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Building an Equitable Practice from the "Bottom Up"

  • AIA SF 130 Sutter Street San Francisco, CA, 94104 United States (map)
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Join us for an evening workshop on Thursday, August 22nd for a deep dive on tactical skills for effecting change in your organization. This workshop was originally featured at the #EQxDV Symposium in 2018.


About the Workshop

The traditional “top-down” approach to leadership, where all key decisions are made by senior management, has a trickle down effect on staff. Starting from the “bottom-up”, however, means finding your voice through empowered action at any point in your career journey. 

The bottom-up approach is a grassroots movement that harnesses the power of the many to break down barriers and bring about change. The cumulation of small victories builds the momentum for success. 

Join this panel of change agents to discuss the bottom-up approach to building an equitable workplace. United by an immersive and dynamic experience, participants of this evening workshop will demonstrate their empowered voices through engagement with a visual display.

Meet the Panelists!

Dawn Lederer

Chief Human Resources Officer, Americas at Arup

Dawn Lederer   Dawn Lederer has been a Human Resources professional for 22 years. She is currently the Americas People Leader at Arup leading a 35-person team supporting the delivery of the People strategy for the Americas Region. She has extensive experience in Fortune 500, Global, and private companies. She has been an HR leader in the AEC industry for the past 8 years with proven abilities in building teams, enabling and developing culture and managing change through business growth and consolidation cycles. Her passion is in coaching and developing leaders and helping to drive a mindset of inclusion in the workforce.  She has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology & Counseling from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Riverside. She has recently obtained her Results Based Executive Coaching certification from the Neuro Leadership Institute. In her personal time, she volunteers with her daughter and son as members of the National Charity League and Boys Team Charity contributing time to their local community organizations.

Dawn Lederer has been a Human Resources professional for 22 years.   She is currently the Americas People Leader at Arup leading a 35-person team supporting the delivery of the People strategy for the Americas Region.  She has extensive experience in Fortune 500, Global, and private companies. She has been an HR leader in the AEC industry for the past 8 years with proven abilities in building teams, enabling and developing culture and managing change through business growth and consolidation cycles. Her passion is in coaching and developing leaders and helping to drive a mindset of inclusion in the workforce.  

She has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology & Counseling from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Riverside.   She has recently obtained her Results Based Executive Coaching certification from the Neuro Leadership Institute. In her personal time, she volunteers with her daughter and son as members of the National Charity League and Boys Team Charity contributing time to their local community organizations. 

Catherine Meng, AIA

Architect at DLR Group | Kwan Henmi

Catherine Meng   Catherine Meng is an architect and project manager at DLR Group | Kwan Henmi in San Francisco, California. Her broad design experience includes high-end single-family residences and multi-family housing, and projects in the transportation, workplace, and commercial sectors. Before moving to San Francisco, Catherine practiced in Houston, Shanghai, and New York City.  Catherine is also the creator and host of the Design Voice Podcast, which seeks to elevate and amplify the voices of women in architecture, engineering, and construction. Each episode features honest conversations with women who shape the built environment, unique takes on the state of the professions, stories of career journeys, and more. By sharing her guests' stories, Catherine hopes that her podcast serves as a source of inspiration, education, and empowerment to everyone in, or aspiring to join, these professions.  Catherine is active in the San Francisco community. She co-chairs the Rising Leaders Committee for CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) San Francisco, and serves on the Board of the Cornell Alumni Association of Northern California. She also participated in the ACE Mentor Program and is an active supporter of the San Francisco Symphony.  Catherine received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, infant daughter, and maltipoo.

Catherine Meng is an architect and project manager at DLR Group | Kwan Henmi in San Francisco, California.  Her broad design experience includes high-end single-family residences and multi-family housing, and projects in the transportation, workplace, and commercial sectors.  Before moving to San Francisco, Catherine practiced in Houston, Shanghai, and New York City.

Catherine is also the creator and host of the Design Voice Podcast, which seeks to elevate and amplify the voices of women in architecture, engineering, and construction.  Each episode features honest conversations with women who shape the built environment, unique takes on the state of the professions, stories of career journeys, and more. By sharing her guests' stories, Catherine hopes that her podcast serves as a source of inspiration, education, and empowerment to everyone in, or aspiring to join, these professions.

Catherine is active in the San Francisco community.  She co-chairs the Rising Leaders Committee for CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) San Francisco, and serves on the Board of the Cornell Alumni Association of Northern California.  She also participated in the ACE Mentor Program and is an active supporter of the San Francisco Symphony.

Catherine received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.  She lives in San Francisco with her husband, infant daughter, and maltipoo.

Morgan Pegus-Thomas

Workplace Experience Manager at Gensler

Morgan Pegus-Thomas   Morgan Pegus-Thomas strives to elevate conversations that tell the story of the human condition. In bygone years, we shared our history, lessons and warnings by word of mouth and through engaging storytelling. These stories ultimately came to affect our culture. They tell of our existence, offer advice and ultimately engage our condition. At their root, stories are what bind us to our past.  By itself, technology is simply a tool that's purpose is for the betterment of the human condition. Morgan uses technology as a tool to dynamically advance a narrative. She wants to share dialogues of what is plaguing, advancing, assisting, trending and challenging the human condition and maximize these stories with dynamic imagery, installations and performance. Working within design Morgan believes we have the tools and resources to really lead the way in being the modern storytellers of our age.  We live in a world of constant distraction. Morgan works to create a space that binds bygone storytelling with technology to create a more engaged, informed and impactful experience.

Morgan Pegus-Thomas strives to elevate conversations that tell the story of the human condition. In bygone years, we shared our history, lessons and warnings by word of mouth and through engaging storytelling. These stories ultimately came to affect our culture. They tell of our existence, offer advice and ultimately engage our condition. At their root, stories are what bind us to our past.

By itself, technology is simply a tool that's purpose is for the betterment of the human condition. Morgan uses technology as a tool to dynamically advance a narrative. She wants to share dialogues of what is plaguing, advancing, assisting, trending and challenging the human condition and maximize these stories with dynamic imagery, installations and performance. Working within design Morgan believes we have the tools and resources to really lead the way in being the modern storytellers of our age. 

We live in a world of constant distraction. Morgan works to create a space that binds bygone storytelling with technology to create a more engaged, informed and impactful experience.

Natalie Tse

Project Manager at Tipping Structural Engineers

Natalie Tse   Natalie Y. Tse is a California Licensed Structural Engineer with a broad range of design experience in educational, commercial/retail, residential, science and technology sectors. She is a Project Manager at Tipping Structural Engineers in Berkeley, California. Her portfolio includes the structural design, assessment, and seismic retrofit of over 35 school campuses, a mission critical laboratory and office building, and the design of a new wood-framed cathedral over concrete post-tensioned podium. Natalie is deeply passionate about innovative solutions, well-integrated and cost-effective designs, responsiveness during construction, and open communication. She is profoundly committed to learning, mentoring, building strong relationships, family, and giving back to the community. In 2015, Natalie co-founded the SE3 Project, a project established to understand and mitigate issues of employee engagement and retention, advancement, work-life balance, and gender equity in the structural engineering profession. Natalie received her BSE in Engineering and Mathematics from Queen’s University in Canada in 2002.

Natalie Y. Tse  is a California Licensed Structural Engineer with a broad range of design experience in educational, commercial/retail, residential, science and technology sectors.  She is a Project Manager at Tipping Structural Engineers in Berkeley, California. Her portfolio includes the structural design, assessment, and seismic retrofit of over 35 school campuses, a mission critical laboratory and office building, and the design of a new wood-framed cathedral over concrete post-tensioned podium. Natalie is deeply passionate about innovative solutions, well-integrated and cost-effective designs, responsiveness during construction, and open communication.  She is profoundly committed to learning, mentoring, building strong relationships, family, and giving back to the community.

In 2015, Natalie co-founded the SE3 Project, a project established to understand and mitigate issues of employee engagement and retention, advancement, work-life balance, and gender equity in the structural engineering profession. Natalie received her BSE in Engineering and Mathematics from Queen’s University in Canada in 2002.