Francia Flores, Gensler Chicago
A person with glasses.

Gensler Voices: Francia Flores on Women and Mentorship

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 Francia Flores, a designer in our Chicago office:

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 biggest mentors in life have been my grandmother, who raised me, and other women in my family. I was raised to believe that I could attain any goal I had set for myself and that no dream was too big. I truly owe my resilience and strength to the women who helped shape me who I have become. I come from a very conservative country, yet I have become an avid feminist who believes that women can and will do anything they want in life. I stand on the shoulders of every woman who has mentored and nurtured me.

What unique perspective and experience do you bring to Gensler?

I am a Honduran-born and American-raised designer. I lived in Honduras the first 13 years of my life and that has given me so much humility for how a lot of the rest of the world lives. To be a designer is truly a privilege and I hope that I bring kindness and empathy in every human experience I am part of creating. Design has immense power to change the way humans thrive in this world.

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

It echoes the reality of how the world truly looks. By allowing diversity to thrive in the firm, it broadens our lens and our creative experience. It allows us to evolve our designs to a higher level.

What is your favorite Gensler project and why?

My favorite Gensler project is the Discover Financial Services + Shine Bright Community Center in Chatham, Chicago. I loved that I was a part of making a big difference in an under-served community while also doing what I’m passionate about, design. To help give an abandoned big box store a new life while helping create 1,000 new jobs was one of the best experiences of my career so far. I got to not only revive this old building but help create multi-generational change in a community that needed investment.

What’s the career advice you live by?

Never lose curiosity and keep on learning.

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