Women In Architecture Silicon Valley

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Fluidity: The Intersection of Culture

Born in San Francisco, my journey followed the hippy 60’s through a ‘reverse migration’ to my ancestral homeland. Raised in Iran, the pro-western years of monarchy transformed into the tumultuous Islamic Revolution. Emigrating to Boston, an eye-opening college education and early professional years in Massachusetts culminated full-circle back to the Bay Area in CA. Encountering decades of ethnic bias, I’ve grappled with choosing sides. I ask you: Why do we have to pick? There’s value in both. Can’t we accept the middle ground? BE FLUID. I define myself in the #fluidity of moving seamlessly between cultures…

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Event Recap - Advocating for Self: A Workshop

In the first event of the 2019 WIA event series, Megan Blaine, AIA and Angshupria Pathak, AIA led a workshop that helped participants build skills for articulating experience and advocating for themselves in the workplace. Megan and Angshupriya kicked off the event by presenting their own self advocacy journeys and explaining how these experiences have shaped their careers. Angshupriya outlined how advocating for herself allowed her to make the difficult decision to leave her job to pursue a position more aligned with her personal and professional goals, and Megan explained how her advocacy journey ultimately led her to start her own firm.

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Event Recap - Raising EQ: Getting smart about our Emotional Intelligence”,

“Raising EQ: Getting smart about our Emotional Intelligence”, an interactive workshop held by two talented women. Catherine Houdek, a professional business coach originally from New Zealand who works with bay area executives and their teams to co-create smart strategies for growth. Mary Welty Dapkus, a professional intuitive and certified life coach, works with clients to develop, integrate and activate a dynamic relationship with their authentic selves. Both their specialized experience reflected in the workshop. The topic Emotional Intelligence was explored and discussed in relation with personal and professional life. We understood theoretical and practical aspects of Emotional Intelligence through various exercises.

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Women in Architecture Spotlight: Anne Torney

WIA’s Chair, Angshupriya Pathak, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, kicks off our first Woman in Architecture Spotlight with an interview with Anne Torney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner of Mithun. They cover the important topics of inequity, mentoring, leadership, and advocacy, while also highlighting some of Anne’s latest design work and offering advice for future leaders.

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Book Review: What Works for Women at Work

It has been a very long time since I last wrote any type of book report or review, but I have been inspired to do so both by the caliber of the work being done on the topic of gender equity, some of which is made so accessible in What Works for Women at Work, and the wonderful women who make up the AIA Silicon Valley’s Women in Architecture (WIA) committee.

What Works for Women at Work (WWWW) was written by a mother and daughter team and is supported by extensive research and interviews with over 100 highly successful women, including some who they refer to as the Wise Women, a concept that I will return to later.  Joan Williams is a highly accomplished Professor of Law at Hastings College of the Law at Cal and Founding Director of WorkLife Law. Her daughter, Rachel Dempsey, is a writer and attorney. The multi-generational perspectives that the authors provide adds an unexpected depth to the findings.

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‘Coming to America’ : Journey of an Immigrant Architect

This piece was written by Srivarshini Balaji, Associate AIA, LEED Green Associate, about her journey towards becoming a licensed architect as an immigrant in the United States, highlighting the particular challenges she has faced along the way and offering an intimate perspective on how to maintain focus, strength, and a positive perspective while working your way toward your goals

Six years ago, I decided to venture out of India to pursue a Master’s degree in Architecture in the U.S. My primary aim was to expand my horizons by exploring the design strategies and construction techniques used by Architects there. I was especially interested in green architecture and was eager to learn as much as I could. With this goal in mind, I dove head-first into the process of applying to university programs. My first attempt at applying was, unfortunately, crude and naive, with little ground-work on my part. This ultimately resulted in my receiving only one invitation to join a program on which I was initially on the wait-list. Not willing to be hasty, I took a year’s break and made a more concerted effort. I focused on determining what U.S. university programs were looking for in an applicant. I researched prior work done by university alumni and used what I had learned to redo my portfolio; I incorporated better presentation strategies and reworked some of my earlier designs. After all this work, an invitation to enroll in the master’s program in sustainable design at the University of Oregon along with a one-year scholarship was my first taste of success.

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