Chithra Marsh, associate director at Buttress Architects and one of Women in Property’s new Inclusion Champions, on her greatest challenge, the people who inspire her and her cultural recommendations.
How long have you been working in the industry?
I started my first job as a part 1 architectural assistant back in 1989, so that makes it 31 years. What a rollercoaster it has been!
What has been your greatest professional challenge?
Finding my place in the industry knowing that my skills will make a difference. I had a fantastic mentor who taught me that architecture is as much about personality and building solid relationships as it is about being a skilled designer.
What qualities do you most value in people?
Creativity, kindness and integrity. Treating people with respect opens up opportunities to collaborate and make a difference.
How do you define inclusion?
The opportunity for every voice to be heard and that no one is excluded. We may not necessarily agree on everything, but we can learn from different perspectives. This is the motivation behind Women in Property’s newly established Inclusion Champions, members from across our network who are working to improve equity, understanding and balance in the industry.
What single thing can we all do to improve inclusion?
Listen and learn. We can only walk in our own shoes, but if we are open to listening to other people’s stories we learn compassion and understanding.
What gives you cause for optimism?
There is a groundswell of people from all generations wanting change. Our children are already much more informed about the world and other cultures than we were at their age. It is our responsibility to leave a legacy that they can build on.
What or who inspires you?
My family and friends including my Buttress family, my fellow committee members at Women in Property and the other committees I am privileged to serve on. They are all unsung heroes that want to make a difference. I am inspired by them all every day.
What advice would you give someone entering the industry?
The core skills of your profession are not what define you – your passions are what make you different. Build relationships with your peers in different professions in the industry. My mantra has always been that there is no clear map to success; it is more of a meander to the finish line, picking up skills and experience along the way.