We recently sat down with Petra team member, Laura Lee, who works closely with Petra’s Texas clients to meet their equipment planning and interior design needs. She shared a peek behind the curtain about her work, what she’s most proud of, and how she defines success in her own life.
Q: What is your role at Petra? Describe what you do day-to-day.
A: My day-to-day looks different now than it did pre-pandemic. I am the Interior Design and FF&E (Finishes, Furnishings & Equipment) Project Manager. On any given project, I am responsible for interior finish specification, space planning, and furniture and artwork budgets, planning, and procurement. I also act as the Construction Administrator at OAC (owner, architect, contractor) meetings and on job sites.
I am newer to the equipment planning side which I started in July 2019. However, right now, it is heavily my focus with a current Petra client. This means that I’m in meetings with end-users to validate their needs and helping to get any and all equipment procured.
Q: How long have you been with Petra and why did you choose this profession?
A: I started with Petra in January 2012, so I’ve been with the company for a little over 9-years. In general, I chose interior design as a career because I wanted a creative profession. I got my degree in advertising first, but I started helping friends and family with interior design suggestions and realized I loved it. I decided to go back to school for an interior design degree.
Once I graduated, I got a job in residential interiors for personal clients, but I found that it wasn’t for me. I was looking into other venues and an opportunity with Petra popped up as an Interior Design Project Coordinator. I was familiar with the healthcare space, and I loved that the work I would be doing would benefit other people.
I applied, and from a pool of 300 applicants was chosen to provide design support as a member of Dawn’s team for several years before relocating to Texas to provide design services for the clients in our Texas region.
Q: What are 3 words to describe your team?
A: Specifically for our team here in Texas: Family. Talented. Passionate.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I enjoy the creative problem-solving we do daily at Petra. For me, it’s fun to watch as different components of the work from multiple disciplines come together to create a beautifully unified end result. The creativity of solving each challenge within a project can feel like a puzzle. All the pieces must work together to build a solution that works best for our key stakeholders and clients.
Q: What has been your proudest moment working at Petra or in your career?
A: At Petra, I was honored to be asked to relocate to Texas and support the work the team was doing in that region. It meant the team trusted in my skills to work autonomously to get the job done.
Professionally, I was recently approved to sit for the NCIDQ (Council for Interior Design Qualification) exam which is a really big deal. This professional license has strenuous exam requirements and would be a validation of my expertise in the field.
Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you do your job?
A: Unless I’m doing an install, I am working from home almost 100% of the time. Technology is amazing and helps us connect, but I do miss the team comradery and the ability to interface with clients. The nature of our work has ebbs and flows; some seasons are more heavily interiors-based and others, like our current season, are seeing a greater need for equipment planning.
Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
A: I like the feeling of accomplishing tasks, especially ones that feel daunting in the beginning.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: Most of my colleagues know this, but we are a foster family and we love it. I also play the drums and I have hiked Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous United States)!
Q: How do you define success?
A: To me, if we can walk away from a project, meeting the needs of the client and of Petra, while developing stronger relationships with everyone in every trade at all levels, that is success. And that success is made even better, and more personal, when I allow the milestones of that project to help me develop stronger skills and enhance my performance in the process.