In honor of women’s history month, Waldner’s is celebrating the strong female leaders in our industry who are changing the state of the corporate pipeline for female representation in the workplace.

This post’s spotlight is on Jessica Mann-Amato, IIDA, LEED AP, Principal at Mancini Duffy,  a full-service design firm specializing in architecture, planning, and interior design.

What is the proudest moment in your career journey?

When I became the 2009 IIDA NY Chapter President. We were in the middle of a recession, but we pulled together as a community and as a chapter we held 52 events that year successfully helping to keep our community connected during a very tumultuous time in our industry.

Your biggest accomplishment in our industry?

When I became a shareholder at Mancini in January of 2021. Becoming part owner of a NY based Architecture and Design company is a goal that I have worked diligently towards for the last half of my career. As an Interior Designer and a woman in our historically male dominated architecture and design industry, where it’s challenging for an interior designer to own shares in an architecture firm in NY State; this goal felt un-attainable at times. Finding the right partners is a difficult journey also. When I joined Mancini Duffy, I knew that I had found partners that shared the same work ethic, company values, and career goals that I had built my career upon. I was honest from the beginning about my goal to become a shareholder. And when that goal became a reality, I not only fulfilled a dream, but also cemented my drive to continue building up and mentoring young professional women to help them realize they can achieve their career goals also.

What advice would you give to women in the workplace? 

There are so many things I would tell them based on what I have learned in my 21-year career so far. But I think the most important are below.

  • Find your voice! I had to find my voice from a very young age in my career, because I was in the room with a lot of heavy hitters when I was organizing events for IIDA; it was intimidating at first. I quickly realized that the best results come from true collaboration and sometimes the smallest idea. Use your voice, claim your seat at the table and build upon collaborations to lift each other up.
  • Honesty is always the right choice.  If you lead with honestly 99.9% of the time you will come out on top. Speak with integrity about what you know, and if you don’t know something, be honest about not knowing, then go research and learn it.  Be honest about making mistakes, we all make them. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes, and you do the right thing to fix the situation. People will respect you for your honestly, value your integrity, and want to do business with you.
  • Create your tribe. I have a group of friends, colleagues, mentors, and trusted business associates that I have built up over many years in this industry. There are so many different sectors and niches to the business of architecture and design. I learned early in my career that we all depend on each other to support this industry we work in, no one stands alone. Open your networking efforts to all circles and facets of our industry and you will slowly build an amazing tribe. The best projects are the result of a diverse and dynamic team of people. And you will make friends for life.