F5: Jonathan Moody Talks Finding Your People, Future Architects + More
Jonathan Moody’s work lives at the intersection of architecture and service by bringing transformational design to under-resourced communities. He believes architecture is a medium through which people can come together and participate as positive social change. As President and CEO of Moody Nolan, the largest African American-owned firm in the country, Jonathan is driven by a passion to continue his father’s legacy of diversifying the practice of architecture. His dedication to advancing diversity has grabbed national attention, recently earning Moody Nolan the 2021 AIA Architecture Firm Award. Recognized by his peers as an exceptional leader and mentor, Jonathan also recently received the AIA Young Architect Award.
With nearly 15 years of experience at the practice, Jonathan’s leadership helps the ongoing expansion of the firm, with 12 locations across the nation to date. Moody Nolan’s work continues to exceed industry benchmarks, receiving more than 300 design awards and citations from AIA and NOMA. Passionate about serving his community, Jonathan also works to advance education opportunities for students of color and serves as a vocal ally for communities in need.
Today, Jonathan Moody joins us for Friday Five!
It can be difficult on some days to get started knowing what might be needed to get through. I’ve learned that it always turns out to be alright, but sometimes it can be difficult to find that spark to begin. It helps to start with prayer and small reminders. I have to remind myself that great things are possible, and with the smallest bit of faith they can happen.
Everyone needs to know their ‘why’s’ and ‘who’s’. When people have asked what inspires me to get through the hard times, the simple answer was the reminder of who I was working for. I also recognize all they went through and continue to go through for me to be where I am. Family will always tell me that they’re proud no matter what. But that just inspires me to do more.
A further definition of the ‘who’s’ is around who we serve and serve with. I always break down the word community into the parts of ‘common’ and ‘unity’. My work affords the unique opportunity to use buildings to constantly redefine community values. We ask over and over again, “What do buildings show we have in common?” and “How can they serve to unite us?” Through the building process, people within the various communities I have the privilege to work with and for come together.
4. Future Architects
I acknowledge and accept that there are challenges we face that will not be overcome in my lifetime. I’ve always felt my ‘ishness’ of being between generations and seeing their different perspectives. I believe my generation bears the responsibility of bridging the gap between the sacrifices of past generations and inspiring the future generations. When I get to meet people who express their desire to be an architect one day their ideas about how they can create a better future inspire me.
I often reflect on what it took for us to reach the 40 year milestone as a firm. I think about the sacrifices for my father to even be in a position to start a firm. I think about the clients who took a chance on us with their dreams. I think about the rooms where we didn’t have a seat but where we had advocates who believed in us. I think about all of the work that everyone has done to build an amazing culture and great projects – just by being great people. I’m inspired by all those who share in our 40 year history and those who will help us to write the next 40 years!