Our recently formed NEXT council is an empowered group of employees — including architects, engineers, marketers, business developers, and even a lawyer — who are charged with acting as catalysts for change. By advancing ideas and innovations from frontline designers to the firm’s top levels, they advocate for the next generation of CannonDesigners. The inaugural NEXT council members have hit the ground running: their varied expertise and experiences are already funneling new ideas to management and they’re doubling down on their commitment to act as a voice for employees from Montreal to Mumbai and everywhere in between. Meet the nine people who are leading the charge.


L to R: Max, Susan, Jaime, Supina, Nadine, Allison, Leslie, Cory

Jaime Ervin
One of our resident legal experts, Jaime brings extensive knowledge in risk management, contract negotiations, and compliance issues to NEXT council – but don’t write her off as a stuffy lawyer type. She describes herself as “Grape Nuts in the office, Fruit Loops at home” and is a creative problem solver who isn’t happy unless there is at least a plan C.

Cory Gionet
Cory is a commissioning engineer by day and MBA student by night, with an emerging role in client engagement and business development, making him – as you might guess – a very busy guy. But that doesn’t stop him from committing his time and talent to NEXT council, where he harnesses skills learned in commissioning (meaning: getting multiple parties with different agendas and goals to come to consensus) to activate transformation and innovation at CannonDesign.

Leslie Griffin
Leslie is a highly competitive and deadline-driven CannonDesigner of four years who manages our marketing efforts in the mid-Atlantic region. She joined NEXT council to bring a renewed focus on growth of not only the firm, but of individual CannonDesigners who are teeming with fresh ideas and new energy (which leads to more growth, of course). A former organic vegetable farmer who calls herself a “fairly typical Aries,” Leslie always has one goal in mind: ensuring we make it to the shortlist.

Susan Johnson
Susan is relatively new to CannonDesign, having joined in early 2015 as an engineering manager in our DC office. She is invested in using NEXT council as a platform for continuous engagement in the strategic direction of the firm, and exploring how we evolve with the industry and sustain over time. Susan is a natural born optimist who values simplicity and clarity, making her a natural fit for our next generation of leaders.

Max Komnenich
Max is an architect in our Chicago healthcare studio who has been with the firm for about four and a half years. He is particularly interested in how we can incorporate cutting-edge research and technologies into every bit of work we do. As a member of NEXT council, Max brings a fresh perspective on day-to-day life as a CannonDesigner, as well as a bit of fun and the spirit of experimentation. He also occasionally plays with LEGOs at work.

Supina Mapon
No one describes NEXT council better than Supina, an ambitious leader in our Advisory Services Group. “It’s an incubator to test ideas and encourage disruptive thinking around what design is and can be,” she explains. Considering that for the last five years she has helped build advisory services from essentially a start-up team of three to a robust and integral part of the firm, we think Supina knows a thing or two about the power of disruption. When she’s not working on an assortment of projects, pursuits and process improvement initiatives, she is spending time with her ridiculously cute one-year-old daughter, Isabel, and crushing her competition in “useless” games like horseshoes and Battleship.

Allison Mendez
A fierce champion of design excellence, Allison joined NEXT council to further invigorate the spirit of design culture within the firm and encourage fellow CannonDesigners to find time to innovate and create. From her vantage point in our St. Louis office, Allison sees opportunities to share our work (including the off-the wall, progressive or slightly unattainable ideas) with each other regularly and start to explore how to make really interesting ideas more visible. When she isn’t pioneering change and innovation, Allison can be found shredding on Pachelbel’s Canon (she’s trained in classical guitar) and admiring the design aesthetics of the Toblerone candy bar.

 Nadine Quirmbach
“I’m pretty passionate, or intense as some might claim, and put a lot of heart into anything I do,” says Nadine Quirmbach, which makes her an excellent addition to the NEXT council. With eight years under her belt as a CannonDesigner, Nadine joined NEXT to explore how we can push the boundaries of what it means to be an architectural firm in the 21st century and challenge ourselves to think outside traditional models. When asked if she was a dog person or a cat person Nadine replied: “I’m a person person” — and we are totally grateful for that.

Sara Schonour
Sara has been with CannonDesign for almost nine years, beginning as an intern and working her way up to leading our Lighting Design Studio. In terms of serving on NEXT council, Sara sees a rich opportunity to be a voice and agent of progress in the firm. Her life as a lighting designer means she is equal parts creative and analytical, and Sara also brings a sense of diplomacy to the NEXT council — all of which will come in handy in defining what the next generation looks like for CannonDesign.

We are looking forward to what comes NEXT…