Women In Architecture Silicon Valley

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Event Recap - Connecting Through Coaching: To Oneself and to Others


What happens when a group of architects gathers into a circle to share personal stories? Magic!

About 18 women and 2 men attended the April 18, 2018 WIA event Connecting Through Coaching: To Oneself and to Others, led by speaker and Coach extraordinaire Lynn Simon, FAIA, and hosted by Hawley Peterson Snyder. Simon is a Vice President at Thornton Tomasetti in San Francisco.

Light snacks and drinks were provided by WIA. A synopsis of the workshop activities follows: intriguing stories, a quick lesson on coaching, an amusing group activity, eye-opening role play with the coach and volunteer, and a take-home exercise.

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A Collection of Thoughts on Self-Advocacy

This piece was written by Angshupriya Pathak, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, the 2018 Chair of WIA Silicon Valley as a reflection on self-advocacy and leadership.

While I have been struggling to complete this blog for months, I have also been reading Warren Bennis’ book, On Becoming a Leader. The following are a series of powerful questions Bennis explores in his book, along with my own introspective thoughts on self-advocacy, particularly within my career in architecture.

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Advice From a Young Professional: Get Involved!

This piece was written by Annalee Groner, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, where she reflects on the importance of finding your place within a community, and how the Women In Architecture has helped her find confidence in the profession.

When I first started working out of school it was definitely a big change. A new type of working environment, a new set of peers, new projects; I have to say it was a bit overwhelming. It took a little time but I steadily began to get the hang of things, a better understanding of the new programs I was using and the firm’s structure, becoming more and more comfortable with each day.

Within six months to a year I finally (fully) eased in; I found a place on my team and people who I could rely on as mentors. I was learning a lot quickly, which is always satisfying, yet it seemed as though there was still an aspect missing. I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but I decided to try getting involved in more out of the office activities to find out. I started by attending more networking events, which transitioned to more architecture-specific events through the AIA. As I began to see more faces I recognized, living and working here in the South Bay started to feel more like a community. Yet, within every community, there are different neighborhoods, different blocks, different groups. So which group did I belong in?

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Plan Your Own Promotion – If You Don’t Do It, No One Else Will


This piece was written by Pamela Anderson-Brulé, FAIA, President and Co-Founder of Anderson Brulé Architects.

I believe that career and promotion planning must be an equal responsibility for an employee and employer. There must be a proactive and positive development plan to grow and expand an individual’s skills and responsibilities, and that growth must include market appropriate salary increases.

Many architects, and especially women, treat this very important process with a passive, wait and see, “I hope they notice my value”, “I am sure I am not worthy” methodology.

If you do not recognize your value, neither will your employer. If you do not have self-confidence, you will not garner confidence from them. If you do not bother to do appropriate market-based research on your skills, responsibilities and salary ranges within our industry, and yet complain that you are not equally paid, then you are not fighting for the very equity that women are working so hard to achieve.

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Calling All Men of Architecture --- WE NEED YOU!

This piece was posted by Megan Blaine, AIA, Founder of Blaine Architects. It was written by a former colleague of Megan’s as a call to action.

Believing in gender equity is not just a female issue. We need support from everyone, including men. We know most men believe in equity, but they often aren’t aware of gender discrimination in the workplace, and perhaps more importantly, they don’t know what to do about it.

We're recruiting male allies or “Manbassadors”, if you will, to help combat the subtle ways that gender discrimination creeps into our workplace. You don't have to sign up, declare your intent, or march with a sign. By doing any one of the small actions below, that's it; you're part of the movement. 

Take a look at this list of surprising things that happen to your female coworkers, and the small steps you can take to be an advocate for gender equity.

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Women Leaders in the Age of Social Connection

This piece was written by Katia McClain, AIA, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate and Managing Director at LPA.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend's 13-year-old son had a homework assignment regarding women in leadership and equity for women. He asked me if I knew how many current world leaders, head of state of government are women. My answer was 20 and I was short by 9. As of January 2017, there are currently 29 female leaders in the world - the lowest number in several years. Included are women such as Queen Elizabeth, Angela Merkel, and Michelle Bachelet. Some have inherited the position, but most have fought hard for it. But while the imbalance in these figures continues to be a struggle, there are other ways women have taken hold of powerful leadership positions. 

We don't have to be "world leaders" to truly lead and affect our world. There are women that are not the head of any government, but in this age of social change, technology, and social media, they have great influence in our community. I think of women like Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Malala Yousafzai, who, when they speak, with their callings and passions unique as a fingerprint, they inspire us all.

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