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Gensler Voices: Abbey Rampy on Following Her Gut

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with Gensler architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that design and architecture can have on our communities and the human experience. Here, we sit down with Abbey Rampy, a designerin our Charlotte office:

How were you first introduced to architecture and design?

I have ‘Toy Story’ to thank for introducing me to the world of design, or at least providing me with a new design perspective. Toy Story Mania, a Disney World attraction, had just opened at Hollywood Studios. My family and I were on one of our mouse-inspired vacations and were thrilled about a new ride. I will never forget entering the ride queue and transforming into a ‘toy’. For those who are unfamiliar with the attraction, you step inside Andy’s room and are visually shrunk to the size of a toy; making your way through a chest full of toys and classic games until you reach the ride itself. I found it incredibly clever and was instantly curious about pursuing a role/profession around the human experience.

If you could impart any piece of advice to individuals beginning their design career, what would it be?

Careers aren’t linear and design wears a lot of different hats. Don’t pigeonhole/limit yourself to a singular track; as you grow personally and professionally allow your interests to evolve and your career along with them. When I began design school, I had no idea ‘Strategy’ existed. In my gut, I knew practicing interior design wasn’t sustainable for me in the long run, but with the help of those around me, I found my perfect fit; a new design hat. Don’t forget to lean in and be curious.

Why are local communities so important to Gensler’s work?

Local communities are the fabric of our work; they shape, challenge, and connect all of us. These communities drive our innovation and curiosity and as a result, not only is our work stronger, but we are stronger as professionals. It’s important to be integrated into our communities to best represent the collective voice, but also be ‘boots on the ground’ advocates for moving us forward.

What is a daily habit of yours that you swear by?

Practice kindness and always be up for learning something new. One of my favorite sayings is ‘Comfort is a slow death’; some of the best opportunities have come from outside of my comfort zone. Acknowledge the discomfort, assemble your toolkit, and get to work. You will learn more about yourself and the challenge at hand by diving in head first; that is where you truly grow.

What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Following my gut and taking risks. Nothing is permanent, so leap and see where you land. I have had a lot of amazing opportunities throughout my life, but some may say a handful of them were ‘risky’. Whether it’s working for Disney, traveling cross country for three months to educate others about the global water crisis, or moving to North Carolina; they have all impacted who I am personally and professionally. Every experience shapes us and our careers and that’s something I am glad to have learned.

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