AIA Women’s Leadership Summit 2019 Recap

AIA held the biennial Women’s Leadership Summit in Minneapolis, September 12-14. This is one of a few targeted events where women in the architectural profession and AEC industry can network with other women from across the country in a professional setting.

“The 2019 AIA Women’s Leadership Summit was filled with stories of the achievements and adversity women have experienced throughout their careers. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share and listen to so many stories with the 750+ women at the summit,” said Virginia Hart, SGA Principal. “It’s exciting to be part of the profession of architecture as we push and strive to reach diversity and equity.”

Virginia also said, “It was encouraging to see that many of the ideas that SGA has implemented to boost employee satisfaction and retention  were reinforced. We make our Vision and Mission statements public; we even have them on the walls of our offices. We also have flexible hours, a generous leave policy, and we hold weekly team meetings to keep everyone up to date.”

The summit provided a space for women architects to learn from each other, share stories of their experiences, explore new paths of leadership, and raise the profile of women in the profession. Our team walked away from the event feeling motivated to continue their personal and professional growth.

“It was a privilege to be a part of the 2019 AIA Women’s Leadership Summit, which was the largest gathering of female architects to date in the world,” said Kristine Pagano, Project Architect at SGA. “I left feeling empowered by others’ stories and energized to work on my own story as a leader and an architect. I have a reading list that I put together of books, blogs, articles, and podcasts that I can’t wait to delve into.”

Some of the takeaways our team brought back from the summit were:

  • We have to be our own advocates.
  • Sometimes overinclusion can be the death of an otherwise meaningful gathering. If we want to make meetings and gatherings more meaningful, we need to know why we’re gathering and put rules in place.
  • Firms must make an effort to know and truly understand their employees’ strengths and must make an effort to nurture those strengths inside and outside of the office.
  • Leadership is a continuous effort. We must endeavor to be open, inclusive, and free of bias.

“The summit was very refreshing, and I look forward to keeping in touch with the new contacts I made while there,” said Shekoofah Khedhri, Associate & Project Architect at SGA. “I know that I am a different architect after this summit. I came away with new ideas to implement in my community, our firm, how I work with our clients, and within myself. This was my first AIA Women’s Leadership Summit, and I hope it will not be my last.”

We look forward to attending the next Women’s Leadership Summit in two years.