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Embracing Variety: Q&A with Ivy Tsai

“Variety is the spice of life,” is a motto that resonates with Ivy Tsai, design manager at Gray. After traveling the globe to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, for a year between graduation and beginning her career, she knew that her future role needed to challenge and excite her. 


Luckily, she found Gray, and embarked on a new adventure at the Gray South Atlantic office—and has enjoyed every step of her journey. We spoke with Tsai about her role with the company and what makes Gray a special place.   


Tell me about your career arc and what led you to Gray?  


I started at Gray in 2017 as an architectural technician in the Gray South Atlantic office, after graduating with my degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. When I started, I was one of four design team members. Now, there are more than 20 design team members in the office, and we’ve moved spaces more than once to accommodate our exponential growth. My Gray experience has been rich, with ample technical growth and diverse opportunities.  


Describe your normal workday or your “day in the life.”    


My role as a design manager is mainly overseeing the project, delegating tasks, coordinating with various disciplines and team members, and addressing customer requests. I spend considerable time organizing meetings, conducting reviews, and ensuring alignment between project goals and financials. It’s a dynamic role that requires adaptability and effective communication within the team.  


In one word or phrase, how would you describe Gray?  


Family. Even with how much we have grown, there is still that familial vibe and genuine relationships that are formed. 

What do you enjoy most about working at Gray?  


I like that there’s never a dull day. There’s a variety of things to experience and learn, as well as an environment that is nurturing to growth. If there’s a day that feels overwhelming, I know I can rely on my team for support. 


What do you think sets Gray apart from other service providers in the industry?  


Gray’s commitment to its core values stands out to me. The company actively fosters a culture of continuous improvement and inclusivity, which resonates throughout the organization. Additionally, Gray prioritizes employee growth and provides tangible opportunities for advancement and development. 


What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever been given?  


One piece of advice that has stuck with me is the notion of continuous learning and growth. The quote from Howard Gray that “When you’re green, you’re growing—when you’re ripe, you rot,” emphasizes the importance of remaining curious and open-minded throughout your career. 

"Gray actively fosters a culture of continuous improvement and inclusivity, which resonates throughout the organization."
Ivy Tsai, Design Manager

Gray AE

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Month—how do you feel Gray supports and promotes diversity? 


I feel Gray team members are very accommodating and curious about other cultures. Gray is extremely accepting of all the diverse team members, and I love how people ask questions and seem genuinely interested in your unique culture and traditions. 


Does your family observe any Taiwanese traditions? 


We celebrate occasions like Thanksgiving with Taiwanese Hot Pot instead of turkey. Additionally, there are cultural festivals like Lunar New Year and the Moon Festival, featuring special dishes and community activities.   


What do you do in your spare time?  


I’m usually reading between 8-10 books at a time—I need variety! I also discovered and am actively training in aerial arts, which consists of silks, trapeze, and other apparatuses that are inspired by circus and acrobatics. I love that I can work out and condition without having to actively think about doing it and all the while having tons of fun sequencing different moves. 

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