Architect ‘slays’ field dominated by men

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Illustration by Estefania B. Alonso

Architecture firm owner will speak about her success.

By Samantha L. Alonso

This college will host a lecture by Madeline Slay, owner and president of Slay Architecture, 9:25-10:45 a.m. March 28 in Room 218 of the nursing complex.

March is Women’s History Month, and Slay will be speaking about women thriving in nontraditional fields.

Slay designed and oversaw the construction of the public safety headquarters for the city of San Antonio, a Whole Foods market at the Vineyard, a development on four acres on the Natural Bridge Caverns land and Oppenheimer Academic Center on this campus.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make 82 percent of a male’s wage in the architecture industry, and a total of 82.5 percent of a male’s wage for all career types.

Slay was unaware as a child how architecture is a male-dominated industry and was surprised when she went to school and was only one of a few women in a classroom made up of men.

“As a woman, you cannot have a chip on your shoulder,” Slay said in a phone interview Feb. 26. “Men will respect you. My biggest clients are men. … It’s empowering. … Women can do anything we want. We can rule the world if we want to.”

Slay, who had been exposed to construction since she was a young girl, has owned her architecture firm for 16 years.

“There are not a lot of women that own firms in San Antonio,” she said. “From when I started, there is half a dozen of us and they’ve all been around as long as I have so I am not seeing a huge change there, but I am seeing more women in big firms holding different positions.”

Slay earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental design at Texas A&M University and has offices in San Antonio and in Laredo.

Along with running two offices, Slay was elected to the city council in Balcones Heights in 2012 and served on the board of directors for the city of Balcones Heights Planning and Zoning Commission. She later became chair of the commission.

“I’m an architect and I own my own business and I’m successful. … I don’t get work because I’m a woman. I get work because I do a damn good job,” Slay said.

Call 210-486-0455 or email


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