Finding the Opportunities with Deborah M. Deck

Deborah Deck

Podcast Deborah 1 Finding the Opportunities with Deborah M. Deck Podcast

Deborah doesn’t think that she necessarily had one moment when she realized that she wanted to be an architect. In fact, she thinks that it’s her mom’s influence that’s responsible for her career. Deborah herself originally wanted to become a lawyer.

Deborah worked toward her goal of being a lawyer, too. She started college early, got her bachelor’s degree, and started law school. Then she moved from Puerto Rico, where she was born and raised, to Virginia with her husband. When she tried to apply to the law school there, they told her that she needed higher test scores. Rather than immediately retaking the test, she decided to apply for the architecture school in the area, knowing that her mother had always wanted her to become an architect. She figured that if she didn’t get in, she could always retake the tests for law school then. She got in. 

In today’s episode, Deborah talks about her architecture school experience. She attended an HBCU and remembers that when she started, there were 54 students in the architecture class, but by the time they graduated, the class was down to 14. She was also part of the university’s first master’s program for architecture. 

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What inspired Deborah to pursue a career in architecture
  • Where Deborah went to architecture school
  • What happened after architecture school
  • Deborah’s work history
  • Deborah’s project manager job and how she got there
  • Deborah’s licensing journey
  • How Deborah ended up signing up for boot camp
  • The highlights of Deborah’s job
  • Whether studying for the architecture exam helps Deborah with her job
  • What Deborah thought when she first joined the Young Architect Conference
  • What Deborah plans on talking about on the diversity panel at the next Young Architect Conference
  • Whether Deborah’s legal background has come back in her career
  • Deborah’s advice for aspiring architects
  • What Deborah knows now that she didn’t know then
  • The book that changed everything for Deborah
  • Deborah’s favorite resource, product, or gadget
  • Deborah’s best timesaving trick
  • How listeners can find Deborah

Top Three Takeaways from This Episode:

  1. An architect stays with the project from the idea to the final buildup.
  2. Don’t fear making changes or working with changes that come.
  3. Whatever you’re doing, do your best to be the best at it.

Deborah’s Advice for Aspiring Architects:

“My advice would be not to fear the changes. Because even when you’re at work, you need to look for opportunities, so if they told you ok, all you’re going to do is sit down here and look over the specs and be sure that they match, be the best person doing the specs. If they tell you go ahead and do bathroom details, be the best one at doing bathroom details. And don’t be afraid to ask if you have questions. That’s something I found really hard. I don’t like to ask questions. I like to do everything and just do it, but I realize putting myself in the spot benefits me.”

Favorite Quotes:

“Like I mentioned before – what an architect does.” – What Deborah knows now that she didn’t know then.

“She asked me to get A Manual of Construction Documentation, it is by Glen Wiggins, he is an architect.” –The book that changed everything for Deborah 

“I love reading, so my Kindle. I can’t go anywhere without my Kindle.” –Deborah on her favorite resource, product, or gadget

“Bundling tasks.” –Deborah on her best time-saving trick

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

Deborah Deck

Deborah on Twitter

Deborah on Instagram


Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

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