My Admission Statement: My name is Dina Giordano, I am an architect who practices non-traditionally. “I like to say I build companies instead of buildings now. I run and operate a creative consulting and strategic advising business out of Aspen and Los Angeles. I am passionate about integrating creative thinking and systematic frameworks to mobilize the economy for small businesses and entrepreneurs so that they can make the most impact.
How did you get into the industry?
When I step back I can see the trajectory that has lead me to operating a consulting and strategy business.
I have grown up with an entrepreneurial family, watching and learning from parents running their own businesses. To own a small business or start a company was the norm to me. In addition I worked only for small businesses and sole proprietors from high school into college. I was lucky enough to be given responsibilities and leadership roles - which I learned a lot from. Working alongside and observing each person, the roles, what worked, and what didn’t. This was the best MBA I could have gotten.
After completing architecture school in the recession it seemed most jobs in the design world were non existent. So I started an experiential marketing company, that spawned a pop-up art gallery that lead into advising artists and an art consulting business. It soon grew into other companies and creative entrepreneurs requesting consulting and advise on their business practices and marketing strategies. The business continued to grow organically. In 2016 I reformulated the company and structured the services to express and emphasis my unique approach based on my experiences and architectural training. Which is my methodology of architectural thinking, it’s creative, systematic approach to developing business.
Any emerging industry trends?
I have seen a shift in the embrace of cross-disciplinary skillsets and right brain thinking. The new trend in business schools, corporate evaluations, and team leadership is in the value of creative, abstract thinking in business. The value of skills that can not be automated or out sourced. The ability to think comprehensively about the big picture, the user experience, and embrace collaboration or cross industry alliances. These movements look beyond their own industry for inspiration, ideas and ways to innovate. I think companies and corporations are seeing the combative advantage in having a strong creative view point that will create an impact.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Again, I see the opportunity for companies like mine or individuals like myself that have a skillset and knowledge base that can not be automated or outsourced for less money. Strategies that can show case creative thinking, innovations, and a methodology that allows for the agility in frameworks to create success and respond swiftly to changes/demands in the market.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
The vision for the consulting business was to mobilize entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, businesses to contribute to the market place and economy through a positive impactful message. I was driven by the business owners and entrepreneurs I knew growing up or saw around me that were struggling to realize their own professional visions. This is where I learned I could see the gaps in their processes, the possibilities /opportunities.
I have been driven to provide excellence by offering a point of view that is different, yet I believe offers the highest value exchange in way of looking at the future of a business, of the economy. We love looking at the bigger picture through the details. We thrive on challenging the norms.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Working on articles and a publication on “Architectural Thinking” - working title… Share the concepts and research I have been working on for the past three years or so. It will be a combination of strategic frameworks and creative analysis. We are also looking at expanding our European presence for international clients and assembling a team over there.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Key initiatives have been strategic alliances, partnering with conferences, organizations or individuals that help to facilitate in reaching ideal clients. Streamlining processes and procedures. Increasing productivity, having information assemble and reducing the fat that clogs the system. This has also been greatly beneficial as this create space for the “real work” that will lead to creativity, the space to be innovative and to generate profit. Prioritizing the tasks and action on the daily calendar
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn)
I think it's challenging to be service driven business that is a direct reflections of your skills, connections, and methods. If you are intrinsically connected to your business its hard to create a divide between your identity and the Business. This is most difficult while navigating the standard ups and downs of business. The normal difficulties of service or product based companies is trying clients, or customers and moments of hardship.
I am still learning to staying the course and not falter when things go a-rye or not as you have planned and hoped it would. In difficult times it’s important to keep your professional vision in sight and to hold your individual identity outside of the success of the business.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
Our clients are successful business owners and operators who know to pivot or scale, or grow. They need not be complacent and they understand that it takes the whole business operating to together at its highest order to succeed.
My clients are in “it”. They are in the depths of growing a business and/or launching a project something that is all consuming and they are the leading voice.
For these clients it's reflected that they appreciate and rise in the relief of having a collaborator, someone who helps to pull them back from the minutiae of daily tasks and refocus. We look at the big picture the context the vision for the company and build back in the details. We go from micro to macro to understand the complexities of each business. I give them the space to be creative to redefine their “why”. Their compelling reason.
How do you motivate others?
One key to motivating others is to listen. I strongly believe that people should do what they are best at, what naturally motivates and impassions them. Putting the right people in the right position or role that best fits their own natural and trained skill set, and personality. I also strongly believe in giving people autonomy - the freedom to be entrepreneurial and take ownership in their roles and responsibilities. I don’t like to be micro-managed and I don’t like to micro-manage others. I and my team thrive when everyone can bring their best to the table and lead from there.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Expose yourself to as many areas industries that interest. Touch on each and every area of business. Understand marketing, financial planning and investment, know how production works. Touch many pieces of the business as you are learning and developing where your skills and strengths are. I would also say know you client/customer. Also create the structure in which you will on board and off board all clients, have a clear process.
My biggest advice is do something unique to your skills and talents. That focus, your way of seeing business, consulting, the unique way you see the world. This you can not be taught and this can not be automated. Remember your clients are coming to you for your specific skills, your way of doing things.
What do I do best?
In business I have the ability to easily empathize with my client’s vision. I can see how to solve problems, what creative steps they can take to get there. When I hear about the client’s brief my mind can go from detail to big picture quite quickly and easily. It’s a way of mixing systematic thinking and creative ideations.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Both professionally and personally, I think it is my ability to connect with people, first and foremost. I have an inherited ability to empathize with others and to naturally lead and create trust.
I also think that my nature is to be curios and to learn about a variety of subjects and topics and then see how and where they connect/relate.
What are my aspirations?
My aspirations are to have a positive impact on the local and global communities through the mobilization of entrepreneurship, (small - medium) businesses, creative culture, and the economy. I hope to contribute something larger than myself, to help others achieve their highest aspirations.
As of now my vision is to accomplish this through a multi-disciplinary consulting firm with offices in the US and Europe. As well as a professional and creative residency program. That focuses on education, the power of collaboration, cross-disciplinary outputs, and innovation in industry. My Biggest Success? (No rules here. This can be anything in your life that you view as your greatest accomplishment to date)
Success is a loaded word and means something different to everyone. For me at this point, I have yet to accomplish my biggest success. Moving forward, growing and staying on track and true to myself, and my vision is an accomplishment I strive for each year.
I think if one can feel proud and accomplished when they go to sleep each night and wake up that is success.
“everything we do has an aesthetic value”
“your gift is the way you see the world”
“No-one can take away the experiences and knowledge you have”
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My role models, run from individuals in politics, entertainment, business, and design. I admire people who don’t believe in retirement. Who believe wholeheartedly in their ability or drive to contribute, to create something of impact. My role models break the rules and are polymaths. People who can embrace what they know with humility but who strive to be curious and adventures in their learnings. People who are engaged with the world, looking around corners.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
My favorite places are the ones I have not been to yet…I am a travel junkie. I was recently in Norther Italy, small towns and lesser know cities. On this trip I also discovered Innsbruck Austria which was surprising and delightful even in the rain! I will spend my life exploring and going adventures around the world.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Beautiful objects, are pieces of engineering, history, industry embedded into them. The manipulation of form, light to create something beautiful to enhance our experience of life is a gift. I believe design objects have a way of strengthening our existence and our lives. ( From a chair to a painting to a bottle of olive oil. My favorite items are a narrative of my life)
My Current Passions?
Developing further the systematic methodology to business, economic mobility.
Working on my European citizenship.
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: Get through most of my list. Stay focused.
Thought of the Day: How can I do more to help people be success in business?
Action of the Day: write the First draft of the first of three articles.
Deed of the Day: Simply, be kind to others.
Tip of the Day: Stay centered and follow your highest intention
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
It depends on what city I am in. I travel a lot for work. Most of the time between Aspen Colorado and Los Angeles.
I love the diversity in Los Angeles, food people, neighborhoods. As well as the fresh creative entrepreneurial energy there.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
In Aspen, Local CoffeeIn LA, Minetti Coffee
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – sleeping
I don’t love mornings. All appoints are mad for after 10am when I am more focused.
10:00 AM - Meetings, working, respond to emails mostly
12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
In LA, my favorite spot is Bondi Harvest in Santa Monica
In the Aspen area, newly opened, Beat in Carbondale, Delicious!
I usually take an afternoon break if I don’t have meetings and restart work around 2:30/3-about 7pm
7:00 PM - work up to Dinner
11:00 PM - In bed.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
COFFEE, salty kettle chips, sparkling mineral water - is my survival kit.
I try to do a little mediation most days and get out for a hike or walk, run.
What should everyone try at least once?
Putting your phone away make eye contact and start chatting with a stranger. I have met some of the best people, and even made friends with people next to me on planes or out and about in public. I believe in human connection and learning from each other is very important.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
In almost any foreign city or town. I love exploring new places and discovering restaurants, buildings, parks, shops, etc. No agenda just discovery.
BIO: Dina Giordano’s, path as a Creative Consultant and Strategic Advisor was pre-destined. From helping in her family’s businesses in New Jersey to advising on global brands. After, pursuing a degree in Fashion Marketing, looking for a greater connection to people, place and a larger context. Dina turned her focus to Architecture and relocated to California. In the discipline of Architecture, she found a process of thinking and exploration that nurtured her curiosity about how things function and the complex interconnectedness of systems, creativity, and pragmatism. From here Dina put together a self-guided MBA of sorts; working in every creative industry, leading design projects with multi-disciplinary collaborative teams and working alongside first-time founders as their right-hand women. Which led to starting her own marketing company and art gallery. Her career organically expanded, to consulting and advising professional artists, designer-entrepreneurs, start-ups, and scale-up. As a business consultant, Dina has carefully studied and tested the knowledge and experience she gained. To develop an application for approaching business that utilizing her background in Architecture. This method is coined, “Architectural Thinking”TM. It allows Dina and her clients to draw out the most relevant, consistent, and progressive approaches to each project and company she works with.
Dina has used this approach while developing projects for; Coachella, PS1. MOMA, Macy’s, Frieze Art Fair, Fashion week, as well as developing businesses for entrepreneurs, across industries.
Her work is driven by a vision for creating a bigger impact through the methodology of “Architectural Thinking”TM. Dina has lectured and given talks on business development from Los Angeles to London. She is developing initiatives that tackle dynamic growth through innovation, discussion, leadership and economic impact.
Given Talks at:
Norn- London, The Collective, AIA, Unique Space, Outsite-Lisbon, Collobosphere imeet conference, Art base. Interviewed on DNX podcast, soon on the Liberty podcast.
WORKSHOP/COURSE FOR ARCHITECTS | "Constructing Your Metier” 2016 – Present With a passion for the training, education, and pedagogy of Architecture and expanding on my education to reexamine the role of an Architect in today's society. The course looks at how to deploy architects to mobilize effective change in outside industries. From creative problem solving to developing processes to developing compelling stories. Developed for SCI-ARC.
SPEAKER + WORKSHOPS ON BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT | "Architectural Thinking” 2016 – Present Lead workshops and speaking engagements on Strategic Business Development. Created applicable methods and process for "Architectural Thinking". Creating high level feedback, organization and relationship of problem solving, through creative strategies. Understanding each professional project or individual business at its daily operational level to parts to vision, the ethos of the company. Through applying the principles of "Architectural Thinking". Global Speaking engagements.