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Sabret Flocos, founding partner of FOX Architects (fourth-largest design firm in the DC area), marked her firm's 10th anniversary in 2013. When she started her career, women made up less than 50% of the design industry, and few were in leadership roles. There are “all of these exceptionally smart, brilliant women” who “shrivel up” in a leadership role due to a lack of confidence, she says. So, when Bob Fox asked if she wanted to start her own firm, she didn't hesitate. Today, Sabret is a role model and mentor to the designers at FOX and those she encounters through March of Dimes (as a board chair), CREW, and NAIOP. Despite her extensive accomplishments (client such as Oracle, AvalonBay, and US Government), she still needs to wake up four out of five days telling herself, “All right girl, you can do this!”

Back to the beginning: Sabret grew up on a ranch in Colorado. At the height of the ranch operations, there were 52 race horses, and she was exposed to the financial components of running a business, as well as how to manage living beings, which all have different needs. She attended Colorado State on a partial swim scholarship with the goal of becoming a large animal vet. Sabret soon discovered that her passion lay elsewhere, which is how she wound up in DC in ’89 taking a job at Eaton Design Group as a draftsman—yes, Mylar and ink, no CAD. Sabret and her husband have a 14-year-old son, an 11-year-old daughter, and a year-old puppy. The family spends the weekends building a house in Hume, Va.