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Honoree Headshot
Jill Heneghan

Traci O'Bryan

Chief Executive Officer

Location: St. Louis, MO
Founded: 1977
Industry: Architecture & Design

Work-life balance is ingrained in the culture of Arcturis, in part because Traci O’Bryan insisted on it.

As a senior designer/project manager at the firm, she quit to stay home with her firstborn child. A few months later, Arcturis offered O’Bryan to become a principal and shareholder, but she would need to return to work 32 hours a week. O’Bryan declined. The Arcturis leadership found ways to keep O’Bryan connected to the firm until she returned, once her children were older. And today, O’Bryan runs the company as its CEO.

“I felt the need to follow this path with my children,” O’Bryan said. “And I believed when the time was right, I would continue my career path. I do believe in fate, however, as the founder of Arcturis, Pat Whitaker, was a visionary for the working mother and continued to offer and find ways for me to stay connected to the firm and be at home with my very young children through their very early years. Eventually, I came back to the firm full time as my children grew but only because Arcturis and Pat continuously were open to working with the individual to find ways to balance family and work. As the leader of Arcturis today, we continue to try to practice what Pat set forth decades ago.”

Arcturis is an architecture and design firm focused mainly on commercial design with a team of architects, interior designers, graphic designers, landscape architects, strategists and planners. The company’s primary markets are corporate, office, higher education, health and wellness.

After being named president in 2010, O’Bryan led the company through a rebuilding process post-recession. Part of her focus then was how to expand the company on a national scale. Today, the firm serves 48 states.

O’Bryan serves on several boards, including the Regional Business Council, the Greater STL Investors Advisory Board, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Forest Park Forever and Affinia Healthcare Foundation. She served as president for three years on the St. Louis Community College Foundation board. During that time, the Foundation performed a feasibility study, which led to a $22 million fundraising campaign followed by a $350 million tax initiative to help transform the five college campuses for the future.

O’Bryan is also a founding member of Affinia Healthcare’s Community Foundation Board and current board chair. She has chaired the YMCA Annual Fund Campaign twice.

“We want to create an environment where people work on high-quality design projects but also know that we value aspects of life outside of Arcturis,” O’Bryan said. “Family and other aspects of life are important, and employees appreciate this. Yes, it is hard to create this culture, but it is possible.”

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In another life, Traci would love to be a novelist while running a quaint boutique countryside inn.

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