The Design Forward Conference held in New Orleans on October 18, 2013 was a huge success for bringing into light so many of the common themes that The Missing 32% project also seeks to explore.
There was an interesting (and I thought appropriate) balance of students and professionals. The conference was held at the Tulane School of Architecture, giving terrific access to the current student body. There was also a balance of men and women from the industry, who participated, both as attendees and as panelists. This was intentional and varies from tendency for women dominant participation at similar events including the past Missing 32% Symposiums and the recent AIA Women's Leadership Summit in Phoenix. Read More
I went to Phoenix this past weekend with an open mind, my brain a ready
sponge to absorb all the intelligence, wisdom and collective experiences
of AIA Women in leadership roles from across the country. What I came
back with was something more profound and transforming than words can
adequately describe. In the course of 48 hours, the lines between
speakers and attendees, strangers and old friends, seasoned leaders and
emerging architects became blurred by indigenously warm, open dialogue
about matters close to our hearts.
The sold out event of 200 participants was the third in a series of summits started by the Boston Women Principals Group in Chicago 2009 and followed by Kansas City in 2011; the 2013 AIA WLS Summit in Phoenix
was envisioned as a gathering of various Architects in leadership
roles, including: Principals, Educators, Owners, Designers,
Environmentalists and Innovators.
was so much to learn, so much to be inspired by, so many connections to
make, and yet the time was too short; not enough time in the "Maxed
Out" lives we mutually lead to allow more discussion on the issues that
matter the most. What amazed me the most is that with all the challenges
that women in architecture continue to face, the majority of the summit
conversations was not of complaints or opportunities lost, but
exemplary presentations of resilience, perseverance, and sheer
brilliance in design leadership. Topics ranged from "How to Win Work" to
"Why losing can be transformative"; from the idea that "All-Nighters"
fail to improve a project's outcome" to discussions of how Paid Family
Leave and Flexible hours could help in talent retention. The most
poignant dialogue of the event focused on answering the question: "How
do we continue to produce good work while negotiating fair fees that go