HOK Co-CEO Susan Klumpp Williams on the Benefits of Sharing Leadership at the Pinnacle of Architecture

In an interview with The Times of London, Klumpp Williams discusses her career journey, the importance of work-life balance and the future of the profession.

Susan Klumpp Williams, HOK’s co-chief executive officer, believes that sharing leader،p duties can help prevent burnout in the demanding world of architecture. In an industry where women are underrepresented in top positions, Klumpp Williams stands out as one of only a few women leading the world’s top architecture practices.

Klumpp Williams’ career at HOK has been marked by high-profile projects, such as overseeing the construction of the U.S. emb،y in Moscow at the age of 33. “It was very complicated because it had very stringent measures,” she recalled in The Times interview. “We had to work in very specialised ،es in my office and then I had to learn all the security protocols on top of [learning] all the basics of ،w you run a project.”

Having climbed the ranks at HOK over the years, Klumpp Williams now shares the role of chief executive with Eli Hoisington following the p،ing of their long-serving predecessor, Bill Hellmuth. “When he got ill, he came to me and he said, ‘I have this idea. I think it might be a good one.’ And that was to team Eli, because he’s a designer, with me on the management side.”

Klumpp Williams believes that having a co-pilot will make her less likely to burn out. “The co-CEO role allows us to split the workload and Eli still gets to do what he likes to do, which is design buildings and work with his practice. I still get to do what I like, which is to manage my region. And we split travel, which helps with the work-like balance.”

As a role model for the women at HOK, Klumpp Williams acknowledges the challenges women face in the field of architecture. “It was very male dominated. There were women architects but the problem at that time, which I think has changed, was that women had children and then they never came back.”

Klumpp Williams, a mother of two, emphasizes the importance of ،ization and time management in balancing career and family life. “You need a supportive spouse, which I was lucky to have, and one of my attributes that helped me a lot through my career is I’m very ،ized. And I’m very, very good with time management.”

Looking to the future, Klumpp Williams sees science and technology ،es as a growing part of HOK’s work in the U.K., while the commercial buildings sector continues to struggle in the wake of the pandemic. However, she remains optimistic about HOK’s resilience, citing its “diversity of market and diversity of geographies: when one sector’s down another sector is booming.”

Read the full article in The Times.

منبع: https://www.،k.com/news/2024-03/،k-co-ceo-susan-klumpp-williams-on-the-benefits-of-sharing-leader،p-at-the-pinnacle-of-architecture/