a Resilient, People-Focused Practice

Since our founding in 1983, KSS has grown from a local Princeton firm of three architects to an established design community of nearly 80 professionals, with three offices and projects across the country. Over the years, this growth has been fueled by numerous individuals, from partners to young professionals, who have collectively guided, shaped, and elevated KSS to the firm we are today. In this continuum of architecture, each individual is an active participant in building our practice.

We believe that every individual has the ability to lead, that there is room for all employees to develop skillsets, characteristics, and areas of expertise that empower them as leaders. This approach creates a structure of leadership in which diverse expertise is distributed throughout the organization making knowledge more accessible, increasing employee agency, and improving our overall capacity to manage change. The result is a stronger, more resilient continuum of architecture.

Over the past three decades, KSS has implemented this approach through strategic promotions across the firm. In 2020, several members of the firm were promoted to associate, senior associate, and principal and recognized for their ability to lead, each in their own way. Mayva Donnon, AIA was made partner after 15 years of exceptional leadership and contributions to the firm, to our work, and to our clients. These promotions reinforced the firm’s foundation of leadership, and helped make possible a smooth transition with the retirement of Partner Pamela Lucas Rew, FAIA. Over her 30 years at KSS, Pam took an active role in recruiting and strove to hire people with the “talent, values, passion, and compassion to make the most of architecture.” Her efforts have contributed to the creation of a community of diverse voices, all of whom advance KSS’ mission to create meaningful and lasting change through the built environment.

As we move into 2021, we prepare for inevitable change by continuing to empower the individuals who will sustain and strengthen our continuum of architecture and contribute to the innovative efforts of a community that embraces creativity in all we do. To celebrate the people who make our firm great, we will be interviewing several KSSers on the topic of leadership—what it means to them, how they apply it on a daily basis, what has informed their outlook, and more—and look forward to sharing their perspectives with you in the year ahead.