Growing up Amy Finchem Conley observed her father’s work as a senior professional in the construction industry. She took interest in this male dominant field at a time when opportunities for women in construction were slowly growing, despite the challenges and existing biases held by some in the workforce. Amy confronted those challenges head-on early in her career with positions in construction management, engineering, and design.
Translating them into motivation and ultimately her success, she earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture. Today, Amy is the Founding Principal + Director of Design of TILT 23 Studios, a full-service residential design firm. She is a multi-disciplinary designer and activist dedicated to breaking down barriers within the profession. Recognized as an innovator, her 23-year career includes professional and community service and accolades including 13 People to Watch in 2013; 2014 Distinguished Women in Nevada; and recipient of the 18b Arts District service recognition award.
Turning Challenges into Positive Energy and Make It Happen
Prior to starting her company, Amy found herself doing the work she loved in an environment that was highly toxic. Never one to shy away from a fight against injustice, she took a stand in an effort to promote equality, respect and professionalism. Upon the realization that the changes she fought for still fell short of the workplace culture she was seeking, she decided to leave the company. Fueled by her desire to create an uplifting atmosphere she channeled her frustration into aspiration that would launch her upward. And she isn’t holding back.
Today, she leads a team of designers and works closely with clients to craft luxury homes that are unique representations of each client’s personality, lifestyle, and vision. Her design inspiration comes from her construction background, her love of structural steel, and passion for detail and craft. The use of texture and materiality define architectural works that are timeless, distinctive, and respectful of their environmental context and the climates in which they are located.
Rising Out of the Ashes through Giving Back to the Community
Amy worked her way through college while raising her children as a single parent. She gained invaluable knowledge and experience during her tenure at prominent architecture firms, but it was the mentorship extended to her that she held closest to her heart. Practicing commercial architecture in the Las Vegas Valley when the Great Recession hit, Amy and most of her industry colleagues were laid off for a number of years. Rather than sit idle, Amy founded the non-profit organization COLAB LV which facilitated collaboration amongst local architects, artists, designers and city officials to bring grass roots, community projects to fruition.
Working with local officials she spearheaded the ‘Young Guns’ design competition to recognize up-and- coming design professionals. This exposure helped propel and inspire numerous participants to successfully launch their own practices. COLAB also initiated the ‘Women in Architecture and Design’ exhibit and lecture series which created a forum to discuss challenges women were facing while shedding light on topics of equality, social justice, and celebration of women within the profession. In addition to her efforts at COLAB, Amy volunteered for four years and provided pro bono design services to the Community Garden in Downtown Las Vegas.
Success Equals Mentorship
Amy defines success in terms of her ability to lift up others. Through the establishment of TILT 23 Studios she has created the work environment she long sought but never found. One in which every voice matters and every member of the team is equally valued. One that supports young people and women while providing exceptional quality of life opportunities. Achieving this level in her career, Amy is finally paying forward the mentorship she’s received by fostering and leading the next generation of diverse, young professionals.
Into the Future
With luxury, multi-million-dollar residential projects under design and construction in premier locations including La Jolla, Reno, and Las Vegas, TILT 23 Studios is truly on the rise. When asked for her advice to others who are faced with adversity or toxic situations, Amy states, “You can either choose to fight those injustices or trying situations with more negativity or use it as inspiration and momentum to launch you toward achieving your dreams.”