On November 2, the AIANY WIA committee hosted the first session of our Professional Practice Series: Path to Principal Panel, featuring esteemed panelists: Jennifer Graham, D.F.A (Hon), FIIDA, LEED AP, Principal, Perkins & Will; Mindy No, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Perkins Eastman; Annya Ramirez-Jimenez, AIA, Director, Marvel; Sara Rubenstein AIA, Principal, Henning Larsen, with the discussion moderated by AIANY WIA Co-Chair, Vivian Lee, FAIA, Design Director, Gensler. The discussion focused on the panelists sharing their varied experiences that led them to achieve the role of Principal, their guidance, advice, and how they defined their roles within their respective firms.

They started by each defining the term “leadership”, noting how critical it is to create an environment that maximizes the capabilities of team members, to own not just their greatness, but also to find and support the greatness of others and help them execute their goals. They shared how they get motivated by their teams because their colleagues are so stellar.

The panelists discussed how their paths were not necessarily direct or quick and advised that it’s important to have patience as there will likely be disappointment along the way, and you grow by how you learn from those moments. It’s also important to build up soft skills of how to speak to and manage people, listening to your team and what they need, while being your authentic self, and speaking out to state what you need to succeed and what you deserve.

Thank you again to the panelists for sharing their path and advice on the Path to Principal. The second session of the series, The Promoted to Principal Method, will be a virtual workshop held on Thursday, December 1, by Maya Sharfi, the career coach and founder of Build Yourself.