Ticco: What do you feel sets you apart from other historic preservationists?
Raina Regan: I bring empathy to my historic preservation practice. Given the often-negative connotation with historic preservation, I try to connect and build trust with my property owners I work with through empathy. I think by listening to property owners and understanding their perspective, we can better tailor our preservation approach. I always try to understand their perspective and goals for their property and help guide them through to a positive result – both for their needs of the property they own, but also the historic resource as well. I’ve been able to successfully use this approach for several years now and connect with property owners of all types of backgrounds in a positive way.
Ticco: What are you currently exploring through Uplifting Preservation?
Raina Regan: Working in the historic preservation profession is a purpose-driven career, regardless of which sector of preservation you work. From preservation planners, regulators, and nonprofit advocates — we inherently believe in the preservation of our cultural heritage as a construct of our world-view. Our work as preservationists can place us in contentious situations which can feel like an attack on our personal identity and morals. Moreover, many preservation projects require years of patience and resilience before a place is saved and preserved. How do we manage these complex emotions in a productive way that helps us avoid feelings of burnout?
The latest issue of Uplifting Preservation dives into how we can become mindful preservationists through an examination of How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind by Dr. Leah Weiss. In it, Weiss shares her practical, evidence-based strategies for practicing mindfulness at work in order to maintain focus on our purpose and outlines research that supports the claim that having a strong sense of purpose can make your job more satisfying. According to Raina, "while we have a clear purpose as historic preservation professionals, we can still struggle to maintain that focus in the midst of a long-term, challenging project." Read the latest issue and access past issues here.