If you give Leticia Canon a challenge, you can be sure she’s going to take you up on it. Whether it’s building a racecar from the ground up or running a half-marathon, Leticia, an architect and project manager in our Dallas office, feels most alive when she’s on the proving ground.

“I love a challenge,” says Leticia. “That’s why I’ve chosen architecture and healthcare as my passion and career. Being challenged on a daily basis is something that I absolutely need in my life.”

Take, for example, when a guy friend suggested that she build a racecar instead of buying one like she’d planned. At first, it seemed like a ridiculous ask – she’s a self-proclaimed girlie-girl whose eyes would glaze over at the mere mention of auto mechanics. But less than a month later, Leticia decided that she would, in fact, build her own car – just to see if she could. Not to mention the fact that she likes to do things that no one expects of her.

“When I was 15 and learning to drive, I would fail the part of the practice test that involved knowing where the parts of the car were every time,” she says. “When I called my dad to tell him I wanted to build a racecar, he said, ‘Leticia, you don’t know anything about cars.’”

But not knowing anything about cars didn’t stop her – she learned all she needed to know over the next nine months while outfitting her 2004 Mazda RX-8 with a LS1 5.7L V-8 Corvette engine.

“I had grease under my nails and nasty hands,” she says. “I dumped a lot of time and money into it, and it was frustrating at times, but I remember the day that we turned the car on for the first time. It was the most amazing feeling to hear that engine start.”

Growing up, Leticia had always been tough. “I drove a farm truck out on gravel roads when I worked in the cotton fields,” she says.

When you grow up in Texas, you learn the meaning of manual labor.

Now in her mid-30s, she’s still looking for her next challenge.

“A co-worker once said to me that I couldn’t be considered a runner until I ran three half-marathons in one year,” she says. “I told her that I would do that, and more. So I ran four half-marathons. And then I decided to renovate my house. I did 90 percent of the work myself, with the help of family.”

Her love of a challenge extends to her work at CannonDesign. With an MBA and a Master’s degree in architecture, Leticia started with FKP Architects as an intern and worked her way up to project manager. “Managing projects and meeting the expectations of challenging clients is a strength of mine because I set such high expectations for myself,” she says. “I’m also really passionate about mentoring other people. I’d like training and mentoring to be my legacy.”

As much fun as she has reaching goals, Leticia also hopes that it makes her a great team player.

“I want to get down in the dirt and dig in with everybody else,” she says. “I see myself as the orchestra leader. I need to be able to play all of the parts so that I understand how they work together. I want to be the maestro who plays every instrument.”