MH+D Inside Out: Carol A. Morrissette on Why a Support Network is Imperative
When architect Carol A. Morrissette started her business, Residential Design Studio, during the recession in 2010, she was the sole proprietor. In order to combat the isolation and creative lethargy that she experienced, she began to meet up with a group of likeminded women in the design industry. Since then, her business has grown from one person to four, but Morrissette still depends on her design friends for advice and support. She tells Maine Home+Design why it’s important to develop support networks and why her mother claims that Morrissette was born to be an architect.
Q. How did you develop a support network?
A. There’s a dozen of us who get together once a month. We happen to all be women in design—interior designers, engineers, and architects—as well as business owners. Each of us started out working in a bubble alone, often with remote clients, and we were missing the camaraderie of a larger office.
Q. What’s the goal of these meetings?
A. It’s a great opportunity for us to provide opinions and support each other. It’s also nice to know that as hard as I’m working, there are other people working just as hard, and we remind each other that it’s ok to say no. And then there are things that women tend to experience more than men because this industry tends to be male-dominated, and we want to share those things with each other. It’s that quick-to-dismiss judgment, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s certainly happened to everybody in this group. Someone in the field or in the boardroom might look at you and say, “Well, she must not know what she’s talking about.” I’ve had to pretend that I don’t know what I’m talking about to make men come around to my approach.
Q. Why did you become an architect?
A. My mom jokes that when we were building the house that I grew up in, I could read blueprints when I was three years old. I’d point to a room, and even though it was just studs, I could go find that room. My mom thinks I was born to do this. I think it’s a way for me to be artistic and to solve problems. Architecture is never boring.