International Women's Day: Recognizing Emily Teng Yan and Selina Cinecio

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s achievements and highlighting the new role models in our society. At OMNIPLAN, we have women that are taking the world by storm, and today we’d like to show some love to two amazing ladies. Emily Teng Yan and Selina Cinecio are both actively involved in the Girl Scouts Cookie Box Creations to mentor 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls at Robert T. Hill Middle School to teach them how to transform an ordinary cookie box into a piece of art. Both Emily and Selina have served in leadership roles for the past five years, including this year. Last year the team won first place which meant that the girls were able to display their structure at the STEM Center of Excellence. Each year the teams are given a theme and this year was famous female authors. The girls chose Frances Hodgson Burnett who wrote The Secret Garden. The Girl Scout Program will partner groups of middle school to high school age girls with local architects and engineers to turn empty cookie boxes into structures. This is a chance for the volunteers to introduce STEM skills and critical thinking tools to the girls as they strengthen their team-building abilities. 


This weekend, the team finished build day and now the cookie box creations will be on display for the next six weeks at the Galleria Dallas. Everyone can vote for “People’s Choice Award.” At the end of the three weeks, all the teams will meet again at the Galleria Dallas for the Tear-Down Ceremony where they will announce the first, second and third place winners. Until then, you can vote online for our team here >>


We asked Emily and Selina about their experience as leaders and mentors to these girls and here is what they said:

 What is the most rewarding part of Girl Scouts Cookie Box Creations?

Emily: “Working with the middle school girls and Shelly (Hill MS staff) has been the most rewarding part of Girl Scouts. It’s amazing to building relationships where you can meet girls and their sisters who previously participated in Cookie Box Creation. There’s a real dedication and pride that these ladies put into their work. “

 Selina: “Also because we work with the same team each year, it is great to see a shy 6th grader grow and develop their personality to become a confident and even outspoken 8th grader. We are so proud when they return as high schoolers to catch up and see the new team progress. Our first group of girls will be graduating high school this May!”

 What is the most surprising part?

Emily: “Seeing the vision of the cookie box creation come together. Each year, we try new ideas of how to transform these boxes into different shapes and themes.“

 Selina: “I agree. I feel like every year no matter how much planning we do beforehand, the final product is always better in real life than in our minds. And it is amazing how much work gets done the day before!”

 How have you grown from this experience?

Emily: “I’ve learned how to get out of my comfort zone. Meeting new girls and starting a trusting relationship each year is a lot of work. This has taught me how to communicate more effectively and challenge my design skills. On top of that, I’ve learned to laugh more and just enjoy being with the middle school girls. “

 Selina: “I have learned to relieve some of my controlling tendencies, which in turn has increased my patience levels. A lot of the times I find myself taking a step back to allow the girls to make a mistake, so that we can learn from it after. In the past I would have tried to correct them immediately.”

Outside of work, these girls are often donating their time to other community events like hearts and hammers, Retrospect, CANstruction, and Bark+Build. Selina is the most involved community leaders in our firm, having lead multiple events including Girl Scouts Cookie Box Creations for the last 5 years as well as CANstruction and Retrospect. At work, she is just as committed. Selina is a dedicated individual joining the firm in 2013, she quickly became an important team member with a tremendous amount of talent-- especially with her technical ability. Selina enjoys the retail market, having worked on some of our award-winning projects including Baybrook Mall, Oakbrook Center, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk as well as our most recently completed project, La Plaza Mall.In addition to her retail experience, she also worked on the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum which is now under construction.

Emily is always ready to help anyone that asks, with a humble and gracious attitude. In addition to her continual work with the Girl Scouts, she is passionate about mentoring younger aspiring architects in the firm as they undertake their ARE exams, providing resources, tips and tricks and study groups. Emily is a hard worker and has been actively involved in some of the largest projects in the office including the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and Highland Park Village Building G, which are both under construction. Currently, she is working on Highland Park Presbyterian Church, one of the largest projects in the office. As a Dallas native and artist on the side, Emily is passionate about the arts’ role in the city. She has participated in Artist vs. Architect, winning “Best Architect”, and was involved in the Leadership Arts Institute with the Business Council for the Arts in 2016.

 We couldn’t be more proud of these women as they charge forward in our firm, in their careers and in our community. They leave a wake of inspiration in their path as they exhibit true leadership and dedication. This is what a role model looks like.

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