To commemorate Women’s History Month, the AIANY WIA Committee hosted Heidi Blau, FAIA, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at FXCollaborative, Annya Ramirez-Jimenez, AIA, Director at Marvel Architects, and JJ Falk, IIDA, Assoc. AIA at Perkins Eastman at the event, “In Dialogue With – Advancing Your Career at Small, Medium and Large Firms.” Studies show that it can be difficult for some women to advocate for themselves in the workplace, and this discussion aimed to provide multiple ways women at small, medium, and large firms could advance their careers through helpful tips and lessons learned from industry leaders.

Annya shared how critical it is for firms to provide platforms for younger colleagues to discuss their projects and interact with clients. She also advised how important it is for designers and non-designers to find their allies at all levels to support their skills, stating “Design is not exclusive, it’s inclusive, and find a way to make it so!” JJ shared her experience of what it was like to own her firm, and start at a small one, noting that the number of people doesn’t limit the number of leaders that can be found there. She also shared that being a leader does not mean you have to command every conversation, and by stepping up, people will see your passion. Heidi advised that people should remain nimble, and open to adjusting their goals and passions as plans don’t always work out, but there could be different paths with even more opportunities. Heidi also wanted to assure us that while it’s important to show your dedication to the firm, it’s just as critical for people’s well-being to find time for ourselves for moments of self-care.

Thank you to all who attended both in person and virtually, for sharing your comments and questions, and for an engaging conversation afterward. A special thank you to Heidi, Annya, and JJ for the great advice and expertise! We look forward to seeing you all at our future WIA  events! You can access the meeting agenda here.