Adam Denais found his way to architecture school via a drafting class in high school. He had a natural talent for drafting and really enjoyed it, and his drafting teacher was the first to suggest that he go to architecture school. Adam quickly learned that architecture school was nothing like drafting, but ended up becoming even more passionate about architecture then he could have ever imagined. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Adam knew that his opportunities in his own small town were limited, and he knew that he wanted to get out and move to a big city. Since he didn’t have the contacts that he knew he would need, he set out to create his own network by entering competitions. One of those competitions led him to Dallas, Texas, where he made connections, met his mentor, and also met his wife, Monica.
Monica had also grown up in a small town and was looking to make the most of whatever opportunities where available to her. She knew that she wanted to help people with disabilities, and when she was going for her master’s degree, she focused on helping people with disabilities get back to work.
Together, Adam, Monica, and software engineer Prince Donkor are creating Architable, an app where aspiring architects share their interview experiences, access their worth, and learn how other architects approach interviewing. Their intention is to use this platform to better inform the next generation of architects by sharing the knowledge of architects before them. Architable will still be in the works for a few more weeks, but you can contribute your own anonymous interview story today, directly from their website.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- How Adam got started in architecture
- The competitions that Adam entered
- How Monica and Adam met
- Where Monica grew up and how she got into her field
- How Monica and Adam came up with the app that they’re working on
- How the app works
- Why Adam and Monica are posting salary information on social media
- What Monica and Adam will be talking about at the Young Architect Conference
- Monica’s podcast, Café with Monica
- Reaching people through social media
- What’s going on with AIA in Dallas
- Monica and Adam’s advice for licensing exams
- Monica and Adam’s advice for aspiring architects
- The books that changed everything for Monica and Adam
- Adam’s and Monica’s favorite resource
- How listeners can find Monica and Adam
Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode
1. If you don’t have the professional network you need, you can create your own.
2. You need to know your own worth.
3. Putting yourself first and managing your stress and mental health is important.
Adam’s and Monica’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“My advice would be that it’s never too early to start building relationships with people, because you never know who is going to bring you opportunity down the road. It’s never too early. Play the long game. And that means being OK with having to deal with, like, rejection, or shame, or maybe you don’t know what you’re talking about yet. But putting yourself out there and saying “hey, this is who I am, I have a dream of becoming an awesome architect,” and then fostering that relationship so that whenever you need something you have people you can go to who want to help you succeed because you’ve built that relationship with them.” –Adam Denais
“My advice is, coming from a counselor, to take care of yourself and put yourself first, through all of this in your career is to make sure that you’re mentally ready for anything that you set yourself out for and that you’re seeking assistance if you do need, because all of this can be very stressful, just getting to the next step in your career, even taking the test, it can be very stressful, you just need to take care of yourself. I feel like a lot of people don’t take care of themselves, because in studio you guys were told “spend so many hours on this, and no matter what get this done, you have a deadline.” And even in your current career, so I just really want people to make sure that they’re taking care of themselves and their mental health.” –Monica Denais
“At some point, someone believed in me, and then I felt worthy that I could believe in myself.” –Adam on what he knows today that he didn’t know back then
“Screw the plan, just do it.” –Monica on what she knows today that she didn’t know back then
“It taught me a lot about compassion and justice and a reason why I wanted to be a counselor.” –Monica on To Kill a Mockingbird, the book that changed everything
“My big takeaway from that book is that everything that has happened, has happened due to a bunch of really complex reasons.”–Adam on Guns, Germs, and Steel, the book that changed everything
“I told him, “I’m your best resource.””–Monica on the resource that Adam can’t live without
Resources Mentioned in the Show