Black History Month: Conversations with Valarie

Feb 2, 2022 | Blog

Valarie Franklin is an award-winning architect, author and servant leader who combines insight, empathy and creativity to make impactful contributions to her industry and community. She is a native Nashvillian committed to forging equitable paths for young professionals.

Valarie is a Tuskegee University graduate with over 21 years of experience and a portfolio of corporate, healthcare, religious and institutional architectural design. For two years, Valarie was an adjunct professor at ITT Technical Institute. During this time, she worked at Gresham Smith as an associate and project architect for nearly six years. While at ITT Tech, Valarie had the pleasure of teaching Chuck Isbell, a Young Leaders Society board member. Together, Chuck and Valarie chaired and led a successful United Way campaign at Gresham Smith.

Valarie is currently senior associate and client relations manager at Moody Nolan, a United Way corporate partner. As the nation’s largest African American-owned and operated design firm, Moody Nolan has a keen knowledge of cultural sensitivities and deep understanding of the firm’s impact.

As a citizen architect, Valarie strives to be an asset to our community and address challenges that affect equitable development and affordable housing. She serves on the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency design review committee and the board of directors for AIA Tennessee and the Civic Design Center. Valarie is founding member and immediate past president of NOMAnash, a local chapter of the National Organization for Minority Architects.

“Valarie is a shining example of perseverance and determination to create her own success, but also to ensure that those following behind her have a path to success as well,” said Katherine Williams, a fellow AIA and NOMA member.

In our four-part Back History Month video series­­–presented by Moody Nolan and our Young Leaders Society– Valarie provides insight about her professional journey, advocacy and current design projects.

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Part I – Valarie’s leadership and advocacy fosters spaces that uplift Black architects.

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Part II – Valarie shares the significance of NMAAMs iconic Amplify store, as well as her work with YMCA of Middle Tennessee, a United Way partner agency.

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Part III – Learn how the Moody Nolan team is helping our neighbors in Chattanooga to restore their community.

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Part IV – Greenwood, also known as Black Wall Street, was built in the early 20th century. Learn how Valarie and her colleagues are helping Greenwood foster their vibrancy and legacy.

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Check out Valarie’s recent podcast interview with AIA Middle Tennessee.