We had the good fortune of connecting with Elena Manferdini and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elena, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I am not a risk taker. I like to be prepared. I like to know how I am going to do things and what the end result should look like. Most importantly, I want to fully understand what could go wrong.

Being in leadership position involves making decisions that have repercussions on a larger community of people. And for this precise reason the idea that a good leader is a risk taker is a lie. A good leader is one that is prepared to make changes because they have done the homework. A leader’s first mental activity should be answering two important questions: how have others done it and failed? And how have others done it and succeeded? Looking at the action of a leader from the outside, one could label them as a generic risk aptitude, but for the people directly involved in the endeavor, risk is, in fact, a calculated opportunity and not an act of faith in blind luck. Taking a risk comes from the confidence of experience, margins, strategy, and communication. Success takes work, commitment, and stamina. It takes also, and most importantly, a team of people that believe in a mission. Rather than honing in on a potential leader’s risk aptitude, organizations should shift their focus to their diversity and inclusion practices, as architecture is never an individual journey.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am the principal and owner of Atelier Manferdini, and I have twenty years of professional experience in architecture, art, design, and education. I currently teach at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and am the Graduate Programs Chair. In 2019 I was honored with the ICON Award as part of the LA Design Festival, which is a prize that recognizes iconic women who have made an indelible mark on Los Angeles, culture, and society in general through their work, character, and creative leadership. With a body of work that spans art, architecture, exhibitions, and industrial design, my eponymous atelier has created work on over three continents. I refuse to be defined by mere métier and continue fearlessly to adventure further on my creative path while pushing the boundaries of multiple design disciplines. I love art, creativity, inventions and deeply believe in the positive power of education and creative collaboration.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
hernan diaz alonso hernan@sciarc.edu

Website: www.ateliermanferdini.com

Instagram: @atelier_manferdini

Facebook: Elena Manferdini

Image Credits
Image 1: Botanical for Erik Lidnstrom, Photograph by Brad Mitchell Cohen Image 2: Building Portraits for UFR, Photograph courtesy of Urban Fabric Rugs Image 3: Flora for Astroath. Photograph courtesy of Astroath Image 4: Photograph courtesy of Signs Gallery Image 5: Rendering courtesy of Atelier Manferdini Image 6: Rendering courtesy of Atelier Manferdini Image 7: Photograph courtesy of Atelier Manferdini Image 8: Photograph courtesy of Atelier Manferdini

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