Design Leader II

Houston, Texas, United States

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CannonDesign has an exciting opportunity for a Design Leader II based in our Houston or Dallas Office.  We’re a firm motivated by our Living-Centered Design ethos to push boundaries and invent new ways to best achieve our clients’ goals. If you think your skills and experience, make you a good match for this position, we’d love to hear from you.


CannonDesign is an integrated design solutions firm focused on helping people continuously flourish. Whether designing for innovations in health, new scientific discoveries, equity in education or the next big idea in business, we use our Living-Centered Design approach to help organizations realize widespread change. Our ability to design transformational places, plans and strategies is why Fast Company named us a World Changing Company and one of the most innovative design firms in the world.


We are a seeking senior level creative leader who has the skills, experience and reputation that reflects the importance of this role in our design practice. You will be responsible for the successful implementation of our goal to be one of the most innovative, creative, and highly regarded design firms in the world. You will be an integral part of the office leadership team. You will help nurture and develop the people and culture of the office and be a leading voice for design excellence firm wide and to the outside world.


Your primary responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Participating in the leadership of the markets, be a voice in its evolution, culture and integration across the firm and help to define its new place in the industry.
  • Perform in a lead design role in all phases of project design with a focus on strategy, visioning, programming, conceptual design, design development, while also guiding detailing, documentation, and FF&E.
  • Create innovative design concepts that synthesize our clients’ culture, goals, and aspirations to deliver solutions responsive specifically to them. Guide the design through all phases, with particular emphasis on early development.
  • Prepare and direct the preparation of client presentation materials to convey the design in a compelling and sophisticated manner. Lead design presentations, with an emphasis on storytelling and aiding client understanding of the design. Capture and communicate key client goals and metrics and how our design solutions add value to our clients’ success. Collaborate with marketing and communications team to build strong narratives of our work.
  • Work within our culture of being an integrated practice by collaborating with technical leaders and employing sensitive consideration of systems design in holistic solutions.
  • Integrate performance-based and sustainable design strategies into design solutions.
  • Engage in activities that strengthen, differentiate, and promote our brand locally, regionally, and nationally. Publishing our projects in design and market-specific media outlets, as well as other potential opportunities for publication such as articles on research and innovation is expected. You will be expected to regularly submit and successfully win design awards. Presentation at and contribution to conferences is encouraged for our top design leaders.

Partner with us in creating a strong design culture and practice in the office and the firm. You will be responsible for:

  • Mentoring and growing emerging professionals toward future creative leadership. You will assist in nurturing an environment that exemplifies collaboration, experimentation, innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.
  • Creating a stimulating and rewarding environment that sets the tone for design excellence and demonstrates it across the firm.
  • Recruiting and retaining design talent.
  • Empowering staff and delegating effectively; building high-performance teams by encouraging innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Provoking critical thinking and critique of our work.
  • Leading by example, pursuing and winning design work that represents our future selves and advancing our Living-Centered Design philosophy.

  • You will be responsible for developing and maintaining client relationships; building client trust and loyalty; and collaborating in bringing in work. You will be expected to build upon CannonDesign’s legacy clients as well as your own prior relationships for these purposes. You will seek out and identify new client opportunities for CannonDesign in collaboration with the business development and marketing teams. 
  • We would expect you to capitalize upon your existing network, CannonDesign’s client base and experience, and expand the business potential and profile (brand) of the firm by pre-positioning CannonDesign for opportunities in our Core Markets. At CannonDesign, marketing and business development is a team effort and as someone at one of the highest levels of leadership in the firm, you will have the role and expectation to both lead and support activities in the market, the office, and the firm.  In some instances, these efforts will cross markets and regions. You will have a goal of contributing to top line success with an expectation of $1M in net signed fees in the first 12 months and $2M in successive years, in collaboration with your partner practice and market leaders.


  • Qualified candidates must have a bachelor's in architecture.  Master's in architecture preferred.
  • Current US Architectural Registration preferred.
  • 15 years minimum experience in a design leadership role, of which a minimum of 3 years are leading others in a design studio or design practice segment required.
  • Additional accreditation and/or training relevant to this role is preferred, including LEED.
  • Design portfolio of significant built and unbuilt work. Third party recognition of your work as a lead designer by local, regional, or national design awards programs and recognized design publications or digital platforms is required.
  • Strong communication, presentation, and leadership skills required.
  • Must have business acumen and proven ability to define and execute strategy.
  • Must have professional acumen and maturity demonstrated by the ability to communicate authentically and respectfully.
  • Travel required. 


  • We are relentless in our pursuit of client adoration (not simply satisfaction). Consistent delivery of the best service is what we are about.
  • We are committed to ensuring our practice is equitable for all employees, representative of the communities around us – and focused on the future of design. We advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts through the leadership of our DEI Council, Employee Resource Groups and other community advocacy initiatives.
  • We’re about communication and transparency here. If you want to talk to someone about an idea you have, or a challenge that needs addressing, we’re ready for you.
Please note that candidates can only apply to our positions on our company Careers site. It's not uncommon for scammers to create positions that look legitimate on other sites; never enter your information or apply for CannonDesign positions on any platform. Should an issue arise that you feel we should be aware of, please contact us. Please provide your resume and portfolio when applying.As a condition of employment, all employees are expected to complete mandatory training, including compliance training, within required timeframes and adhere to our internal policies and our Code of Conduct.
CannonDesign recognizes the value of diversity in our workforce. We are committed to equal opportunity. We consider all qualified employment applicants without regard to race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, partnership status, protected veteran status, disability, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law. Individuals who hold legal work authorization applicable to employment at CannonDesign in the United States will be considered without regard to citizenship/alienage.