Soderstrom Architects is proud to announce that Marlene Gillis has been promoted to President, effective January 1st of this year. As President, Marlene will work with the leadership of the firm to drive strategic planning efforts and push the firm toward even greater design excellence. She will also continue to lead the K-12 market sector.
Marlene has over 21 years of experience in the industry, working on a diverse range of project types. Originally joining Soderstrom in 2001, in recent years she has focused on expanding the firm’s K-12 portfolio with significant projects for the St. Helens, Greater Albany, Woodburn and Hillsboro school districts, amongst others. Her expertise has provided outstanding learning environments to students across Oregon, particularly in smaller, rural communities where schools perform such a vital role.
When asked about her goals, Marlene responds:
My primary goal is to hire good people and get out of their way so they can do great things. I’m here to support and encourage our excellent staff who create superior projects that we are proud of, providing them the tools and resources needed to achieve the best results. Even though it’s work, it should still be fun, and I’m a firm believer that the most difficult of jobs are made easier when you can find humor and lightness in the situation.
In 2016, the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce recognized Marlene as a Woman of Vision for her outstanding leadership, mentoring efforts, and promotion of industry diversity. She contributes significant time and knowledge to mentoring female and junior architects at Soderstrom. She also promotes an inclusive company culture by recognizing staff achievements and promoting open discussion in the office.
Marlene is deeply committed to serving the broader community by encouraging innovation, ingenuity, and curiosity about the built environment. She has volunteered for the Architects in Schools program for over 10 years, teaching elementary school children about the power of creativity. She was also on the board of ACE Academy until it was closed in 2016. She continues to support Centennial School District’s Sabin Schellenberg Center and their architecture program, participating in regular student reviews and critiques. She places a high emphasis on fostering the next generation of architects and developing their passion for design, with a particular emphasis on diversity and providing exposure to non-traditional students.