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Rauzia Ally Featured in Washington Business Journal Special Edition

The Managing Principal of the Washington, D.C. studio is featured in the Women’s History Month edition of WBJ’s People on the Move.



Rauzia Ally, AIA, leads the public and institutional market sector in LEO A DALY's Washington, D.C. studio

As part of the Washington Business Journal‘s special edition of People on the Move highlighting Women’s History Month, Rauzia Ally, AIA, NCARB, is being featured in a Q&A. Below are some of the questions and responses Rauzia shared with us and WBJ on her life, inspirations and thoughts as a woman in the AEC industry.

How do diverse backgrounds advance better design?

I grew up in Guyana, where mangrove swamps are kept under cultivation by an elaborate system of dams, dikes and canals. The alligators in canals, massive lily pods, and a canopy of palm trees were fertile ground for dreaming.  There were blurred lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. Those experiences influence my design process to this day. I love to go places where I can see the stars fully at night, like Jamaica, and listen to the lapping water as I stare at the stars, all from a structure that harmonizes with the nature of the place, like a stone pavilion with thatched roof. Like me, every designer brings their own influences and when these different influences and ideas come together creatively for a common goal, innovative design follows.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be?

Emily Dickinson. Her ability to so concisely tell very rich stories about such everyday things—a dream, something she felt, a feeling in a garden, with such depth and beauty is remarkable.

Which woman leader or mentor has inspired you in your career, and how did they inspire you?

For me, Marie Curie was one of the greatest testaments to the will of women that ever lived. I respect her legacy so much that my daughter was Marie Curie for Halloween when she was 2 and she built a model of Marie Curie’s lab for one of her projects when she was 8. Madame Curie sacrificed and suffered for science, never wavering in her dedication to unlock nature’s secrets. Her struggles and physical pain caused by her work was always for her belief in the greatness of knowledge and the betterment of humanity.

Best lesson from a mentor?

My father and my mother’s mother understood innately that there are far greater issues than the mundane annoyances, and always handled pressures with ease and poise.

What advice would you give a young woman professional in your field?

For my recent MBA, I often had to write self reflections and I found them invaluable. Reflection is critical to better understanding our actions so that we can act with more insight and effectiveness in the future. It allows us to articulate varying perspectives and assumptions on issues and politics and allows us to explore direct and indirect skills to navigate issues. Reflection will often help to articulate the direction or focus for the future and how to effectively emerge as a leader.

On the lighter side, cultivate great friendships at work. Being surrounded by friends is always more fulfilling.

How does your firm support you personally and/or professionally?

LEO A DALY helped me professionally by giving me purpose. That our work is so dedicated to civic purpose gives me great fulfillment. I also feel everyone shows great passion for what they do and it makes it easy to feel a part of a greater aim. I think the leaders are also not afraid to show vulnerability; that humility is always easy to connect with deeply.

What do you want to accomplish next in your career or personal life?

I want to make the Washington, D.C. studio a great success, with prolific projects that show the love of the people that worked on them.

Which businessperson, living or past, would you most like to dine with? And what one question would you ask?

I would like to dine with any of the robber barons, Carnegie, Rockefeller, or Morgan. And I would ask about a time when they did not trust themselves, and what did they do in that instance?

What’s one thing you can’t live a day without?

I can’t live without sunshine.