Arizona State University alumna Patrice Marcolla believes in the power of positive thinking. It’s what she credits with helping her get through college, pass challenging licensure exams and get into a profession in which she’s thriving.
And it’s the basis of advice she gives to others.
“Believe in the power of a positive mindset, which seems like a simple concept but is a challenging practice to adopt,” she said.
Marcolla graduated from ASU magna cum laude in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, a minor in business from the W. P. Carey School of Business and honors from Barrett, The Honors College.
“I put my energy into believing in myself, and it has changed the way I approach challenges. When I act with confidence, it results in a stronger performance. I credit this approach to helping me pass my three national interior design licensure exams (NCIDQ) shortly after I graduated," Marcolla said. "There is a high exam-failure rate on the first attempt, but I made up my mind to pass and I succeeded on my first try. Speak your goals into existence!”
After receiving her licensure, she worked as an interior designer for master-planned and multifamily communities across the United States for several years, taking on account executive, sales and marketing roles to expand business into new markets with development groups.
She transitioned into development and construction with IDM Companies in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she works in the pre-construction department, strengthening connections among ownership, development, construction and property management teams.
She is active in the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders Group and Partnership Forum as a mentee group leader and serves as the committee chair for the local ULI2D council. She also is a member of the Multifamily/Affordable/Senior Housing (MASH) Local Product Council.
Working with Artlink, a Phoenix-based arts and culture organization, she represented the ULI2D program as a project manager for a mural installation at Arizona Public Service’s Evans Churchill Substation in downtown Phoenix.
She also designed and managed the Mahurin Room bar renovation for the 63rd Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, near Glendale, Arizona, in cooperation with Fighter Country Foundation's Luke Forward campaign. She volunteers with Barrett Honors College’s alumni group and the Sharp Construction and Girl Scouts of America's Girls Can Build initiative.
We caught up with Marcolla to get her thoughts on her experience at ASU and where she is now. Here’s what she had to say:
Question: Where did you grow up, and what brought you to ASU and Barrett, The Honors College?
Answer: I grew up in New Jersey and was looking for a new adventure for college. I applied to ASU for its renowned interior design program, within the context of a much bigger school and the opportunity for a well-rounded college experience (and escape from the cold winters back East). I was invited to apply to Barrett after applying to ASU and being the self-improvement junkie I am, loved the idea of getting a more robust education within the honors program.
Q: What are some of your favorite Barrett memories?
A: Naturally, the dining hall was definitely a favorite part of my Barrett experience. I’m a Harry Potter nerd, too, so that space was a fun inspirational retreat from the classroom settings. I also just love how the honors campus feels like its own little world.
Q: Tell us about your career path. Did Barrett play a role in your development?
A: After working over five years as an interior designer, I transitioned into a career in commercial real estate development and construction. I credit Barrett for keeping me on an upward trajectory by maintaining a strong work ethic, pushing myself and provoking my competitive nature, and shaping me into a lifelong learner. The added responsibility of Barrett Honors, and the desire to prove to myself that I deserved the honors distinction, was a huge motivator in keeping me focused during college.
Q: What is on the horizon for you now?
A: I’m focused on my personal and professional growth. I’m learning as much as I can from my mentors and peers, and getting involved and taking on responsibilities to build my experience and grow my network. This means pushing the boundaries of my current role and gaining a greater perspective of the entire development process. Outside of my company, I’m involved in a number of professional organizations at different levels — leading community-oriented programs and participating in others. My long-term focus is on becoming an effective and influential leader.
Q: What advice do you have for ASU and Barrett alumni?
A: There’s nothing more valuable than human connection. I use the word “network” loosely because it was a daunting concept to me a few years back. But building relationships, creating space for vulnerability and belonging among people of different backgrounds, disciplines, career paths, etc. is the key to finding success and happiness.
Written by Alexandra Aragon, director of academic planning and retention at Barrett, The Honors College at ASU