Paola Moya, Architect & CEO of Moya Design Partners

Paola Moya is a Colombian industry-leading Architect and the CEO of Moya Design Partners. With over 15 years of experience in the Architectural Engineering industry, she is at the top of the craft. Moya has garnered an esteemed reputation for her innovative and socially responsible designs; winning the distinguished LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) award several times during the span of her career. MOYA is comprised of a diverse team of professionals that strive to positively impact society through their people-first designs. 


Overview of Moya’s Work

After achieving her Master’s of Architecture the entrepreneur worked in her first firm, Marshall Moya Design. CEO Moya lead the firm in completing some of the most influential and renowned projects in Washington D.C. These projects include Gold Horace Mann Elementary School, the University of the District of Columbia Student Center, Audi Field, and St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena. Her team also designed the Chuck Brown Memorial Park and the interior architecture for the renovation of the city’s historic Howard Theatre. In her 15 years, she expanded the firm’s markets, cultivated partnerships, and elevated the company’s profile in the architecture and design world. 

Paola Moya founded her own firm in 2017. Moya Design Partners (MOYA), is a boutique architecture, interiors, and visual design firm offering all-inclusive designs that are completely client-focused. As the CEO and creative director, Moya oversees operations, manages a staff of 20 people, and works hard to build the business portfolio. Every day she must lead business development efforts to cultivate existing clients as well as continually network to help win new contracts. In the company’s first two years, MOYA has completed several exciting projects in the DC region and nationally, with many more on the boards. MOYA partners and staff began their training and careers throughout North America and beyond. As a collective, they find strength in diversity and being interdisciplinary; this brings an international perspective to design.   


Meaningful Accomplishments

The Architect is passionate about using her background in architecture and design to develop solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness. Moya served for the panel of Urban Land Institute’s 2018 research project on the crisis of homelessness in Los Angeles. The city has the second-highest number of homeless people, and this project served to provide insights and potential solutions to help. 

“My lifelong commitment is helping the underprivileged and those experiencing homelessness.”

This commitment was ultimately the inspiration for Moya’s master’s thesis. The business owner designed a housing solution for internally displaced people (IDPs) in her home of Colombia in the form of a mixed-use building that would leverage the benefits of a public/private partnership. Moya’s design — called the Urban Design and Mixed-Use Building for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Cartagena, Colombia — would help those who are displaced and homeless, a big crisis there. This design won the National Organization of Minority Architects’ Visionary Honor Award. Which lead to an invitation to speak about it at the first International Peace Conference in Istanbul in 2016, where she presented the design as a solution to address the worldwide crisis of IDPs.


Passionate Goals for the Future

Moya says that being a woman of color means that you must be better, faster, smarter, and more resourceful than the rest of the competition. She was raised by a risk-taking, independent, and entrepreneurial mother that exemplified the power of striving for goals. Moya’s father taught her the importance of discipline and doing things In the future, she hopes that women will receive more supports from clients, customers, and partners to grow. Government and local districts working on opening up more opportunities for women of color to present their qualifications is a key way to achieve these goals. 


Paola Moya’s “Why” 

Moya places a strong emphasis on the importance of giving back to her city and supporting local efforts to address homelessness and empower women. She does this by volunteering her time and even donating some of the firm’s architecture and graphic services to organizations that support these efforts. The Architect is a firm believer in supporting causes that address domestic violence, homelessness, and bullying; as well as support young women in the pursuit of STEM careers.  

“Thoughtful designs help improve people’s lives. With my firm’s background rooted in diversity, diligence, and service, wherever possible we pursue projects that promote women, help underprivileged communities, and provide an affordable living.”

The overarching vision that Moya has for Moya Design Partners is to design an inclusive District for all people. Doing this strengthens the city, nation, and world. Continuing to support socially impactful projects will empower everyone to achieve the American Dream. 



catera keeler

Catera is currently a student at Indiana Wesleyan University. She is studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a minor in Chinese. Catera is one of our Communication Interns who is passionate about utilizing business tools to help improve the socio-economic situation of others.

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