Insights from WM: Perspectives and the Horizon

A unique aspect of Ware Malcomb’s culture is the long tenure of many of our leaders.  We want to share some of their unique stories, highlighting the qualities they possess that have led to their career success at WM and the growth opportunities the firm avails.

Maureen Bissonnette
Associate Principal, Marketing
Joined Ware Malcomb in 1998 as Marketing Assistant

RB:  Tell me about what your life was like when you joined the firm.
MB: I was a junior year student at California State University, Fullerton majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.  I wanted to find an internship in marketing for a professionally run firm in Orange County.  I didn’t know very much about architecture at the time but was excited about the opportunity. Since age 16, I had several diverse jobs and a prior marketing internship with a small printing company. 

RB:  Share any particular challenges and milestones that stand out during your 20+ year journey with the firm.
WM was my first full-time job out of school and so I was learning a lot and building my skills and confidence.  I am very proud that every aspect of what our marketing group does, I have done myself and have had a hand in creating. This has set the tone for how I lead and mentor others. As a leader, sometimes you need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

In 2010, I decided to pursue my MBA degree. This was always a goal of mine, and after 12 years of working, I took the plunge. Earning an MBA helped me broaden my perspective and made me a better manager by providing a global outlook beyond marketing. I have also learned a lot about mentoring others, and how to lead and develop people through lots of trial and error. Another great lesson is that as a leader, the team’s successes as much as the challenges are a reflection of my leadership. Since that time, I have sharpened my focus on what value I provide and what is good to empower others to do.

Maureen receiving her Masters in Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University in 2012.

RB: Why did you decide to stay at WM for 22 years?
MB: The people. Getting to work with a great leader like you Ruth. The leadership and culture at Ware Malcomb are very supportive. WM leaders truly walk the talk that our people are our most important asset. The company does a lot of things to invest in people and provide opportunities, as long as you are willing to work for it. I also appreciate that the company leaders are open to new ideas and taking a progressive, entrepreneurial approach to marketing and business. Of course, the opportunity to continue to grow professionally is a big reason I have stayed. Lastly, marketing is viewed as an important function within our company, as evidenced with our most senior marketing leader being on the Executive Team for many years.

From 2008, Maureen and fellow Ware Malcomb leaders. Ruth Brajevich (top left) VP, Strategic Initiatives, Jinger Tapia (top right) Principal, Design and Tiffany English (bottom left) Principal of the San Diego offices.

RB: If you were to share your tips for success to others, what would they be?
MB: Always push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and keep growing.  Always be learning, don’t stay stagnate. Be willing to work hard, pay your dues, and earn your sweat equity. And invest the time into building relationships; it makes a big difference in the long run.  Strong relationships lead to people believing and trusting in you. Finally, find your voice and be authentic. Don’t be afraid to bring your true self and make mistakes. Authenticity makes you approachable and trustworthy.

Maureen and the marketing team during their December 2019 “WM Grow” event, a marketing best practices seminar that concludes with a fun team building activity.