Principal at Sonoma County’s TLCD Architecture wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award

Stacey Walker



TLCD Architecture

520 Third Street, #250, Santa Rosa 95401


Read other profiles of North Bay Business Journal’s 2021 Forty Under 40 Awards winners.

Responsibilities with your company: As a partner, elevating the firm's design standards, upholding the principles of opportunity and equity, engagement in community growth, and helping support and build a great team that service our valued clients are of upmost priority to me.

In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?

Shining a light on equality and opportunity within my profession, as the first female and first Interior Design Principal in our firm's 50+ year history.

Years with company: 7

Length of time in current position: 1 Year, 2 Months

Number of companywide employees: 32

Number who report to you: 4

Greatest professional accomplishment: My greatest professional accomplishment is being entwined into the fabric of my community, by becoming a business owner in a place I want to see developed with care.

Greatest professional challenge: My greatest professional challenge was rebuilding a professional network and continuing to grow connections within Sonoma County after my husband and I relocated, moving from the Chesapeake Bay to the Bay Area.

Best advice received: Advocate for those around you – the success of others doesn't take away from your own, it is reflection upon it.

Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: My most important professional accomplishment over the last 12 months was being selected for the North Bay's 2020 Women in Business Award.

What's the biggest change COVID-19, the restrictions and the economic impact has had on your work and personal life?

Good design is an iterative process and takes teamwork. Rethinking strategy and recognizing results of effective virtual working sessions has presented new tactics for brainstorming and collaborating.

And what’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from that experience?

I really miss the daily banter, brainstorming sessions, and the importance of human connection with my colleagues. There is a social aspect to the workplace that is important to morale and when we finally can be back together, it will be something to revel in.

What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?

TLCD's balanced portfolio of diverse practice area expertise allows us to weather the ebb and flow of the ever-changing economy. Supporting our remote workforce with investment in technology has maintained efficiency and connection to teammates with ease. Human connection is more important than ever before and we have continued our tradition of gathering all staff weekly to stay in touch, share, laugh, and learn virtually.

Next professional goal: I am looking for opportunities to expand TLCD's interior design presence in our region across all our practice areas. Our integrated delivery of architecture and interior design provides our clients with thoughtful solutions that execute their vision from in inside-out, as well as the outside-in

Education: I have a bachelor of science degree in interior architecture with a minor in fine arts from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Hometown: I was raised on the shores of Lake Erie in the small town of Avon Lake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland - home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Community/nonprofit activities: I have maintained involvement in committees at the City Center level of International Interior Design Association for 14 years. IIDA is a global non-profit organization that supports, educates, and advocates for design professionals.

Through my involvement with this wonderful organization, I have been able to connect with the design community and support my own local community through fundraising efforts for different charities such as Petaluma Art Center, Sonoma County Museum, Social Advocates for Youth, YWCA and Homes for Sonoma.

I have also volunteered my time leading the planning of course work for the week of hosting Mike Hauser Academy students at TLCD during the summer for numerous years. Participating in the education of students, especially girls, about how STEM applies in the field of architecture has been greatly rewarding.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Cheryl Durst, EVP and CEO of IIDA continues to inspire me as a thought leader and innovator in the design industry.

Throughout the pandemic especially, I have been able to tune into many virtual events that she has hosted to listen and learn from her exceptional and engaging communication style.

What is your most disliked industry buzzword?

Within the design and architecture industry “sustainability” has become an overused term in that it can be defined in a variety of ways.

The term just doesn't cut muster any longer, it is our job to discuss sustainable features of a product or building with detail.

Typical day at the office: A typical day in the office feels like a distant memory after almost a year of working at home. Whether I am in the office or working from home, I am typically engaged in many meetings, but no day is the same, which keeps me on my toes!

In a business sense, what is the greatest thing about being under 40; and then what is the worst?

The greatest aspect of being under 40 in my profession is confidence in the knowledge I have gained over the last 16 years with the excitement and prospect of growth ahead

The biggest challenge is within the runway ahead. I have lots more to learn and respect to earn, especially as a female in a male dominated industry.

Best place to work outside of your office: Getting out of the office to meet and connect with clients and see progress on the job site as the project vision comes to life is one of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects of design.

Hobbies: I love finding time to read or get outside on mountain and coastal adventures with family while seeking out local restaurant gems along the way!

What you wanted to be when you grew up: I was a very curious child, lover of animals, art, and science and with so many interests I was constantly changing my mind on what career path would be the best fit. One of the aspects of my design career that I find most interesting is the opportunity to be continually learning about other careers and try to improve workflow efficiency within their physical environments.

#1 thing you want to accomplish by the time you turn 40: As simple as it may sound, seeing family. Within the next year, I would really like to take a trip across the country to see my family that I haven't been able to see in over a year because of the pandemic.

First job: My first job was a Sales Associate at The GAP

Social media you most use: Instagram

Favorite book: The Harry Potter series

Favorite movie: “Overboard” – who doesn't love Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell?

Favorite App: Spotify

Favorite after-work drink: I love a refreshing Raspberry-Lime flavored Spindrift.

Last vacation: An RV road trip with my husband and our dog to Sun Valley, Idaho to meet up with longtime friends for a camping, hiking and fly-fishing adventure.

What does your mom or dad brag most about you?

My parents would say I am dedicated and hard working.

Stacey Walker



TLCD Architecture

520 Third Street, #250, Santa Rosa 95401


Read other profiles of North Bay Business Journal’s 2021 Forty Under 40 Awards winners.

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