Thank you, Jeannie Ayres!

Longtime former office manager Jeannie taught us the value of individual recognition and appreciation

February 16, 2022
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In celebration of #FinegoldAlexander55, we are looking back on our firm’s history, recognizing those who made it possible for us to get to where we are today. One standout employee who embodied the Finegold Alexander spirit of collegiality, Jean Ayres served as office manager, receptionist, secretary, sometimes bookkeeper and office greeter. Jeannie’s career at Finegold Alexander Architects spanned over 30 years, during which time she welcomed everyone that came to our door with warmth, enthusiasm and sincere interest.

Jeannie wore many hats in her role including document production. With no computers and word processing, document production--known as typing with carbons (if you needed copies)—was a delicate act because mistakes caused grief to correct. In those pre-cell-phone days, Jeannie also fielded every phone call, patching callers through to the studios with trademark speed.

Perhaps most notably, Jeannie was often seen carrying a gray plaid hat box to the Finegold Alexander offices. Nestled inside was the birthday cake of the day, because it became her custom, whatever the weather, to bake up a birthday cake for that individual. Invariably, the event would attract a whole group of people to partake in a singing of Happy Birthday to the birthday celebrant.

Jeannie, the baker extraordinaire she was, pictured with one of her many birthday cakes she whipped up (L)

These days, emails, pdf’s and electronic communications have replaced “typing carbons;” while a dedicated receptionist is no longer required to maintain the flow of people and information in a hybrid environment. What becomes of office culture in the face of such progress? Jeannie’s example at Finegold Alexander continues to remind us that nothing can replace a thoughtful deed and kind word to a colleague. We value her lesson that individual recognition—and establishing a work community where everyone is both seen and heard—is of the utmost importance. Today Finegold Alexander has many practices in place to ensure that Jeannie’s legacy of kindness and mutual respect is thriving, including a long-term mentoring program; weekly firm-wide Friday presentations where individuals present both design work and personal passions; and individual firm anniversary shout-outs, to name a few.

Jeannie’s impact on the firm cannot be understated. Even today, decades later, you still hear stories of admiration about Jeannie and the lasting impression she made on those lucky enough to have worked with her. Thank you, Jeannie Ayres, for celebrating and recognizing us for so many years running. Your tradition of caring is alive and well here at Finegold Alexander!