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Gensler Voices: Dena Wangberg on Her Start in Architecture and Design

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 Dena Wangberg, a designer in our Raleigh office:

How were you first introduced to architecture and design? 

As a child I loved Richard Scarry's books and illustrations, and in the third grade I designed a house for my class's pet hamster in his classic section-elevation style. I’m not sure I knew what architecture was at the time, but my mom believes it set me on the career path!

Did you have a mentor growing up or at any point during your career? If so, how did that relationship impact your growth as a person or in the industry at large?

My first job after graduate school was at Brininstool + Lynch, where I worked directly with one of the principals, Brad Lynch. Brad taught me to pay close attention to the details, especially during construction, and he introduced me to the value of marketing and communication. Brad passed away last year, leaving a legacy of his own and through those he inspired along the way. 

How do diverse backgrounds and experiences make Gensler a better design firm?

Exposure to those whose lived experiences vary from my own challenges me to think differently about my work and about design. It expands my ability to listen and learn, and in turn makes all of us better advisors to our clients and partners. 

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

Pay attention to the conversations and projects happening around you in the office. We learn so much from sharing work and collaborating on solutions, and from hearing our colleagues present ideas, coordinate with consultants, and communicate with contractors. 

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