Michelle Yates

Inspiration, People /

More Creative Outlets from 2018

It’s fun (and often quite inspiring) to see how my coworkers use their creative minds for more than just the built environment. From charities to competitions to just plain fun, there is a lot of creativity happening throughout the year, and here are just a few examples.

In November, IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Gateway Chapter hosted a fashion show called Unravel. St. Louis design firms created and modeled their original designs using materials like carpet, tile, upholstery, etc. This year’s theme was “Couture Under the Big Top”.



General /

‘Tis the Season for Gratitude

Early this month, Monica Conners, senior director of client development, and Marian Rein, marketing manager, gave a presentation to employees about gratitude. It was a great reminder about the benefits of gratitude, not only to the receiver but also to the giver. Monica and Marian shared tips from Toni Powell, author of Happiness and its Causes, who stated, “When gratitude is practiced in the workplace, relationships are transformed, complaint is minimized and satisfaction levels skyrocket.” They also recommended checking out these two Ted Talks:

Gratitude Sticks: Why Small Acts of Kindness Matter by Kaitlin Garrity

Want to be happy? Be grateful by David Steindl-Rast

After discussing the Ted Talks, we talked about some of the ways we’ve received gratitude like handwritten notes, thoughtful gifts, heartfelt acknowledgements – the more personal, the more meaningful.

I also like these “6 Easy Ways to Show Gratitude Every Day” from themuse.com summarized below:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
  2. Verbally thank someone
  3. Clean up after yourself
  4. Don’t complain for a day
  5. Write a thank you card
  6. Volunteer in your community

So, what is a gratitude journal? Pretty much what it sounds like – taking the time to write down what you are grateful for, thereby bringing more awareness to the good things in life, large and small. (Of course, you can Google templates to download and create your own journal!) I’m not sure if I have room in my day for journaling, but incorporating a few minutes to name some things I’m grateful for seems doable.

Is there a special way you practice showing gratitude this holiday season?

People /

Lawrence Group People

Each month we highlight a few of our employees by having them share everything from their personal motto to their favorite architect to what’s on their bucket list.

Theresa Hunt
Director of Furniture Procurement
With Lawrence Group since 2013 

What do you like to do outside of work (favorite pastime)?
Play with my new puppy, Bo.

What do not many people know about you?
I was born in Japan — the first place I camped was Mt. Fuji! (more…)

General, People /

Out and About in Q1

Hard to believe that April is almost here. After enjoying some time off for the holidays, we hit the ground running fast in January, and it’s been a bit of a blur since. But, in between all the deadlines, we managed to get out and about in the first quarter. Here’s a look at a few of those fun, extracurricular activities:

In January, Lawrence Group sponsored the 13th annual St. Louis Business Journal Women’s Conference, which attracted nearly 1,000 business leaders. Principal Becky Egan and I staffed our exhibit booth, while almost a dozen other LG architects, designers, managers and leaders were able to take advantage of the great speakers and networking opportunities at the conference. During the opening ceremonies, CFO Laura Conrad represented Lawrence Group on-stage with other sponsoring organizations.

Two LGers also took time out to speak at local events in January. CEO Steve Smith presented an education workshop for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) St. Louis on January 10th, and Micah Gray, our digital practice manager, spoke at the St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) on the pros and cons of the use of drones and lasers for construction estimating.

In Austin, Principal Earl Swisher, Associate Director Julie Steffens and I enjoyed a beautiful night out at the Sam Houston State University Department of Agricultural Sciences “Honoring Traditions, Creating Futures” dinner.

February was career fair mania. Our architects and designers kicked it off at Iowa State and ended up at Kansas State meeting lots of curious students and sharing what it’s like to work at Lawrence Group. In February, Monica Conners and I also attended the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Leadership Summit in Tucson, Arizona. The summit was filled with lots of great networking and leadership training.

This month, Associate Director Sharon Henderson and Senior Associate Lisa Morrison presented “The Science of Workplace” at the International Facility Management Association (IFMA)’s Facility Fusion 2018 Conference and Expo in Chicago, Illinois. On the 15th, Steve Smith also spoke to attendees at the Building Owners and Managers (BOMA) St. Louis March luncheon about the City Foundry STL development.

So, what’s next? On April 4th, stop by our booth at the annual Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) St. Louis Prime Time Event: Diversity Outreach at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall. On April 10th, it’s the Chouteau Greenway Design Competition Community Kickoff Day at The Sheldon. On April 19th, our creative (and competitive) LGers will be watching their car in the annual construction industry’s Pinewood Derby at the MOTO Museum. Hope to see you out and about soon!


General, Inspiration /

3 Powerful Presentations from 2016

As another new year is almost upon us, I’m reminded of three powerful presentations that I was fortunate to attend in 2016 with lessons to carry forward into 2017.

The national SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) and CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) conferences always have high caliber keynote speakers, and 2016 was no exception with Ben Casnocha and Amy Cuddy. Then at its local signature event in November, CREW St. Louis brought in national speaker AmyK. All three were dynamic, had great stories to tell and gave key takeaways to help others in their career development.


General, Inspiration /

CREW Network Convention Recap

Earlier this month, I was able to attend the 2015 CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network conference in Seattle. From the opening keynote to the breakout sessions, project tour and Madelaine Albright’s closing keynote, the conference was energizing, inspirational and provided lots of networking time.