The Dallas office of Gensler has designed notable spaces throughout North Texas, including Klyde Warren Park 2.0. Co-Regional Managing Partner Cindy W. Simpson, though, says she is most proud of the firm’s plans to address racism through design solutions, expand scholarship programs and job opportunities, and study and uncover ideas for equitable design.
“We recently launched The Center for Research on Equity & the Built Environment. The Center is the first of its kind in our industry to study and uncover ideas for equitable design that can help mitigate the challenges posed by racism, as well as promote and uphold diversity and inclusion,” Simpson shared. “Through open dialogue and actionable change, we are dedicated to making a positive difference in our communities and being a part of the solution for a more just future.”
Education: Mississippi State University (BS-Interior Design)
Best Advice: “The most important piece of advice came from my parents. They instilled a strong work ethic in their children and to recognize that our life choices and reputation will influence us as leaders and define our leadership style. Leadership matters!”
Dinner Party: “If I could choose any two Dallas business leaders to join me for dinner, I’d choose Craig Hall of Hall Financial Group and Gaedeke Group CEO Sabine Gaedeke Stener. Craig’s business and investment journey is inspiring—he certainly knows how to align his passions with his work. Plus, we are guaranteed to have the best wine from his vineyard.
“A true visionary with a wealth of real estate expertise, Sabine has degrees in economics, psychology, marketing, and international management—all platforms for great conversations. She brings a unique perspective to every development with global placemaking principles that welcome diversity, sociability, wellness, and innovation.”
Must Read: “Stephen Schwarzman’s What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence. Stephen is the Chairman, CEO, and Co-founder of Blackstone – a self-made icon in his field. In his book, Stephen chronicles his business success stories and the value of not taking “no” for an answer when pursuing your dreams and achieving your goals.”
Proud Moments: “As the largest architecture and design firm in the world, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our collective skills to have a positive, long-lasting impact on communities everywhere. It is why we are passionate about influencing design to help address the biggest challenges facing humanity today, such as climate change.
“In 2019, our designers worked on more than 7,000 projects representing over 1.5 billion square feet of space, ranging from new commercial office buildings and workplace interiors to schools, retail stores, data centers, and hotels. Taken together, our 2019 work is set to prevent 16.4 million metric tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere compared to average building energy usage – the equivalent of the power needed for 1.9 million homes for the year.
“It’s a good start, but we recognize more needs to be done. That is why we have set an ambitious goal for ourselves and issued a challenge to our entire industry: to eliminate all greenhouse gases associated with the built environment in the next decade. Moreover, as we navigate through the pandemic, our design approach must also support the health and wellness of the people who will be using that space. It means exploring ways to de-densify housing, creating more outdoor recreational areas, and improving walkability to build the healthy, thriving cities of the future that are accessible for everyone.”
2020 Taught Me: “ Definitely patience and perseverance; is it 2021 yet?!”
A Better Dallas: “From a business perspective, there are two issues we encounter when trying to attract more corporations to Dallas, the need to strengthen our public schools, and to improve mass transit. As leaders, it is our duty to work together as stakeholders to focus on solutions to enhance these critical sectors that are essential to the fabric and growth of our community. “
Editor’s note: the print version of this profile in the Dallas 500 used an incorrect answer for who Simpson would invite to a dinner party. The correct answer is noted above.
This Q&A is extended content from Dallas 500, a special edition produced by D CEO that profiles the region’s most influential business leaders. Visit Dallas500 for details.