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Event Recap - Negotiating Compensation with Confidence


Negotiating Compensation with Confidence” featured two speakers from opposite sides of the table relaying strategies for salary negotiation in a collection of earnest, considered, and open conversations. One year prior, Mani A. Farhadi had negotiated her position as Project Director at Taylor Design, where Laurie Dreyer is the current Director of Development. Each explored and exposed dynamic, behind-the-scenes elements that contribute to negotiation including differences and decisions in career trajectories, business development, and communication modes. By the end, it was evident to participants that salary is more than just a number; it is an expression of complex fiscal, personal, and career considerations at a given moment in one’s life and in the context of socio-economic developments.

Due to uncanny timing, the event coincided with Farhadi’s announcement of her departure from Taylor Design to a position at Stanford University. This led to a particularly unique structure for the presentation, as well as demonstrated to the audience that one must remain professional at all times, regardless of adjustments and transitions in one’s career.

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Event Recap - Meta Mentorship


This is why I love the WIA committee. They host these unassuming, middle-of-the week, 2-hour events and suddenly, unexpectedly, I’ll have a profound revelation that changes my career.  

Whatever the professional equivalent of a religious experience would be… that’s kind of how I think about it. These revelations change my perspective in a deep and meaningful way.

At the Meta Mentorship II event, mentors and their mentees shared how their careers have changed through mentorship.

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Motherhood: The Unexpected Catalyst Revolutionizing the Profession of Architecture

Architecture is fundamentally demanding. Starting as an undergrad, studio culture demands long hours, all-nighters, and often leads to caffeine addiction. The least amount of sleep often equals the most amount of praise and admiration from peers. It earns an unspoken title of the hardest working, most dedicated student, and that implicit sentiment is often translated through to professors and ultimately to grades.

This culture prevails throughout an architect’s career. It’s an ongoing expectation in most firms where I’ve worked. The more famous the head honcho, the greater the expected time commitment.  Employees are expected to skip meals and cancel plans with friends and family to complete a deadline (which were often assigned only hours in advance). Once a superior scolded me for taking a short dinner break at 8:30 before I worked until 2am.

This demanding culture is widespread in architecture. And you know what? This culture is stupid. There, I said it. It’s stupidThis culture sets up women who want to have children, for failure.

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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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