#57 Designing an Organization with Kate Thatcher, CEO of A+I, Architecture Plus Information

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Kate Thatcher is the Chief Executive Officer of Architecture + Information (A+I), a strategy-led architecture and experience design agency based in New York.

As CEO, Thatcher drives the acceleration of innovation, collaboration between teams and subject areas, and further development of culture and inclusion initiatives within A+I.

Kate first began her career at A+I in 2004, returning again in 2011 upon completion of her Masters in Architecture degree from Yale University. At A+I, Kate has led design teams creating spaces for world-class companies like Equinox, Chanel, and Horizon Media. She became a principal at A+I in 2018 and was named the agency’s first CEO in 2020. Her innovative project experience and unique perspective having worked up the ranks of the organization inform her leadership style.

A tireless advocate for equity within the architecture and design professions, Kate is responsible for the launch, in 2020, of the firm's +IMPACT initiative, a platform for A+I’s employees to leverage their talents and expertise on opportunities at the intersection of design and social impact.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How Kate became the first ever CEO of A+I, what she did to prepare for the role, and her advice for younger professionals on how to develop their leadership skills
  • Challenging the status quo narrative of the lone starchitect
  • Nonlinear career paths, and not regretting the forks in the road
  • Why it can be difficult to leave things behind as you advance in your career, but not being afraid of the new opportunities it may bring
  • How her role as CEO is like a design exercise
  • What a strategy-led integrated design agency is, and how A+I is different from traditional architecture firms
  • The alignment of an institution’s vision, the space they occupy, and the people that inhabit that space
  • What a strategist does, and how they are equal parts data scientist and spatial storyteller
  • Kate’s experience as a parent during the pandemic, and her hope for what the future post-pandemic work-life might be like

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