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Industry News: CetraRuddy’s emerging women leaders mentorships boost design innovation

Alison Carter
13 Jan 2020

Architecture and interior design firm promotes elevates women leaders in design innovation, project and strategic management

The new roles are highlighted by female professionals including principal Emmanuelle C. Slossberg and associate principal Erica LiBritz, who have received significant promotions within the CetraRuddy studio while also earning national accolades, taking positions on the boards of influential city-building organizations, and bolstering recognition for the firm’s decade-plus contributions to education.

According to CetraRuddy’s executive committee, the new positions and accolades for Slossberg and LiBritz embody the firm’s collaborative spirit and humanistic approach. Under the leadership of CetraRuddy’s co-founding principal Nancy J. Ruddy, the 100-person firm has grown to become one of the design world’s most collaborative and equitable organizations, and has been ranked among “the best AEC firms to work for” by the national consultancy Zweig Group for the past four years.  

With women practitioners of architecture, interior design, project management and strategy and marketing representing 60 percent of its staff and leadership, CetraRuddy has also gained notice for its diverse firm makeup in an industry that remains, despite recent inroads, predominantly male.

“Encouraging a diversity of perspectives and striving to develop an equitable environment creates a setting in which all of our team members can do their best work. This goal was one of the main reasons we founded CetraRuddy over 30 years ago. We aim to create a true community atmosphere within our studio, where everyone’s talents are appreciated and valued,” says CetraRuddy co-founding principal Nancy J. Ruddy. 

Notable recent project wins include prestigious cultural works such as the first American location for Swedish photography organization Fotografiska, with design led by Nancy J. Ruddy and CetraRuddy principal Theresa Genovese, AIA; and major residential interiors projects including work at Manhattan’s 200 Amsterdam condominium building, led by principal and director of interior design Ximena Rodriguez. 

Several of CetraRuddy’s women leaders earned national honors in 2019, highlighted by Erica LiBritz, AIA, LEED AP, recently named an associate principal at the firm and a recipient of the national Young Architect Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Also named to the Building Design + Construction 40 Under 40 list for 2019, LiBritz has emerged as one of CetraRuddy’s most accomplished architects and a specialist in complex, large-scale projects. She is spearheading many of the firm’s significant high-rise and mixed-use projects, including Rockefeller Group’s 600-foot-tall Rose Hill tower in Manhattan, and a 1 million-square-foot mixed-use waterfront development underway in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

Libritz is also a spokesperson for architectural practice, and a mentor and role model for emerging practitioners as well as for elementary school STEM students. 

Outside of CetraRuddy’s project work, other women leaders including Emmanuelle C. Slossberg, LEED AP, have earned recognition for their efforts in creating vibrant urban communities and advancing the building industry in collaboration with influential thought-leader organizations. Slossberg, CetraRuddy’s director of strategy and its newest principal, is widely recognized as a mentor and advisor in the fields of building design, real estate development, construction, and strategic marketing. In the past year, she has been appointed to the board of directors for the United Nations-affiliated Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, and she was tapped as vice chair of the District Council Membership Committee for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) New York chapter. 

For the ULI, Slossberg has also served as membership vice-chair of the New York Women’s Leadership Initiative, or WLI, which offers strategic assistance to emerging professionals and aims to increase women’s visibility and representation in leadership positions.

CetraRuddy’s mentorship activities have also earned lifetime achievement honors for the firm’s continued support of Community School 300 in the Bronx, which CetraRuddy “adopted” over ten years ago as part of the PENCIL Partnership. Each year, two classrooms of about 25 third-grade students participated in a series of workshop sessions, led most recently by CetraRuddy associate Ximena Hoyos, LEED AP. Workshops have included a field trip to the firm’s offices for a tour of how buildings are designed and constructed. In addition, CetraRuddy has garnered recognition for its creation and support of the new CetraRuddy Housing Studio at the City College of New York (CCNY) Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. Launched in 2017, this initiative has engaged students in the Master of Architecture program to propose solutions for real-world housing challenges across the New York metropolitan region.

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