Becoming Accredited: A Conversation with Marie Tomala

Becoming Accredited: A Conversation with Marie Tomala

At Cuningham, nurturing a culture of innovation means enabling our team members to embrace new technologies and advance the work we do for clients. From designers and project managers to administrative support and technology teams, it is critical that all individuals are supported in pursuing accreditation within their chosen discipline. We believe everyone has the potential to advance and bring that growth to bear for our clients and internal workforce. 

To explore how this support brings value to our everyday work, I sat down (opened a Zoom window) with Cuningham Project Analyst Marie Tomala, CDFA, to discuss her involvement with Society for Design Administration (SDAand how it has helped her contribute to Cuningham’s purpose-driven design environment. 

Headshot of Marie Tomala at Cuningham's Minneapolis Office

Magen Raine: What motivates you to serve in your professional organization? 

Marie: After achieving CDFA, Cuningham provided me with an opportunity to attend EdSymposium, SDA’s annual conference. It was there that I became passionate about SDA and the network of lasting relationships I was developing with design professionals across the country. This network and the opportunities for growth it provided made it a pleasure to serve “side-by-side” on committees. After serving as a part of the National Educational Services Committee, I found that it is truly rewarding to give back to this organization and have been a part of SDA at the local and national levels ever since. Most recently, I completed the 2021-22 term as SDA’s National President and am currently serving as the SDA Past National President.

Magen Raine: Wow, you’ve really devoted time and energy to SDA! Tell us a little more about how your team has responded to your SDA involvement and professional advancement. 

Marie: I have always felt supported and listened to. My thoughts are always welcomed as a respected part of the conversation and considered. Becoming part of a professional organization in our industry has always been wholeheartedly endorsed by my Cuningham team.

I have learned so much about working in a future-forward design firm over the years, due in part to my CDFA accreditation. I believe it has contributed to the success I have achieved in my career working in the AEC industry. 

Magen Raine: Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story with us, Marie! To wrap up, would you say that achieving your CDFA and involvement with SDA has helped you contribute to this purpose-driven environment? If so, how?

Marie: I feel honored that Cuningham has supported me – it feels like a trusted and intentional commitment in me. Cuningham values what I have learned and continue to learn through my CDFA credential. In turn, I feel that through SDA, I have become equipped to positively contribute to the purpose-driven work environment I am an active participant in. In fact, I feel invigorated and energized to contribute, and look forward to every interaction with projects and teams throughout the firm. By saying yes and supporting me, I am empowered to be an important team member.

Author: Magen Raine Gladden

Posted In: People

Magen Raine is a designer and brand professional who has spent her career workin...