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  • June 7, 2024
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    In April, the AIANY WIA Committee was pleased to host women leaders of the Alafia team from Dattner Architects, as part of the April Committee Meeting pillar series on ‘Design & Leadership’. Jen Switala, AIA, Senior Associate; Deniz Secilmis, Senior Architect; and Kavyashri Cherala, AIA, Project Architect presented the award-winning Alafia, fireside chat style. Cherala posed questions to Switala and Secilmis, ranging from the design intent behind the wellness-oriented resilient development on a 25+acre decommissioned public site to the challenges and successes of the project under construction. The team spoke about the project features designed to address the chronic social, economic, and health disparities in the historically underserved area of East New York in Brooklyn, and spoke to the complex program of 575 affordable/ supportive residential units, a clinic operated by One Brooklyn Health, offices for Services for the Underserved, parking, and neighborhood retail spaces; and a maintenance hub, with on-site trash handling and composting in support of the entire new development. The presentation highlighted the Passive House features of the building and other sustainable features, including utilizing geothermal pumps, rooftop solar, and a wastewater heat-recovery system.

    The audience enthusiastically participated in a Q&A, and we thank our speakers and everyone who attended the event for their support and engagement. You can find the agenda from the April committee meeting here.

  • June 3, 2024
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    In celebration of International Women’s Day and it’s 2024 theme, #InspireInclusion, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee combined its March Committee Meeting with an inspiring evening of networking, sisterhood, and honoring women’s history in the profession. The event keynote speaker, Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA, a prolific architect, educator, visual artist, musician and author, shared her personal history of advocacy and social justice deeply woven in the history of women’s liberation and feminist movements in NYC and around the country.

    Dr. Sutton’s presentation was centered on the theme of sisterhood, illustrating how women worked together in the 1970s to illuminate each other’s achievements and contributions to the field of architecture. Historic publications and exhibitions were shared, including a manifesto published by the Alliance of Women in Architecture calling for the general elimination of gender roles in the workplace. Fellow trailblazing women in architecture were acknowledged in Dr. Sutton’s presentation, including Norma Sklarek, Denise Scott Brown and Zaha Hadid. Her presentation highlighted the strides that were made to increase the representation and recognition of women in architecture, but also the strides that remain to endorse more women in leadership roles in the profession. Dr. Sutton concluded with a call to action for women in the profession to work together as a sisterhood to continue pushing change forward.

    Following her impactful presentation, we got to hear more from Dr. Sutton about the influence of her upbringing, the story behind the love of her signature color, purple, as well as what is inspiring her about the profession today in a “fireside chat”, facilitated by WIA Advisory Board Member, Angelique Pierre. An engaging audience Q&A followed.

    The evening ended with networking over delicious food and drinks, and a ‘Call To Action’ to re-examine the original Alliance of Women in Architecture manifesto and to provide a 2024 refresh to address the issues facing women in the profession today.

    A special thanks to Dr. Sutton for her time and inspiring energy, as well as to our gracious hosts at the AKDO NYC showroom for their seamless coordination and generosity. Thank you to all who attended and see you at the next event! The March WIA Committee meeting agenda can be found here.

  • March 13, 2024
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    In celebration of Black History Month, the AIANY WIA February committee meeting featured Katherine Williams, AIA, architect, writer, educator, curator and community organizer. After committee meeting announcements, Katherine shared her personal journey and exploration into the data of African-American and women architects when she was completing her licensure exams. Seeking to increase the number of architects who looked like herself led to her path of advocacy and work focused on visibility, networking, and support for those who are underrepresented in the profession.

    Katherine’s presentation was filled with valuable statistics, not only about the past and current state of representation for black women in architecture, but, equally as important, the statistical measure of parity. Defining parity in quantifiable terms provides a measurable goal for the profession to work collectively toward. Katherine left us with a call to action to ask questions about the statistics in our firms. The statistics help us see where we are and chart the path to where we want to be. Simply put, we cannot fix what we cannot see.

    The discussion that followed was candid and profound, highlighting how we each have a role to play in advocating for ourselves and others toward the goal of parity. Prospective employees were empowered to leverage their talent to share their interest in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with their prospective employers. Firm leaders were reminded to track the measure of representation in their firms and to reference these measures often, using them as a guide. Please reference Katherine’s presentation here to see the statistics. Please see link here for the February committee meeting agenda.

    A huge thank you to Katherine for her inspiring presentation and to all of you who attended!

     

  • February 23, 2024
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    On January 25, 2024, the AIANY WIA Committee held its 13th Annual Women in Architecture Recognition Award and Holiday Party at Brickworks Design Studio. Each year we celebrate the newly licensed female architects and support the next generation of emerging leaders in obtaining their license. We honor one recently licensed woman architect who demonstrates strong leadership skills and a commitment to the growth and advancement of our profession. The winner receives a $1,000 stipend towards travel and miscellaneous expenses at the AIA National Convention, which will be in Washington, D.C., on June 5-8, 2024.

    We received many impressive applications for the Recognition Award, and we congratulate each for their meaningful contribution to the advancement of our profession. The finalists shared their personal experiences, challenges faced on the path to licensure, and advice. The WIA Committee noted that in 2023, the ratio of licensed AIANY women architects to men was approximately 1.5:1, a 50% increase since 2022. We were thrilled to announce this year’s 13th Annual Recognition Award recipient Nai-Hua Chen, AIA. From the judges’ comments, “Nai-Hua stood out for the strength of her achievements in each one of the four categories of leadership: Leadership in Design, Success in Professional Practice, Endorsing Workplace Culture, and Promoting Advocacy and Activism. (She) has developed strong technical expertise to push design and sustainability forward. She explores technologies to benefit the profession.”

    In addition to the festivities and networking, we held raffle prizes. Three lucky winners walked away with a coveted Brickworks Design Studio gift bag, a copy of Women in Architecture – Past, Present, and Future, and the Grand Prize, dinner with a stellar woman architect, Annya Ramirez-Jimenez, AIA, Partner, Marvel. Thanks Annya!

    We are especially grateful to Brickworks Design Studio for hosting us in their beautiful showroom with delicious food and drinks and contributing to our raffle prizes with a gift bag. This event would not have been possible without their generosity. A special thank you to our esteemed Recognition Award Jury: Arthi Krishnamoorthy, AIA, Senior Principal, TenBerke, Sandra McKee, FAIA, Owner & Founder, Yoshihara McKee Architects and Kaveri G. Singh, AIA, Higher Education Leader, Principal, DLR Group for their well-considered and thoughtful deliberation. A shout out to Melissa Chua of Lean by Design LLC for capturing the evening wonderfully in photography.

    Thank you to everyone who attended our sold-out event to celebrate the newly licensed women architects. The WIA committee is grateful for everyone’s support, and we look forward to seeing you at our next event!

  • February 2, 2024
    240118 WIA Committee Mtg Wendy Friedman Coach (1)
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    During our January Committee Meeting, WIA made a special announcement, introducing the new incoming WIA Co-Chair, Wells Megalli, AIA, LEED AP, who joins Co-Chair Rosalind Tsang, AIA. Immediate past Co-Chair Vivian Lee, FAIA, will transition to the WIA Advisory Board and Arielle Lapp, AIA, is the outgoing WIA Media Communications. We thank Vivian and Arielle for their many years of service to the WIA Committee! Following the Committee Meeting announcements, Wendy Friedmann, founder of WF Success Coach Inc., a high performance coach, mentor, and former business executive, presented a workshop on ‘Building a Personal Foundation for Success.’ In the interactive session, Wendy introduced her coaching framework, which includes four pillars of success: clarity, focus, strategy, and accountability. Wendy works one-on-one with creative women in many fields, including architecture and design.

    Wendy’s workshop was a wonderful way to kick-start our year focused on positivity, progress and goal-setting! Attendees spoke with Wendy about the challenges many women face on the path to their goals. One woman who attended wrote: “[Wendy] was able to empower us and remind us to be kind to ourselves. I especially resonated with her advice to minimize distractions and to go through life while having grace for yourself.”  We are grateful to Wendy for her time and sharing with us proven tools and techniques to build confidence and become the most productive, focused version of ourselves. Her advice was motivating and empowering. Thank you to everyone who attended!

    The WIA Committee will meet next on Thursday, February 15. Please enjoy the WIA January Committee Meeting Agenda here, and we look forward to seeing you at our next meeting. Thank you all for your support.

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