Susan Gushe, Chief Operating Officer

Transforming a Workplace

When Susan earned the opportunity to head one of Vancouver’s leading architectural practices in 2012, she took on that responsibility with the purpose of making positive change for people in the profession. At a fundamental level, she saw a need for architects to both understand and believe in their value, and by doing so, to collectively improve their personal return on investment through improved financial and creative outcomes. With the ability to make change, she promoted policies and initiatives that focused on improving the culture of architecture, while also making balance and respect a focus.

With an innate sense of the leadership qualities needed to make this transition, she built a balanced team of highly collaborative, high performing, and compassionate individuals, collectively forming a strong leadership group. This dynamic helped to create a supportive workplace culture that sees staff as people first, valuing and investing in not just their work, but their quality of life.

“It is a culture that enables you to be the best creative professional that you can be—to realize your highest ambitions while working in concert with like-minded individuals.”

Susan believes that a willingness to share, collaborate, and own both our successes and failures together is the foundation that allows the realization of true excellence.

“What motivates me to go to work every day is my colleagues and our shared sense of purpose in our daily work together.”

In her role as Managing Director, Susan came to understand that people are key.  Architecture is a business that relies wholly on the communication of a highly specialized skillset, as well as creative ideas.

“We are not in the building industry. We’re in the people industry. People matter above everything else.”

During her tenure, Susan has had to make some difficult decisions that are part and parcel of her role. But with each challenge she found there was an opportunity to grow, to be a better, more effective leader. With this mindset, Susan established a reputation for thoughtful and proactive leadership.

“You have to keep a very open mind and be willing to learn so you don’t fall into repetitive thinking. It’s an openness to listening and understanding new ideas and voices.”

As she steps into her firmwide role as Chief Operating Officer, Susan looks forward to applying what she’s learned from managing both the Vancouver and Calgary studios. She believes that understanding and managing the business is essential to optimizing its success for the benefit of all. She sees striving for excellence in business as a natural part of striving for excellence in design and all that we do.

“For me, it’s important to share my knowledge. When you have the best talent, it’s your responsibility to optimize your ability to invest in their success.”

In her new role, Susan anticipates growing her understanding of the diverse challenges facing the 30 architectural studios that comprise Perkins&Will’s global practice.

Susan is the firm’s new Chief Operating Officer.