As executive managing principal at Corgan, Lindsay Wilson led the interior design team for Toyota’s new North American headquarters in Plano. During the three-year process, Lindsay and her team worked directly with Toyota to make their One Toyota vision a reality; she led the initial vision and took a leadership role in the development of the workplace strategy and branding integration.
“It was the project of a career,” she says. “Toyota really cares about their team. They could have made the corridors six feet wide, but they’re 12 feet so people can stop and chat; there’s furniture if they want to meet.”
In Corgan’s 80-year history, Lindsay is the second female executive with a leadership role and the first ever interior designer.
She credits her success to “being a risk taker.” When Lindsay noticed that the interior design team would wait for the architectural team to win a project before beginning to work on the interiors, she stood up and said, “We should be the ones leading; we should be getting the work.” Today, Corgan has interiors practices in four of their five offices.
When it comes to change, Lindsay recommends over-communication. “Change is a big deal. Often, the mere suggestion of changing the way you work, collaborate or manage freaks people out,” she says. “The solution is involvement and communication. We encourage our clients to engage employees in the process of workplace transformation but at a minimum to over-communicate about it. We lead with the ‘why’ and follow that with how it impacts employees and what our expectations are for the outcome.”
Finally, Lindsay is adamant that women need to ask for help when they need it. “I fight this battle internally all the time. At work, it will seem like I don’t have it together if I ask for help. At home, if I ask my neighbor to help with my son, she will judge me for working too much. Here’s the deal, if you are a person that is helpful, people will want to help you. But you have to ask, and that requires some vulnerability that is often not intuitive to high achievers.”