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As a child growing up in Egypt, Eman Yassin loved to draw. And she realized, by 6th grade, that she had a real aptitude for geometry. “Studying geometry actually brought me great joy,” she recalled.
Eman earned her undergraduate degree at Port Said University, a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning. Graduating with honors, she began her career in her native country, working on many high profile architecture projects, including university expansions and royal family palace projects. After a few years, in 2013, she moved to Saudi Arabia, where she lived and worked for seven years before coming to the United States.
Not surprisingly, she found professional opportunities for women in Saudi Arabia to be limited – but her talent and perseverance earned her respect among her colleagues and clients. Not permitted to work on architecture projects as a woman, she focused on high-end interior design projects. Rather than dwell on what she could not access, she focused on the experiences she did have, which allowed her to work on expansive projects for clients in Riyadh, Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and to travel on large buying trips, including to China and other parts of the world.
Though her role was always reporting to men, she saw a path to growth and was optimistic about her future, as she took every opportunity to work on different projects, pushing past her comfort zone. “I was exposed to the world,” she said.
Today, she brings the skills she honed to many projects at MMD – in higher ed, corporate office and multi-family projects. She likes to “touch every aspect” – from schematic design and design development through to construction administration.
With a wide array of skills, including expertise in architectural design, urban planning, interior design, planning regulations, workplace health and safety, structural engineering and environmental solutions, Eman is a valuable asset to MMD clients.
Part of the reason Eman came to MMD was the firm’s focus on diversity. Eman wants to see more women of color excel in architecture and for the field to have greater representation. According to recent research published in Harvard Business Review, nearly 90% of white male architects said they get to develop their design ideas, but only 72% of women of color did.
Eman urges women to pursue whatever it is that they love despite roadblocks they may encounter. She added, “Every woman deserves the opportunity to contribute to something she is passionate about.”