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Get to Know Our President + CEO

The Board of Directors has elected PDR President, Lauri Goodman Lampson, to President + Chief Executive Officer. A well-known workplace visionary among her peers and clients, her approach and impact on the way organizations work will position PDR for continued success in this rapidly changing world. Lampson has been transforming the way global leaders think about work environments for decades.  

The following is a condensed version of an interview with Lauri Goodman Lampson, President + CEO of PDR. 

What career and life advice would you give new college grads?

Lauri: Most importantly, do something you are passionate about, otherwise, it’s just work and just working won’t lead you to success.

Be engaged, and follow your own path. Remember you are part of shaping the future of organizations. At PDR we don’t show you which career path to follow, but you will learn that anything is possible if it is mutually beneficial to you and PDR.

Be adaptable and ready for change. The shape of workers and the work we do is shifting. Use your most valuable human trait, your mind, and always remember that the most important question you can ask is "Why?"

Is that what drives you?

Lauri: Well, being attentive to changing demands of the workplace has always driven my work. I think about the future a lot. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know that the way we’ve always done our work is not the way we’ll do it in the future. We are constantly preparing for change by assessing our processes and methods to ensure alignment with market demands.

However, specifically right now, responsibility is what drives me. I feel an acute responsibility to position PDR for continued future success. We live in a world where commodities are rapidly devalued, and we must leverage our thinking talents into a unique value for our clients. 

What would you say is the key to prepare for constant change?

Lauri: Well, the key lies within 2 traits that we cultivate at PDR….agility and resiliency. Our own research has taught us to always be prepared for changes in the workplace. But ultimately we know that in order to be a successful organization we have to be able to not only be proactive, but sometimes reactive too.  

Is there a moment that changed your path?   

Lauri: There was moment on a project that shaped my focus. A Client on a very important project gave me a challenge to create a compelling experience for the employees. So compelling that people would literally skip to work. A design challenge - or so I initially thought.

I presented the absolute perfect design solution with precise details to meet the challenge. But the client did not have the reaction I expected. He was concerned it was too risky and that it could get him fired.  I realized at that moment that the design wasn’t the end, but rather that it was the means to achieve the client’s business goals. My design ultimately prevailed once he understood how it would contribute to his goals. However, from that moment I became a business person first and a designer second. And I’ve shaped our design approach at PDR to first identify the business problem we are solving for and use design as a tool to solve it.

Would you then say that your leadership style is transformational?

Lauri: I am achievement driven, but my style is Servant. That means that my role is to ensure that everyone at PDR has what they need to be successful. I’m only as good as my partners and our team. The only rule I have is to always be strategic!

Why do you think PDR is regularly on the Top Workplace list?

Lauri: It is absolutely due to empowering our employees to be impact focused - at PDR as well as for our clients. We work hard, but we also play hard. Fun has always been a key principle of our approach to work.

Project work can be intense it can take months to design and build and realize the reward. At PDR we celebrate the small wins as well as the milestones. We celebrate team effort. We are all about the team. Collaboration, cooperation, community.

What makes PDR different from other architecture and design firms?

Lauri: We are unique in our belief that design is a means - not the end. Design solutions are vehicles to achieve a desired impact; business impact, cultural impact, and behavioral impact that organizations need. 

Click here to read more about Lauri Goodman Lampson.