A woman in a dress.

Chesley McCarty

"I love exploring how research and storytelling can be used as a tool for creating immersive, experiential design stories."

Washington, D.C.

Tulane University, School of Architecture, Bachelor and Master of Architecture

Chesley’s architectural education led her to a passion for all things food & beverage, hospitality, and retail, as well as a fascination with visual communications. She loves exploring how research and storytelling can be used as a tool for creating immersive, experiential design stories, and can’t survive without having fried chicken once a week.

Briefly describe some highlights of your first year at Gensler and in the DSD Program.
During my first year of the program, I shaped my understanding of the consulting and design landscape at Gensler into one that is providing a solid direction for my second year of the program. I connected with many great leaders throughout the office and the firm, presented my thesis project to the entire D.C. office, and joined a research project on Futurecasting that led to developing a service offering with the Gensler Research Institute.

What has been one of the most valuable lessons learned during your first year?
I recently started working on a few “Lifestyle Strategy” projects, which rely on research, analytics, brand, graphics, and architecture to tell a story for clients that want to incorporate programs across sectors, such as mixed-use developments that include creative office, retail, and residential. The work has felt like a perfect fit for someone that thrives in a fast-paced, innovative, strategic environment that is both technical and creative.

Briefly describe your current day to day.
I split my time currently between workplace consulting, where I help with change management efforts, and lifestyle consulting, where I do research on the context of projects and determine which brands might be a good fit for the development. Both require me to build compelling visual documents and narratives that speak to the end user and elicit an emotional response.

What advice would you give someone applying to the DSD Program?
Your dossier should show a variety of work, as well as reveal your passions and interests and allude to what keeps your heart up at night. I would also recommend reflecting on what industries, long term, you have an interest in developing a network within, and using that to select the host city that would be the best fit for your career goals.

Describe the Washington DC office in 3 words or less?
Close to Chick-Fil-A!