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 Haruka Yokokawa, Gensler Tokyo:
Most career journeys aren’t linear. What has yours looked like?
My education background is in linguistics because I wanted a job that would allow me to express my ideas through writing and the written word. I believe I made my wish come true by having my first job in the publishing sector. After five years, I decided to move to event planning and coordination because I wanted to connect and collaborate with people. I gained a great deal of experience in digital production and project management in these non-linear career paths, so today, my experience has led me to have the opportunity to work at Gensler.
What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
I never thought I could join Gensler and now I am so proud to be with Gensler. I don’t have a design background, but my skills in digital production allowed me to work in the Digital Experience Design practice area. I found a strong interest in managing workplace design projects, and I believe the power of space design has made a great impact on the people in the space. I am happy that I can leverage my skills to support the team to create the space to improve the end-user experience.
What’s life at Gensler like?
As a design manager in the Digital Experience Design practice area in our Tokyo office, I am not only working in this area, but also I appreciate the opportunity within the firm that allows me to expand my expertise into other practice areas, like workplace strategy and planning.
How do diverse backgrounds and experiences make Gensler a better design firm?
In the Tokyo office, my colleagues and leaders are from different backgrounds and have unique experiences. It is an invisible asset that allows us to learn new perspectives every day. I believe the diverse culture at Gensler has a positive impact on our career growth and adds the value for our design and our clients.
How has your work mindset shifted as you’ve advanced in your career?
After joining Gensler and being involved in designing spaces for people, I learned the importance of having a mission. The mission at Gensler is to create value and bring actual benefits for people. I always remember the moment when I saw how happy the end-user was from their face and heard the positive comments from the clients at a space that we designed.
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