Linda Marzialo, AIA, ACHA
President & CEO
Gould Turner Group, PC
Linda Marzialo has spent most of her professional career in healthcare ... but not in the way she originally intended.
"Most of my life, including all the way through undergrad, I thought I wanted to be a doctor," Marzialo explained. "Somewhere in that process, though, I realized I longed for a more creative outlet. My desire to merge science, math and art led me to architecture ... and architecture in Nashville led me to healthcare architecture."
Originally from New York, she arrived in Nashville at the age of 17 to attend Vanderbilt University where she majored in physics and minored in math. Her plan was to go to medical school before that fateful art elective made her completely rethink her future.
After graduation, she began to look for any type of job with area architecture firms to see if that's where her heart truly was. Marzialo enrolled in Nashville State at night to take drafting classes and landed a minimum wage delivery job with a firm that allowed her to come in on weekends to draw. As she continued to hone her skills, Marzialo completed apprenticeships and passed all her boards the first time to become a licensed architect.
During the process, she landed a full-time drafting job, and then began to coordinate projects, and then to run them. "I kept getting promoted. This really was something I was meant to do," she said.
Arriving at Gould Turner in 1980, Marzialo became a registered architect in 1985. She was made partner not long after Mike Gould left the firm for health reasons. "When Steve retired in 2005, I became president and CEO. I tell people here I've had every job there is in a firm from the very, very bottom to the top. I think it gives me a unique perspective."
She credits Mike Gould and Steve Turner for being willing to take a chance on her, but it's an investment that continues to pay dividends by keeping alive the founders' vision to create functional, beautiful, healing spaces. Under Marzialo's leadership, the architectural, interior design and planning firm consistently ranks among the top 50 healthcare design firms in the nation.
Marzialo said Gould was an extraordinary healthcare architect. "Mike was a terrific role model for me in terms of professional practice, developing client relationships and in understanding healthcare design," she said. That solid foundation has helped her embrace the complex and dynamic nature that comes with healthcare architecture.
"Creating an aesthetically beautiful facility that meets a vast array of codes and regulations and is functionally and operationally efficient, within an often restrictive budget, is no small feat," she said with a laugh. "You have to have a passion for it." And she does. "I love the fact that what I do is so meaningful and has such a positive impact on people's lives. Healthcare design touches patients, families, and caregivers ... each in a unique way."
Marzialo loves the collaborative nature of architecture, enjoying the energy and varying viewpoints required to find best practice solutions for complex problems. Another passion is reaching out to engage the next generation of architects. Given her unique background, Marzialo said she welcomes the opportunity to teach. She's also very active in her professional organizations, serving on the Tennessee board of the American Institute of Architects and as president of the Middle Tennessee chapter.
Always happy to mentor young architects, she said her personal role model is her husband Michael, who also happens to be a talented architect. "Michael has helped me to see the design possibilities in everything I do and has always been my 'go-to' standard for doing the right thing," she said.
Despite their twin careers, the couple didn't meet through work. Michael, a Connecticut native, was visiting Nashville with his musician brother when he met Linda at a concert. She laughingly said she wasn't sure if he ultimately moved to Nashville for her or the city's music scene ... but it worked out either way. Married for more than 30 years, their son Nicholas now lives in Chicago and daughter Lin is preparing for grad school after recently graduating from Furman.
"I love hiking, outdoor activities, travel and continual learning ... and I like all of that best when my family is part of it," Marzialo concluded.
Spoken like a true team player.