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POWERFUL: Women Leading Design

Tuesday 24 Mar 2015

AIA|LA hosted the 2015 POWERFUL: Women Leading Design symposium

POWERFUL: Women Leading Design by WAN Editorial
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Last month Annenberg Space for Photography hosted the 2015 POWERFUL: Women Leading Design symposium. The event was organized by the American Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles – AIA|LA. The symposium featured an inspirational and energetic series of presentations that showcased women who are leading the design profession in architecture, art, social impact and innovation in the city of Angels.

A diverse array of women professionals shared insight about their achievements in art and design, as well as, a greater understanding of the challenges they had to overcome relative the notorious glass ceiling of the architecture and design profession.

Motivated by The American Institute of Architects’ effort to re-position itself as a more equitable organization, AIA|LA has coordinated this design symposium to highlight best practices in women leadership in design. The symposium also served as a forum to hear from emerging professionals who are currently navigating the pathway towards a successful career.

It is worthy to mention that even though 50% of architecture graduates in the US are women, they only comprise 18% of the profession and only 12% of women architects are partners in their firms. 

Some of the themes that were discussed:

What is it like to be a woman working in architecture today?

How can architecture firms attract, retain and promote more women?

Why are women leaving the profession?

Does it matter to the client?


Participants experienced an inspirational and energetic series of presentations, showcasing women who are leading the design profession in architecture, art, social impact and innovation in Los Angeles. The speakers shared their personal histories from sole practitioners and principals from a diverse range of firm sizes, structures, and specialties.

WAN was present at the event and is sharing with you a few quotes from some of the main speakers of the day:

“Women are well suited for the demands of being a designer, and enrich the process and outcomes with their perspective and ideas.”  Heidi Creighton, Associate and Sustainability Consultant, Buro Happold Los Angeles and remote jury member of the WAN Sustainable Building of the Year Awards 2014 

“I have looked at my career more like a creative journey on a jungle gym as opposed to climbing the ladder or a lattice.  A jungle gym is about play and finding your way; the climb is not always straight up, you can spin, hang and take creative turns as you make your way to the top.  If you fall down there is always the opportunity to find your way back up.” Barbara Bouza, Managing Director, Principal Gensler Los Angeles

“The AIA/LA Powerful Symposium was a unique opportunity to share best practices and experiences with other design professionals on the value and importance of diversity in our profession. At Perkins+Will we believe diversity drives creativity and that innovation is born from an engaged culture of diverse people and ideas. With the launch of our Diversity+Inclusion+Engagement program we are taking a proactive and deliberate approach to advancing the firm and the profession.” Gabrielle Bullock, Director of Global Diversity, Principal, Perkins + Will Los Angeles


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream


Women Leading Design Speakers and Moderators: 

Nicci Solomons, Hon AIA - Executive Director, AIA Los Angeles and Center for Architecture & Urban Design LA

Laura Zucker, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Virginia E. Marquardt, AIA, LEED AP - Senior Associate, DLR Group

Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C - Director of Global Diversity, Principal, Perkins + Will

Katie Carley - Business Development Director, Moore Ruble Yudell

Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C - Director of Global Diversity, Principal, Perkins + Will

Lisa Fay Matthiessen, FAIA, LEED Fellow - Principal, Integral Group and Board Director, USGBC

Virginia E. Marquardt, AIA, LEED AP - Senior Associate, DLR Group

Stephanie Reich, AIA, LEED AP – Urban Designer, City of West Hollywood

Deborah Weintraub, AIA, LEED AP - Chief Deputy City Engineer, City of Los Angeles

Leigh Christy, AIA, LEED AP BD+C - Associate Principal, Perkins + Will

Heidi Creighton, AIA, LEED AP BD+C O+M – Associate, Buro Happold Engineering

Karin Liljegren, AIA - Principal, omgivning – Architect, Interior Designers and Urbanists

Frances Anderton - Host, DnA: Design & Architecture; KCRW 89.9

Carissa Shrock, AIA, LEED BD+C - Senior Associate, Moore Ruble Yudell

Kristi Paulson, AIA - Principal, ZGF Architects

Donna Barry, AIA - Design Principal, AC Martin

Barbara Bouza, AIA, IIDA, LEED® AP, EDAC – Managing Director, Principal - Gensler

Tania L. Van Herle, AIA, LEED AP BD+C - Managing Principal, Harley Ellis Devereaux

Debra Gerod, FAIA, LEED AP – Partner, Gruen Associates

Leanna Libourel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C - Associate, Gruen Associates & NCARB IDP Coordinator for So Cal

Isabelle Duvivier, FAIA, LEED AP - Duvivier Architects

Amelia Doyle Feichtner, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP DB+C - Principal, Cuningham Group Architecture & USGBC-LA

Christi Van Cleve, AIA – Co-Director, Urban Policy Center, Woodbury University

Krista Becker, FAIA, LEED AP - Principal, Moore Ruble Yudell

Kate Diamond, FAIA, LEED AP - Principal, HDR

Patricia Rhee, AIA, DBIA, LEED AP - Partner, Ehrlich Architects

Virginia Tanzmann, FAIA, LEED AP - Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc.

Susan Painter, PhD, FCPA - Director, Research Studio & Senior Planner, AC MARTIN

Jenny Wu - Oyler Wu Collaborative

Elena Manferdini - Atelier Manferdini & Graduate Thesis Coordinator, SCI-Arc

Lisa Little, AIA – Founder, Vertebrae Architecture + Design

Siobhan Burke, AIA, LEED AP - Principal, Lyric Design & Planning

Deborah Murphy, Assoc. AIA – Executive Director, Los Angeles Walks & Principal, Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning

Lisa Padilla, AIA, LEED AP - Principal, Cityworks Design

Ella Hazard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP - Principal, Hazard Frankel Architects & Co-President, LA Forum for Architecture & Urban Design

Jennifer Marmon, AIA - Platform for Architecture + Research

Chelina Odbert – Co-Founder & Executive Director, Kounkuey Design Initiative

Elizabeth Timme - Co-Director, LA-Más

Christina Monti - Association for Women in Architecture + Design

Claudia Carol, AIA, LEEP AP ND – Senior Associate, Planning & Urban Design, Gensler

Doris Sung, Assoc. AIA - Assistant Professor, USC Architecture; Principal, DOSU Studio

Nicole A. Davis Tinkham, Attorney-at-Law, Collins Collins Muir + Stewart LLP

Ingalil Wahlroos-Ritter, AIA - Associate Dean, School of Architecture & Director, WUHO Gallery

Kishani De Silva – Vice President, Association for Women in Architecture + Design

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA – Director, Government & Public Affairs, AIA Los Angeles


US Correspondent 

Katerina Hojgrova


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