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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Transcending the Glass Ceiling

With less than a week to AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq. shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Pinch Points session.

Transcending the Glass Ceiling - Redefining What It Takes to Succeed

#EQxDTranscend

The glass ceiling has long been cited as the ultimate problem we face in leadership advancement. However, this idea of a single invisible barrier at the cusp of upper leadership is no longer accurate or useful. There are a spectrum of obstacles throughout a professional’s career and we must work continually to overcome them. This session will look at this spectrum and explore strategies for moving our careers forward. Session leaders will share their experiences and the tactics they have employed to achieve career advancement. Participants will share their own approaches and ideas and together the group will produce a playbook of strategies that everyone can apply to their careers.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

To move the profession more swiftly towards a culture that is diverse and inclusive.  

Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.

Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session?

Our pinch point is the “glass ceiling,” but we felt that was a concept that is no longer useful.  People encounter glass ceilings at every level of their career.  Each time you get through one, then there is a different landscape and another glass ceiling.  So we felt that “glass ceiling” was a concept that we need to move beyond.  The situation is more like a progression of landscapes with different rules.  The important thing is to keep moving through them, and the more quickly you understand the landscape or obstacle, the quicker you can move through to the next landscape.

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

A-HA, we came up with the idea of creating a Playbook of how to get past certain barriers and obstacles on one’s career path.  The journey is important, but strategy can make a big difference.  The sooner you can understand your landscape, the sooner you can identify pathways through.  We can use others’ experiences to learn strategies for getting past particular barriers, to go to the next level.  Community service, additional credentials, specialization, awards, and service-leadership positions are all strategies that we have utilized to rise above a crowd.  We hope that we can send participants home with a Playbook that they can share with others, and that we can develop and enhance.  

Check out all the #EQxDM3 Break-Out Sessions Here

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Hackathon - Mentorship Re-designed

With less than a week to AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Prairna Gupta-Garg, AIA shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

Hackathon - Mentorship Re-designed

#EQxDMentorship

Mentoring is important for professional growth at any career stage, from learning the ropes to navigating choices later on. Unfortunately, mentorship can reinforce inequity as mentors and mentees are often drawn to people of similar ethnicity, race, and gender. Mentorship can also be too limited in scope, restricted to advice when the mentor can be most powerful as champion or sponsor, advocating for the mentee when promotion or hiring decisions are made. In this session we will ‘redesign mentorship’ through hands-on exercises and small group discussions. Together we will create a tool to provide effective professional development for everyone.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Prairna Gupta-Garg, AIA — Facilitator

Prairna Gupta-Garg, AIA — Facilitator

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

I am passionate about the mission of the organization and feel that many of us talk about the issues facing our professions but very few actually take the necessary action. Being an action-oriented person, I saw the role of the facilitator not only as a thought leader, but that of an action leader — transforming intangible thoughts to tangible action items that can be adopted by the community as a solution to the problem.

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session? 

Our group discussed the pinch point of ‘paying your dues’ and its relationship to a ‘re-designed mentorship’. How do you train people but also give them a realistic sense of where they are now (important to mentors), and where they are going (important to mentees) in developing a successful tool providing professional development for everyone irrespective of their gender, race and/or experience. 

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

The biggest ‘a-ha’ that emerged from working with my team was the concept of ‘sponsorship’ i.e. having someone within your company who champions you and your growth when promotion decisions are being made; and how it is different than traditional mentorship.

 

Check out all the #EQxDM3 Break-Out Sessions Here

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Graphing the Work-Life Equation

With a few short weeks until AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Patricia Hansen, Associate AIA shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

Graphing the Work-Life Equation: Different Approaches to Success

#EQxDWorkLife

From balance to flexibility to integration, there are many ways of conceptualizing the relationship between work and our personal lives. How do we develop successful, personalized strategies for making it work? Session leaders will share how they’ve set goals for balance, flexibility, or integration, and the strategies they’ve adopted as a result. Then participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their own approach to the work/life equation and discuss how it has (or has not) worked for them. Working together, participants will map these approaches to work/life, highlighting connections between individual goals, personal and professional context, and long-term success.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Patricia Hansen, Associate AIA — Facilitator

Patricia Hansen, Associate AIA — Facilitator

Why were you interested in being a facilitator? 

I am very supportive of the effort to create more equity in the workplace and see it as a crusade that I want to help drive. I had just joined EQxD prior to becoming a facilitator and it seemed like an excellent way to jump into the movement with both feet. Additionally, I am new to the profession and saw it as a great opportunity to network with amazing individuals who care about some of the same issues.  

 

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session?

Our session is all about the difficulty of integrating personal and professional life. This relationship is dramatically affected by crucial pinch points throughout one’s career and is definitely a major issue for most workers. Whether it is getting married, starting a family, caring for parents, volunteering, or any other personal interest our session recognizes the importance of allowing time for these activities in order for employees to lead an engaged, happy life. Not allowing for this flexibility causes burnout and encourages individuals to leave the industry.

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

One of the concepts that we arrived at early on in our discussions was that there is no such thing as Work/Life BALANCE. The interchange between professional and personal life is messy, unpredictable, and overlapping. It certainly is not some kind of perfectly balanced teeter-totter with work on one side and the rest of life on the other. Living a multifaceted life necessitates a constant give and take between work and everything else that is going on. In the end, it becomes much more about flexibility and integration of the different parts of life rather than a balance. This subtle distinction between work/life balance and work/life integration really surprised me initially because people so often use the terms interchangeably. The slight differences really affect one’s perception on the issue.

Check out all the #EQxDM3 Break-Out Sessions Here

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Disrupting Implicit Bias

With a less than 2 weeks until AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Patricia G. Alarcón, RA shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

Disrupting Impicit Bias in Design and Practice

#EQxDDisruptBias

Everyone has implicit bias. We develop our biases through our environment, the people we engage with, and the culture we grow up in. These interactions shape the expectations we have for ourselves, colleagues, and even potential clients. Thus, bias can have a major impact on the design process and desired outcomes in our profession. Additionally, reflecting on our own “Bias Blind Spot” is critical to building empathy and foster a culture of open communication. We will explore implicit bias in design and practice through research and storytelling. We will examine our “Bias Blind Spots” in small groups, and share resources to increase our awareness of bias in our workplace and foster strategies for tangible change.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

 

Patricia G. Alarcón, RA  — Facilitator

Patricia G. Alarcón, RA — Facilitator

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

I have been following the work of the AIA EQxD committee for some time. However, due to limited time for extra-curriculars outside of work and family responsibilities, I have been mostly cheering from the sidelines. Being a facilitator for the upcoming symposium gives me a chance to dive in and contribute to the cause in a very real and concrete way. I also saw it as an opportunity to deepen the discussion with women from different parts of the country, with different backgrounds and experiences than my own — a real community building/expanding opportunity.

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session? 

Our topic is implicit bias in the workplace and it really can impact every facet of our career trajectory, from initial hiring, to retention and advancement. Bias transcends all the pinch points, and that’s something to keep in mind and work against regardless of where we are in our professional trajectory.

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

It’s easy to find bias against you, where you feel victimized because of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Perhaps harder and more poignant is to reflect on one’s personally held biases. Holding that mirror up to ourselves is just as important a part of the conversation… that’s been one of the most interesting parts of the discussion among our group.

Check out all the #EQxDM3 Break-Out Sessions Here

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Being a Change Agent

With a few short weeks until AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Neelanjana Sen, AIA shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

Being a Change Agent — Tools, Techniques and Scalability

#EQxDChangeAgent

How do the industry’s most influential change agents move from identifying a problem to making a lasting impact? Workshop participants will be invited to learn from the experiences of thought leaders who have shifted the status quo in their firms, academia, and the national architectural community. These leaders will guide participants through tools and techniques while offering them an opportunity to put those skills into practice in a hands-on workshop. Attendees will understand how to: frame a problem, engage others to find solutions and leverage ideas to implement change.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

Neelanjana Sen, AIA

Neelanjana Sen, AIA

I was interested for two main reasons. I am navigating my career and finding ways of implementing change along the way — filling in gaps I see in the workplace and the profession in general. Also, having an opportunity to be immersed in the ideation process was something I was looking forward to. This immersion helps new ideas flow, and you benefit from in-depth learning about how others around you have navigated their careers and gone beyond to impact their professions in a positive way.

The second reason for me being a facilitator is to interact with a fantastic set of professionals. I came out of the last symposium energized, and the next instinctive thing for me to do was to be more involved!

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session?

The session I am facilitating is about being a change agent. Thought leaders in this session have contributed tremendously in shifting the status quo in various equity pinch points. The survey results emphasize the need to continue this work at a more grassroots level. Imagine each attendee of this session being equipped to bring change in the dysfunctions they know or have identified in the session…. that can ultimately change the pinch points we see in the survey results.

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team.

For me, it was interesting to realize that whether you are implementing change in your early career or trying to peek beyond the glass ceiling, we need the ability to scale the problem and take it from its nascent phase to full completion. Once we identify specific tools and techniques for this scalability, this mindset can be implemented in any circumstance we come across in our career and life.

Check out all the #EQxDM3 Break-Out Sessions Here

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Culture with Intent

With a couple weeks until AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Nancy Alexander shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

Culture with Intent: Recognizing and Shaping your Office Culture

#EQxDCulture

It is said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”.  Office culture matters – in producing quality work, in defining and expressing a brand, in employee retention. Knowingly or not, we live, breathe, and feel our office’s culture every day. Each office has its own values, traditions, ways of communicating and leading. Understanding your culture helps you gauge fit and manage performance. Through panelists’ examples, guided exercises and break-out groups, you will identify the hallmarks of your office culture, evaluate it through the lens of your personal values, address any incongruity, and develop strategies to effect change if needed.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Nancy Alexander — Facilitator

Nancy Alexander — Facilitator

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

Facilitation is all about drawing out the group wisdom, finding the common threads, and seeing a co-created product emerge. It’s one of the most fun things I get to do! And as possibly the only non-architect in the crew, despite decades of learning about architecture, architects, and practice, I combine an outsider’s perspective with huge appreciation for what you all do and the impact your work has on the world.  

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session?

I was surprised that the survey so vividly captured elements of firm culture that matter, in particular: alignment between firm values and personal values; the work relationships that develop as a result of that alignment; and individual control, autonomy, and involvement in decision-making. Understanding these points, I think, affirmed the direction our team was intuitively going in, and it is giving us something of a framework and starting point for the facilitated workshop.

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

This is not a new a-ha, but a renewed one: you architects work a lot! Also you are super-smart and very skilled at processing the big picture and the details simultaneously. It’s always a privilege to work with architects (and dare I say, especially women architects). This team, like many teams of women architects that I’ve observed, is driven by the client (i.e. the audience) and the project goals and not egos.

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: ADVOCACY: Define | Discover | Do

With a couple weeks until AIASF's 4th Symposium — Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Ellen Fuson, AIA, LEED Green Associate shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

ADVOCACY: Define | Discover | Do

#EQxDAdvocacy

Advocacy can occur at a number of scales, from advocating for ourselves, to fostering environments where everyone can speak up, to working collectively nationally or profession-wide.  In this break-out, session leaders will present case studies that illustrate these different scales of advocacy.  . Through participatory exercises attendees will discover ways to test and implement advocacy at each of these scales. The session will conclude with a conversation about insights gained through the case studies and exercises, leaving participants better equipped to actively advocate in small ways and large.

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Ellen Fuson, AIA, LEED Green Associate — Facilitator

Ellen Fuson, AIA, LEED Green Associate — Facilitator

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

I am interested in being a facilitator because I am passionate about promoting productive, positive, and disruptive dialog about equity in architecture.  As a previous attendee of the symposium, I am aware of how provocative the day can be: filled with innovative thinkers in a format that encourages interaction. This year’s theme — Metrics, Meaning, and Matrices — is right up my ally. I’m very inspired by EQxD’s methodology that data is power.  Because of this approach, EQxD has made visible some of the complex hurdles that are present over the course of a career.  In order to implement change, using metrics empowers us to track progress and find new meaning in transforming the culture of our profession. 

How have the Equity pinch points and/or dynamics informed your session?

Often times, equity starts with advocacy. Advocacy is meaningful on an individual level — negotiating for yourself for a promotion and advocating for additional services on a project are just a couple of examples.  But advocacy goes way beyond the personal and it can also be structural. When recontextualized, it has a role in establishing firm-wide policies that promote equitable practices, thus affecting real change in architecture, and the way we do business.  Being a designer today in the Bay Area is very exciting: thought leaders from a variety of industries and backgrounds are bringing innovative ideas and energy to the area. I look forward to what the future may hold. 

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

Yes! Working with the thought leaders has helped me to think beyond my personal experience with advocacy, and reframe advocacy in terms of the big picture. How can firms play a role in creating a culture that promotes systems of advocacy? How can advocacy be a tool on an industry level to promote equity? The thought leaders come from a variety of backgrounds, which help to challenge traditional modes of exploration. Whenever we speak, I learn something new or see advocacy from a different angle. 

 

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

#EQxDM3 Behind the Scenes: Firm Strategies for Implementing Change

It's October! With less than a month away from AIASF's 4th Symposium - Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, EQxD Blog will be featuring "behind the scenes" interviews with the facilitators of the Symposium Break Out Sessions for Career Dynamics and Pinch Points. Nicolette Mastrangelo, AIA shares her insights on working with the Thought Leaders to shape this Career Dynamics session.

Equity in Practice: Firm Strategies for Implementing Change.

#EQxDFirmStrategies

Recognizing that the individuals who make up a firm are its most valuable asset, many of today’s top firms, large and small, have made strides towards building more equitable workplaces in order to sustain lasting and competitive businesses. Four professionals in the industry will discuss specific strategies related to flexibility, performance review and promotion, recruitment and retention, and mentorship/sponsorship and advocacy. They will examine successes and lessons learned, and how these strategies can be implemented in order to positively influence equity in the profession of architecture. 

Thought Leaders and Facilitator:

Why were you interested in being a facilitator?

Nicolette Mastrangelo, AIA - Facilitator 

Nicolette Mastrangelo, AIA - Facilitator 

As a young architect, I am passionate about issues of equity in the industry. My peers and I confront a sort of systemic change beginning to happen day in and day out at our firms and in our work. We are not only involved in the discussion but actively seeking out ways to participate in and shape innovative practices. The opportunity to collaborate with industry thought leaders on the subject immediately appealed to me. These women have some amazing stories to share and lessons learned. I’m hoping to share some of my own unique thoughts on how the association — in addition to employers and employees — can help shape the future of best practices and policies in the equitable architecture office.

 

How have the Career Pinch Points and/or Dynamics informed your session? 

The equity pinch points and dynamics act as a road map for what firms can do and are doing. When firms recognize the individual needs of employees at different stages in their careers, leadership can respond and address a variety of situations. A one-size-fits-all solution is not an equitable approach. Firm leaders need to drop the mantra, “If we did it for you, we’d have to do it for everyone.” Pluralism is the future of equitable architectural practice and the key to understanding the demographics within your firm (age, gender, leadership, etc.).  

 

Are there any a-ha’s that emerged from the process of working with your team?

There is an untapped outlet for advocacy at the association level. In addition to the bottom-up and top-down approaches being explored in architecture offices, the association could have significant advantages in influencing the entire AEC industry by making equity in practice less about changing individuals minds and more about changing systems. 

 

AIASF Equity by Design Symposium Sponsors

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors for their dedication and support. We look forward to seeing you there!

Meet the #EQxDM3 Thought Leaders and Keynote Speaker!

AIASF Equity by Design is excited to present our diverse group of Thought Leaders who will be contributing their expertise and experience to the Equity conversation on October 28 + 29th . We had an incredible list of talented professionals submit for the program and it was a difficult decision to come up with the final list. Regardless, we encourage everyone to join us for our 4th Symposium -  Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices. Find out more about each of them and the sessions they will be participating for October 28 + 29, 2016.

 

Featured Keynote Speaker

In her tenure as the founder of the 3% Conference, Kat Gordon is well versed and experiences at how to be an agent of change in Advertising, where only 3% of creative directors were women. Launched on September 27, 2012 in San Francisco, the 3% Conference has exploded into a 2-day, 800-person event in New York City, multi-city road shows throughout the year, a vibrant online community on multiple social platforms, a student scholarship fund, a creative award, and a business blog to support the crusade.

Kat Gordon's presentation is timely as a launchpad for our next chapter. By recalling her personal journey as an agent for change, Kat will share the key aspects of change leadership - transforming key discussions into strategic actions to affect the lasting outcomes that we desire for Equity in Architecture movement.

Introducing our #EQxDM3 Though Leaders

Joining our Keynote Speaker, Equity by Design Core Team, and AIASF Leadership, is a group of talented leaders, academics, and practitioners in the Equity movement both locally, nationally and abroad. We welcome you to join them in what promises to be an interactive and motivating day. Click here to find out more our Thought Leaders and their sessions on October 28 and 29th.