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Celebrating the women leading the way for Unispace

We love International Women’s Day. Every year we take this opportunity to celebrate the women whose talent, vision and hard work inspire our clients, drive our growth, and help us lead the way in the world of workplace.

This year we wanted to bring women from across the business together and hear their stories. We (virtually) sat down with four inspirational Unispace women to talk professional and personal success, female role models, and what advice they might give their younger selves. Meet Shauna, Lena, Emily and Michele.

ShaunaShauna Fitzpatrick, Design Associate, EMEA

What were you doing before you came to Unispace?

I finished my architecture degree, spent a few years getting professional experience, then went back to school for an Interior Architecture MA. After that, I earned my stripes in architecture and interior design studios in Australia and Ireland, before joining Unispace six years ago.

What do you think makes you great for your current role?

I have a real passion for creating spaces where people do their best work. Spaces that function well for the people that use them – spaces that look good and feel good to be in, and spaces that really work.

I also have a huge range of project experience across sectors, scales and locations, and I’m definitely a people person – I think all of that helps with working collaboratively and building genuine relationships with clients.

Is there a project or achievement you’re proudest of in your career?

What woman has been your biggest inspiration or influence?

One of the partners at the first design practice I worked in – Eileen Powell – recognised my passion for interiors and took me under her wing. She inspired me so much that I altered my career path towards interior design.

In the last couple of years Pat Kane, a well-known sustainability advocate in Ireland, has inspired me to bring sustainability to the forefront of my projects.

What does success look like for you?

Enjoying what you do while creating a positive impact on people and the planet. I strive for this in my design projects – creating happier, healthier and more productive workplaces – and in my daily interactions with colleagues and clients.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be aware of what impact your designs have on the environment and its inhabitants. I wish I had known more about sustainability and wellness-focused design earlier in my career.

Lena-MullerLena Mueller – Business Improvement Manager

Hi Lena, what were you doing before you came to Unispace?

Globetrotting. I spent some time in Singapore focussing on innovation and efficiency as Business Improvement Project Manager at Linklaters, time in Stuttgart as Project Manager for Daimler Financial Services, and time in Cape Town with MasterCard and Lufthansa.

What do you think makes you great for your current role?

I’m a great multi-tasker, former colleagues called me ‘the octopus’! I’ve always been good at overseeing multiple projects and tasks, which is good – as a working mum of a two- and a five-year-old, juggling is an essential skill.

I think that ability comes from a natural drive and enthusiasm, and a love of building genuine relationships with people from anywhere in the world and all walks of life.

What are you proudest of in your career?

What woman has been your biggest inspiration or influence?

My mum. She’s a teacher and was always juggling a full-time job, but she’s always been the most optimistic and positive person I know. She has such a big heart, is so generous and always sees the good in people.

What does success look like for you?

Being fulfilled and feeling happy in what you do, making a positive impact on other people’s lives, building great relationships and being trusted as someone who consistently delivers.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Listen more, and remember quality over quantity.

Emiy-WatkinsEmily Watkins - Head of Enterprise & Channel Partnerships, North America

What were you doing before you came to Unispace, Emily?

I was with JLL leading the development of their coworking and serviced offices offer, from strategy through to design, build and operation.

Before that I held various roles in the sector, including leading CRE for Charlotte Russe Inc., creating an Innovation & Product Development program for JLL, and working across real estate, construction and design for Gap.

What makes you a great fit for your current role? 

What is a project or achievement you are most proud of in your career?

I love developing teams – seeing people grow in their careers makes me incredibly proud. If I had to pick a specific project, I would say developing a new brand – finding the real estate, designing and opening three ground-up outdoor retail locations in the Northeast US. In the winter. In under seven months… and that was my first ever experience with design/build.

I’m also passionate about women in the sector, so I’m very proud to have led the inaugural JLL Women’s network, the firm’s first Employee Resource Group.

What woman has been your biggest inspiration or influence?

My mother, no contest. She played Liesl in The Sound of Music, which touched so many people around the globe. She also started an interior design firm and won awards for furniture design. She always taught me that I could do whatever I wanted, even though she grew up in an era when that wasn’t always easy for women.

The world is your oyster, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to still be creating a very digitally driven physical environment.

What does success look like for you?

Good question. I think when we can finish a project and see end users really excited about their space, that is success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Take a deep breath and be sure to smell the roses along the way. The people you influence, and those that influence you, are really what matter.

Michele-Mercado-1Michele Mercado, Interior Designer 

What makes you a great fit for your current role?

My role at Unispace has really developed with me. It’s unique within the design team, and allows me to constantly develop and use new skills – like using video editing to create 2d/3d visuals and animation. I’m always up for a challenge, and the team constantly supports me to try new things.

What woman has been your biggest inspiration or influence?

It’s impossible to pick from my family and friends. They’re my biggest driving force. Being surrounded by such diverse and interesting people is so inspiring, they constantly motivate me to do and to be more.

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Last year I was recognised as one of Mix Interiors 30 under 30, which recognises rising stars in the interior design and architecture industry. This was an amazing achievement as I started my interior design career with no formal training. It’s been my drive and passion for technology, paired with inspiring leaders that have helped me to develop to where I am.

Let’s talk living the dream – where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I see myself still doing something creative. And I’d like to have had some motivational influence on other young women from a similar background to me.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t wait too long for something to happen – take the initiative and make it happen.

We’re one global team of 600+ talented, positively charged workplace professionals who constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible for our clients.

We’ve created a diverse, inclusive culture and environment. We’re passionate about championing female talent in the sector, we’re committed to bringing great women into our business, and we offer the space and support our people need to do their best work.

Driven by exploring and delivering better ways to work? Looking for your next challenge? There’s always a place for people like that at Unispace.

Find out more and view our current vacancies now on our careers page.