Leaders of the Pack 2013

Red hot entrepreneurs of 2013

Owner and architect, wUNDERground Architecture

“In school, I really loved art and I was good at math and science,” says Nancy Nienberg, founder and principal of the New York City-based architecture firm wUNDERground. “Somehow I thought architecture would make a respectable career while letting me dabble a little in what I loved… and the balance on that scale has been better than I ever could have hoped for.” Nienberg was recruited right out of Yale University for an international commercial interiors firm. “I learned a tremendous amount about designing and managing the process of architecture, but the politics of those kinds of intense projects in a young expanding office took over,” she says. So in 2002, Nienberg established wUNDERground. She explains, “My partner, Jen, encouraged me to take a leave. I honestly thought I would go right back to it, but I took a small business seminar on a whim and forged ahead with my own practice, and I have not looked back.” her advice to folks looking to set out on their own is simple. “Be brave!” she says. “When I left my old job, my mom sent me a hat that said, “never confuse having a career with having a life.” Letting what really matters in life guide you is a great mantra.”

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