The senior data strategist at ZGF Architects LLP in Seattle talks about her love of research, design, data analytics ball and ballroom dancing.
You have a background in design, research, and data analytics. How does this help you in your work?
My research and data analytics background brings an objective lens to the design process, which helps tackle cognitive biases. So it’s not about what we think is best; it’s about what the data tells us.
What do you like most about working in healthcare design?
The healthcare industry values continuous improvement. Our clients understand the importance of setting goals and tracking performance, so they’ve been great partners in terms of collecting data and benchmarking.
What work challenges keep you up at night?
Knowledge management. We generate great, valuable data through the design process, and then so much of it is saved in folders that eventually get archived or forgotten. How do we improve our processes to make design knowledge more accessible, usable, and engaging?
Industry pet peeve?
When people think of well-being only as reducing negative impacts from occupant comfort-related environmental factors, such as noise or temperature variability, instead of focusing on the positive impact design can have. How do we create spaces that really allow people to thrive?
Three recent healthcare projects and your role
1 Post occupancy evaluation for The Vancouver Clinic, Ridgefield Clinic, Richfield, Wash., Date strategist
2 10-year campus master plan for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center / Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Alliance, Seattle, data strategist
3 ZGF healthcare benchmarking tool that will aggregate data from all our past healthcare projects, allowing us to compare and contrast, inform programming and design decisions for future projects, and understand current trends, project chair
An unexpected item on your desk
A Catrina, one of my favorite mementos from Mexico that we use to celebrate the Day of the Dead. She’s fun and quirky and reminds me of home in Mexico.
Outside the office, we’ll likely find you…
Ballroom dancing! I started lessons in August 2021, and I’m training to compete at showcases — everything from waltz to foxtrot, tango, swing, cha-cha, bachata, salsa, and rumba.
What’s a new hobby you’ve picked up during the pandemic?
“Sunday virtual cooking” with my family in Mexico. We take turns choosing a recipe and prepare a meal together on Zoom. Last Sunday we made Rosca de Reyes, a special Mexican sweet bread used to celebrate the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus Christ, and the end of the Christmas festivities.
Dog or cat?
Dog. My last dog was a dachshund, Anouk.
Coffee or tea?
Both. I love the rituals that people create around preparing coffee and tea. I’m always looking to learn more about them and the different varieties.
Morning person or night owl?
I call myself a “night owl in recovery.” In grad school, I learned that all my brilliant work happens between midnight and 2 am But now I’m actively working to improve my sleep habits!
Fiction or nonfiction?
Fiction. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy — easy, fun, and you do not have to think.
First album you ever bought
Spice Girls, when I was 12. Posh Spice was my favorite. It was very exciting to learn that we share the same birthday.
Cocktail of choice
An old fashioned or a margarita with mezcal. I love the art of making cocktails, so I got a bartending certificate in grad school.
Your hidden talent
I’m learning to play the ukulele. I also speak Italian. (I have not been to Italy yet, but I’m obsessed. It’s such a beautiful language.)
You have an irrational fear of…
Taxidermy. It freaks me out. Do not even get me started on natural history museums.
Quote “If you can not explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
Show to binge watch “How I Met Your Mother.”
Weekend activity Going to museums. It’s fun to see how they use data visualization to make information interesting and engaging.
Band / musical artist Adele.
Color Deep purple.
Guilty pleasure Holiday movies. They restore my faith in humanity.
Book My house is full of books, but “Memoirs of a Geisha” is a memorable one.
City to visit Vienna. I visited for two weeks as my gift for my 15th birthday quinceañera celebration and it was such an unforgettable trip. There’s history everywhere you look but it’s also a modern, beautiful city.