I don't know why this surprises me, but I am constantly amazed at the small world phenomenon when my personal and professional interests intersect in unanticipated ways. I'd like to think that I'm strategic about my actions in life, but I'm learning the reality is that when you follow your heart and act according to your values, many more possibilities open up. I write this after a week of being at the National Cohousing Conference in Boulder, CO. For almost 20 years, I've been interested in cohousing and over the past 6 years my "interest" has elevated to a "passion" level - to the point of serving on the national board of the Cohousing Association of the US (CohoUS). And for the past decade since moving back to Seattle, I've followed my passion for affordable housing to create area of focus in that arena for my architectural practice. So it was fabulous to be at the Cohousing Conference presenting a session on the preliminary work of the Affordable Cohousing Task Group that I've been chairing for CohoUS. From the attendance and questions raised, there is clearly a need for work in this arena. I'm excited and hopeful for the work of the Task Group over the next year - which will focus on poltical advocacy related to cohousing and affordable housing at both the local and federal level.
At home, my volunteerism at my church's homeless shelter (Blaine Center at First United Methodist Church) has led to a positive working relationship with the staff of the Compass Housing Alliance (fomerly Compass Center) -who are our partners in operating the shelter. Over the past year of working together to get the shelter moved back into our new building (at 1st & Denny) and developing our shared ministry, I kept running into our Compass partners at affordable housing events around town. This resulted in a coffee date with Rick Friedhoff (the ED for Compass) last week - hopefully the first of many as we continue our conversation about future collaborations.
As a business owner, it's easy to let work consume my time. But as a mother and wife wanting to spend time with my familiy, I appreciate the synergy of having my personal and professional worlds collide so that I can make the most of the time/energy I have to spend. I suppose that's the beauty of having an architectural practice that is mission based, where the values of our work closely match my personal values for social justice, sustainability and community.