357: Leadership in Trying Times with SOM

Carrie Byles, Xuan Fu, and Laura Ettelman compose the executive committee of Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill, one of the world’s most highly respected and successful architecture firms, otherwise known as SOM.

SOM has completed some of the world’s most legendary buildings, in addition to a plethora of work that spans everything from airports to university campuses.

Notable buildings include the Willis Tower of Chicago (I prefer to use its former name “Sears Tower” for personal reasons) and the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building.

Now before we jump into our interview today, here is a bit of background on today’s guests:

In addition to serving on the Executive Committee, Laura Ettelman is the managing partner in SOM’s New York Office and oversees the design and planning of a diverse range of projects across the globe. Her work ranges from large-scale master plans to interior design. Among the projects in her portfolio are some of the world’s largest aviation and transportation hubs, new hospitals and research centers for healthcare and science, and campus master planning and design for both higher education and the civic and government sectors.

Partner Carrie Byles is based in SOM’s San Francisco office. She has a strong background in information technology and how it shapes the way we live in and design our buildings.

Xuan Fu is a managing partner with SOM’s Chicago office. In 1994, Fu started her SOM career as a technical coordinator before assuming the position of a project manager in 2004. As an expert in the Asian market, she has worked on a range of international projects including master plans, commercial buildings, mixed-use developments, retail, hospitality, and convention and exhibition center projects.

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