2018 Powerful Lunch Discussion Circle Topics and Leader Biographies


Tables 1, 2, & 3

Negotiation Strategies for a Range of Situations –How to assess and succeed in the various negotiation situations that arise daily and at the inflection points in our careers, without falling victim to gender stereotypes. Whether it be for an initial salary at a new job, a raise, a compromise on an issue in a project or at the office etc.

Leader: Deborah Weintraub, AIA, LEED AP – Chief Deputy City Engineer, Bureau of Engineering, Department of Public Works, City of Los Angeles

Deborah is the Chief Deputy City Engineer for the Bureau of Engineering, and the highest-ranking architect in the City. She provides leadership for an integrated architecture and engineering organization of approximately 950 people, with approximately 480 active projects totaling $3.6 billion. The projects she oversees include LA River projects, cultural facilities, homeless facilities, transportation facilities, recreational buildings, parks, general office facilities, and bridges. Deborah has been integral to the Los Angeles River Revitalization effort and the new Sixth Street Viaduct project. Currently she is leading the site design for the 41 acre River-adjacent Taylor Yard open space project, and for the new 12 acre park that will be built as part of the Sixth Street Viaduct.

Leader: Claudia Carol, AIA, LEED AP, ND – Cities & Communities, Global Leader and Studio Director, Gensler

Claudia is a Cities & Communities Leader and a Studio Director in the Los Angeles office, providing thought leadership and design management for a diverse portfolio of planning and urban design projects. As a licensed architect with many years of experience in landscape architecture, Claudia has an exceptional perspective on the interface of the natural and built environment. Her wide range of experience — from urban revitalization and academic campuses to entertainment destinations and healthcare centers — gives her unique insight into addressing complex issues. Claudia’s passion is using urban design strategies for social good. She has won numerous accolades for her work, including from the AIA and the American Planning Association for the Willowbrook MLK Wellness Community and the Santa Ana South Main Street Vision. Claudia earned a Master’s in Architecture from UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Design, a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts, and attended the Architectural Association.

Leader: Katherine Perez-Estolano – Associate Principal & Cities Leader, Arup

Katherine Perez-Estolano is an expert in urban planning, transportation, and stakeholder engagement. In the planning and land use field, she is highly regarded for developing complex public participation strategies that require collaboration among multi-cultural communities.  With her background in community development, private real estate development, transportation policy and urban planning, she is recognized as a leader in the planning and development fields and speaks at conferences throughout the country.

Throughout her life, Katherine has served on numerous boards and commissions demonstrating her commitment to public service. She has served on many Pasadena based organizations such as Latinos for Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD), Pasadena Heritage, and the Pasadena City College Latino Advisory Committee.  She served on Pasadena’s Transportation Commission and Commission for the Status of Women.   She has also been actively involved with leadership groups such as HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality), National Latina Alliance, NOW (National Organization for Women), New Economics for Women, and Adelante Mujer. She was a member of the Advisory Board of the USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate and is actively involved with the UCLA Alumni Council.  She has served on national boards including the Alliance for Regional Stewardship and the US High Speed Rail Association.  In 1999, Katherine graduated from the HOPE Leadership Institute, a program created to train Latinas to run for public office.

Katherine is an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Planning and Development. She co-designed and teaches a course in public participation in planning and land use. In addition, she co-taught a TOD Urban Design and Proforma Studio which analyzed the Expo Crenshaw Station. Katherine has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and taught a TOD Urban Design and Proforma course that provided students with design and finance skills.

Katherine joined Arup in 2017 as Associate Principal and leads the Transaction Advice group in the Los Angeles office. She received her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Transportation from UCLA and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University Northridge.


Tables 4 & 5

The Art of Communication – Tips and tools to become a more effective communicator to enhance your role and improve project performance.

Leader: Valerie DeLoach, AIA, LEED AP – Project Manager, HDR Architecture

As the Project Manager, Valerie is a design-oriented collaborator that serves as the daily “point-of-contact” from project conception through project completion. She is responsible for adherence to project goals, budget and schedule. Valerie has 14 years of experience directing design teams to complete complex building projects on time within strict budgetary constraints.  Her experience includes a multitude of project types from healthcare to education to cultural facilities including interiors, base building architecture, urban design and master planning.

Leader: Amie Nulman, SE, PE  – Associate Principal & Structural Engineer, Arup

Amie Nulman is a Structural Engineer and Associate Principal in the Buildings team in the Los Angeles office of Arup. In addition to structural system design, Amie project manages large building projects across various markets including commercial, arts and culture, education and government. Amie’s comprehensive communication skills have been developed over her 18 years of practice in three Arup offices – Boston, London and Los Angeles – delivering multi-disciplinary engineering on three continents. Together with successful communications, Amie has a keen interest in working mindfully with owners, architects and other engineering disciplines to develop holistic, simple and elegant design solutions.


Table 6

Charting your Career Path – Generalist or specialist? Doing the type of work you want in the type of environment you want.

Leader: Kate Diamond, FAIA, LEED AP – Design Director, HDR Architecture

Kate is passionate about planning effective, high performance courthouses that create powerful symbols of the role of justice in our democratic society. She has a breadth of experience and talent, with an award-winning and well-published portfolio that encompasses justice, federal, state and local government, K-12 through university, transportation and infrastructure. At HDR, she oversees design for civic, science + technology and academic projects.

Recognized as a true advocate for design in the Los Angeles architecture community and beyond, Kate is known by her peers as a dynamic and fluid team member committed to elevating the industry through her work and involvement. Among her many accomplishments, Kate has served on the National Peer Review Council for the GSA Design Excellence Program since 1996. She was the lead designer for three major GSA Design Excellence completed projects, as well as the lead designer for a major GSA Design Build | Design Excellence competition. Additionally she has taught at the USC School of Architecture and was the first woman president of the AIA LA Chapter.


Table 7

Career Path Goal Setting – Long or short term, big or small. This session will rely on discussion and brainstorming to come up with realistic and concrete actions we can take toward achieving our goals.

Leader: Audrey Sato, AIA, LEED AP – Principal, Sato Architects

Audrey Sato is the principal at Sato Architects, an educator at Cal Poly Pomona, and host of the XX|LA Architects Podcast.  Her work largely focuses on building strong relationships in order to create meaningful places.  Audrey has specialized in residential design for the past 10 years, with additional expertise in historic preservation.


Table 8

Entrepreneurship –Making the leap from architecture to entrepreneurship, or benefiting from bringing entrepreneurial strategies into architectural practice. Entrepreneurial hesitancy, starting your own firm, maintaining and growing a small firm.

Leader: Emmanuelle Bourlier – Co-Founder & CEO, Panelite

Emmanuelle Bourlier co-founded Panelite in 1998 and is the company’s CEO. Emmanuelle’s focus is on developing innovative, energy-efficient materials for architecture. Panelite pioneered the first translucent honeycomb panel and is a leader in the architectural application of honeycomb technology, holding six US patents. The company’s ClearShade honeycomb glazing was selected in 2011 by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL) / Department of Energy (DOE) as a promising energy-saving daylighting solution for façades, skylights and clerestories and has been integrated into LBNL’s building performance analysis tools.

Focusing on resource-efficiency and sustainability since before these factors were mandated, Panelite develops interior and exterior grade product lines that outdo other translucent alternatives with environmental benefits including low embodied energy, high strength to weight ratio, optimal daylighting, and outstanding solar shading. Panelite has worked with leading architectural firms including OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Gensler, HOK, and Perkins + Will, for clients such as JetBlue, Google, IIT, Audi, and numerous corporate offices, hospitals, schools and universities.

Prior to founding Panelite, Emmanuelle worked in architectural design offices including S. Russell Groves in New York and Christian Biecher Architectes in Paris. She holds a B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, an M. Arch from Columbia University and a Certificate in General Management from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business (Executive Program). Emmanuelle is a steering committee member of the AIA|LA’s Women in Architecture initiative and a frequent participant in the AIA|LA conference POWERFUL. She speaks on entrepreneurship.


Table 9 & 10

Talent Retention and Professional Development Strategies/ Retaining Bright Young Women – An equity-based approach to talent retention and professional development – tools and rewards. Growing young women 4-10 years of experience, identifying and addressing hurdles in meaningful ways.

Leader: Dani Paxson, SE – Associate, KPFF Consulting Engineers

Dani Paxson is a practicing Structural Engineer and an Associate with KPFF Consulting Engineers, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm with more than 1,000 employees nation-wide. Dani has been with KPFF Los Angeles since 2004. She is a licensed Structural Engineer in the state of California, a LEED Accredited Professional and DBIA Associate. With 25 years of experience, she has managed a wide variety of projects, from large institutional developments to small tenant improvements, spanning a range of market sectors including healthcare, retail, residential, parking and sports facilities. Dani thrives in the midst of dynamic, collaborative teams as her strength lies in her ability to facilitate collaboration between owners, consultants and contractors to produce cost and schedule-conscious solutions. She has served on the California Building Standards Commission, the Cal Poly SLO advisory board and several industry committees.

As part of her ongoing commitment to bring greater diversity to the profession, Dani serves on the Executive Board of Directors for Women in Construction Operations (WiOPS), is an active member of the NCSEA and SEAONC Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committees, and has served on the planning committees for the 2015 and 2016 AIA | Los Angeles Powerful Conferences. She also spearheads the Women’s network in KPFF’s Los Angeles office. In her spare time, Dani relentlessly seeks outdoor adventure, travel and soaking up information related to gender diversity, inclusion and engagement.

Leader: Lindsay Urquhart – CEO & Founder, Bespoke Careers

Lindsay is a registered British Architect and is the Founding Director of Bespoke Careers. Lindsay grew up in the UK, obtaining her Part I from Oxford Brooks, her Part II from the University of Westminster and her Part III at South Bank University. In 1997 she was nominated for the RIBA Silver Medal. Prior to establishing Bespoke Careers in 2004, Lindsay worked in practice for Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Perkins + Will in London and Denton Corker Marshall in Hong Kong and Sydney. Bespoke Careers is a leading international architectural careers agency with offices in London, Sydney, Melbourne, New York and Los Angeles. Although Lindsay doesn’t design anymore, she spends her time helping incredible individuals shape their careers and build brilliant teams.


Tables 11 & 12

Implementing Equitable Processes and Procedures – Where to start, what to expect, how to ensure success.

Leader: Marisa Kurtzman, Architect, LEED AP – Associate, Frederick Fisher and Partners

Marisa Kurtzman, Architect, LEED AP brings energy and focus to spearheading Frederick Fisher and Partners’ visioning, programming, and planning work – recent projects include the Natural History Museum of LA County’s West-South Expansion, USC’s Iovine and Young Hall, and an addition to Santa Monica’s historic City Hall.  A linguist and a “people person,” Marisa loves finding out what makes institutions and organizations tick, and then translating those values and goals into design concepts that are expressive of their distinct identities. Marisa firmly believes in equity in the design workplace. At FF&P she actively participates in leading progressive hiring practices, outreach initiatives, and workplace policy implementation.  Outside of work, she co-chairs the Advocacy Committee for the Association for Women in Architecture + Design. Marisa received her Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, and her Master of Architecture from Yale. She also enjoys seeking out quirky cultural activities around town, reading, listening to public radio, and travel.

Leader: Patricia Rhee, AIA, DBIA – Partner, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Patricia Rhee, AIA, DBIA is a Partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, the firm was awarded the 2015 National AIA Firm Award, one of the industry’s highest honors. Patricia has served as Lead Designer for many of the firm’s award-winning institutional, civic and commercial projects. Patricia received her Master’s degree in Architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Patricia was a Founding Co-Chair of the AIA Los Angeles Women in Architecture committee and was actively involved in planning the inaugural POWERFUL Women in Design Symposiums. She is currently on the Board of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce as well as the Economic Development Committee and recipient of the 2017 Culver City Women in Business Council Visionary Award.


Table 13

Work/Life Balance (not only for parents!) – Equitable Flexibility: The “Life” component of Work/Life varies tremendously.  How can an equitable approach take into account different life priorities and needs?

Leader: Tara Bauer, AIA – Project Manager, Jensen + Partners

Tara is a licensed Architect, and provides project support with high-level design for Jensen + Partners. Tara works directly with master planners, and managers programming, concept costing, architectural test fits, and digital model-making. Tara has built many relationships with planning, building, and fire departments as well as other consultants. She is adept at balancing client needs, budgets, engineering requirements, and municipal constraints. Throughout her career she has been involved in the development of construction drawings from schematic design through job completion, and her fluency in this process is a valuable asset to Jensen + Partners’ clients.


Table 14

Interviewing and Networking Tips – Tips to make a powerful impression whether in an interview or a networking situation.

Leader: Melanie Freeland, AIA, LEED AP – Senior Project Designer, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Melanie is a licensed Architect, LEED BD+C certified, and was recently named AIACC Young Architect of 2017. Her portfolio includes over a dozen built projects in the US and overseas in a variety of scales and program types. Melanie brings an infectious enthusiasm for creativity and diligent work ethic to the profession. She is a founding member of The Breakfast Club, a gender equity initiative started at Gensler LA now extended to offices around the world. She routinely speaks at women empowerment events including Lady Boss at the Ace Hotel and is Co-Chair of the WiA AIA|LA. She has co-authored a piece for the AIA|LA newsletter, Architecture and Civic Engagement, A Call to Action. In 2016, she was elected to the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council to represent the community of 60k plus residents. Outside of the office, you might find her exploring the city on two wheels with her husband and young son.


Tables 15 & 16

Mentorship: topics including the benefits and challenges of formal mentorship programs, the keys to good mentoring relationships and how mentoring is essential to advancing women’s careers.

Leader: Anne Fletcher, AIA, LEED AP – Managing Principal, HOK Los Angeles

Anne Fletcher, AIA, LEED AP, is the managing principal of HOK’s Los Angeles office and a member of the firm’s board of directors and management board. With more than two decades of experience in the design and real estate industries, Anne is responsible for the strategic direction and overall performance of the Los Angeles practice. She has a unique ability to guide teams in translating client priorities, expectations and requirements into elegant, efficient and buildable design solutions. Anne is active in the Urban Land Institute on the national Urban Development Mixed-Use Council (UDMUC-Red), and also chairs the Mixed-Use Council of the organization’s New York chapter. In addition, she is a member of WX Women Executives in Real Estate and served on the board of Women in Housing & Finance.

Leader: Monica Rodriguez, AIA – Senior Associate, KFA

Monica celebrated her 10-year anniversary with KFA in August 2016, and was recently promoted to Senior Associate. She is the project manager for the Ivy Station project in Culver City. As a native of East Los Angeles and second generation Mexican-American, she is especially proud of having worked on the Hollenbeck Terrace Apartments affordable housing project in Boyle Heights. Monica’s strengths lie in client and consultant coordination, design development, construction administration, and permitting of highly complex projects. She volunteers at a number of organizations; in 2011 Monica co-developed the year-long 6th Grade Architecture Mentor Program at Para Los Niños Elementary School.


Table 17

Board Membership: Where to Start? – Interested in joining a board? How to get started, what to expect, different types of Boards.  How to choose and get on a board, whether directly in the architecture field or indirectly (art, publications, environment, and business.) Data show that women on boards are good for business. Board membership is an excellent way to effect change, gain experience, and make connections.

Leader: Carissa Oyedele, AIA, LEED BD+C – Associate Principal, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners and Director on 2018 AIA|LA Board of Directors

Carissa received a Bachelor of Architecture degree with a minor in Construction Management from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Her education provided a solid foundation for solving creative design solutions to various project types, including those with complex programs, schedules, and delivery methods. With project experience ranging from masterplans to competitions, mixed-use, campus, and civic work, Carissa’s breadth of experience extends into local, national, and international communities. Carissa is an active member and a Director of the AIA|LA, an IDP Coordinator, and an NCARB Licensing Advisor. In addition, she is a new mom to baby boy Kayden, which provides a new and wonderful challenge of trying to master the work-life balance in order to enjoy more time at home.


Table 18

Architectural Firm Roles: project designer, project manager, project architect / How do you position yourself for the role you are most interested in? How to gain experience in a role?

Leader: Julie Smith-Clementi – Partner and Creative Director, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, President/CEO of notNeutral

Julie views the multidisciplinary design process as an opportunity to create spaces that both engage and inspire the people who inhabit them. Since joining RCHS in 1989, she has been integral in the development of countless award-winning projects. Julie is at her best when uniting her passions for architecture and interior design to create holistic environments, designing not only the boundaries of a space, but also the graphics, furnishings, and fixtures that make it inviting. Her experience in crafting acclaimed interiors persuaded her that our firm should also design, manufacture, and sell furnishings that bring rooms to life.


Tables 19 & 20

Alternate Career Paths: Architects and those trained in architecture practice in a wide variety of ways, within architecture and in allied professions.  This is an opportunity to explore different options and share experience.

Leader: Tanya Paz, Assoc. AIA – Senior Designer, CAMA

In 2016, Tanya joined CAMA to launch a West Coast office, marrying her interest in design, wellness, and health policy with CAMA’s mission to empower well-being through design.

Tanya’s previous work took her from Rwanda to Latin America, notably as a Fulbright Scholar funded to evaluate new processes for design and health access in resource-limited settings. She later spent several years building MASS Design Group’s US practice, deploying human-centered design methodologies to support the delivery of care domestically and abroad. Much of her work focused on applying knowledge gained from their projects overseas to health facilities in the US. Tanya leveraged this process joining SOM and later Gensler in the Health & Wellness Practice Area. Tanya received her Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and her Masters in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Leader: Patti Harburg-Petrich, Affiliate AIA|LA – Associate Principal, BuroHappold Engineering

Patti Harburg-Petrich, SE, LEED AP BD+C is an Associate Principal at BuroHappold Engineering. She has a passion for aviation and transportation projects, historic retrofit, sustainable design and community-centric work. Patti is a licensed Structural Engineer in the state of California, LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design + Construction, and certified Disaster Service Worker for the State of California Safety Assessment Program. She serves on the board of the ACE Mentor Program, the Southern California Development Forum, and the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California. Patti chairs the ASCE Structural Engineering Institute Public Relations Committee and serves on the board of the ASCE SEI BPAD Executive Committee.


Table 21

How to Handle Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination

Leader: Petrina Gooch, Assoc. AIA – Principal & Corporate Human Resources Leader, HED

Petrina KM Gooch, SPHR, SHRM SCP has been with Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) since 2008 and is the Principal, Corporate HR Leader, and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors.  Additionally, she currently serves as an Executive Committee member of the AIA Human Resources Large Firm Round Table(LFRT) subcommittee, and is part of the AIA LFRT CEO Diversity Task Force.  For the past 25 years, Ms. Gooch’s career in Human Resources Management and Leadership has spanned the private and public sectors, as well as the professional service and labor industries.  Additionally, Ms. Gooch has provided independent Human Resources consulting services.  Ms. Gooch has also served as an adjunct instructor for Biola University, where she shared her professional passion teaching business courses focused on Human Resources Management and Group Organizational Behavior.  In 2014, Ms. Gooch was privileged to be a guest lecturer at the Peter Drucker Graduate School of Management for a graduate course on total compensation.

Ms. Gooch earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Biola University and a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Pepperdine University.  Ms. Gooch is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management, as well as the Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA), where she served as a volunteer on the District 1 Board of Directors in the role of Vice-Chair and Treasurer, from 2009 – 2013.  From 2002 through 2010, Ms. Gooch was appointed to the City of Whittier, CA Personnel Board and completed two 4-year terms of service.  She and her family have resided in Whittier since 1999.


Table 22

Building a Flexible Practice: Diverse interests, projects and locations can be reflected in an innovative and flexible practice.

Leader: Elissa Scrafano, AIA – Principal, Scrafano Architects

Elissa Scrafano, AIA, is principal and founder of Scrafano Architects. She has been practicing architecture for more than 25 years, and is a registered architect in Illinois, Michigan, and California. Elissa received a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a concentration in art history, and a Master’s in Architecture from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. Before establishing her own business, Elissa worked at the offices of Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Eric Owen Moss Architects, Narduli Grinstein Architects, and Landworth Debolske Architects. Scrafano Architects was established twenty years ago designing corporate offices, commercial retail boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and residential projects of all sizes and scales including new construction, renovation and restoration. Their work appears throughout the globe commissioned by clients from all over the world. Scrafano Architects is one office with two locations – Los Angeles and Chicago. Both offices work together as one team sharing efforts, knowledge, and ideas in a collaborative studio environment that encourages open exchange. The majority of the designers are women with specialized talents that range from architecture, interior design, space planning, color theory, furniture and landscape design, woodworking, jewelry making, painting, graphics, music, and writing. They draw from broad and diverse experiences during the entire design process, and are practicing architects, educators, and active in community outreach. Scrafano Architects has received several Design AIA awards and has been featured in Dwell, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Social, Western Interiors, Chicago Tribune, Midwest Home, and other publications. Elissa is honored to be appointed to the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti, and previously served on the Cultural Heritage Commission.


Tables 23 & 24

Talking to Your (Future) Client– Engaging and retaining new clients requires strong communication and relationship building skills. This will be an opportunity to learn from experts and to share tips and experiences.

Leader: Helena Jubany, FAIA, LEED AP, CASp – Managing Principal, NAC Architecture

Helena Jubany is the Managing Principal of the Los Angeles office of NAC Architecture. Throughout her career of over 30 years, Helena has advanced her practice by developing a collaborative and inclusive process that promoted diversity and advocated for outstanding design with a focus on educational facilities. Helena was elevated to the College of the Fellows of The American Institute of Architects in 2013 for her contribution in advancing architectural practice by creating opportunities to empower minority and women architects, exemplifying the leadership position of the architect in the public realm, and elevating the architect’s role in the community. Helena currently serves as President for local chapter of the Association for Learning Environments, Immediate Past Chair of the Board of A Community of Friends (ACOF), a non-profit organization focused in providing permanent supportive housing for homeless people with mental illness. She is the Chair of the Design Control Board for Marina Del Rey, one of the world largest man made small craft harbor. In the past, she served as President of the Commission for the Los Angeles Building & Safety Department, President of the Asian American Architects/Engineers Association, Counsel Member of the Mayor of Los Angeles Food Policy Council, and as a Board Member for the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter. In addition to her practice, Helena teaches as an adjunct professor at Woodbury University to 5th year architectural students.

Leader: Elizabeth Valmont, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D, LEED AP – Acoustic Consultant Lead & Associate, Arup

Dr. Elizabeth Valmont leads the Acoustic, Audio Visual & Theater consulting team in Los Angeles. She has thirteen years of experience in the acoustic design and engineering field with an expertise in room acoustics, exterior and interior noise control, and building systems noise and vibration. While at Arup, Elizabeth has led the design and management of global projects in various sectors including arts and culture, aviation, education, government, healthcare, commercial, rail, retail and sports. Elizabeth previously worked at Veneklasen Associates where she was involved in a range of building projects of various types and scale, primarily in Southern California. Elizabeth has been a University instructor at the USC School of Architecture for building science programs since 2005 and has a long history as a prolific presenter in professional and academic arenas.

Elizabeth has a Bachelor in Architecture (BARCH), a Master of Building Science (MBS) and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Architecture (PhD Arch) from the University of Southern California. She is the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Leader for Arup Los Angeles and is on the Health Guidelines Revision Committee for the 2022 Facilities Guideline Institute Revision Cycle. As a classically trained musician and architect, Elizabeth is particularly interested in immersive environments. Her versatile skillsets have intuitively influenced her practice to enable design innovation and effective opportunities in acoustics and technology.


Table 25

Advocating for Equity topics to include an example of a diversity plan that can be tailored for different settings, hiring, promoting and mentoring.

Leader: Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, FAIA – Dean, Woodbury School of Architecture

Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter is an architect, educator, and design consultant specializing in the building envelope and the experimental architectural use of glass. Currently Dean of the School of Architecture at Woodbury University, she has taught at Yale, Cornell, the Bartlett, and SCI-Arc. She is also Director of WUHO, the Woodbury University Hollywood gallery, a venue for experimental installations, public lectures and workshops. She currently serves on the LA Forum Board of Directors.

The work of her collaborative office, WROAD, navigates transdisciplinary territory in the diverse type and scale of projects. She has collaborated on multiple award-winning projects including as façade consultant on Bloom with DoSu Architects, the Portland Aerial Tramway with AGPS, the Centre Pompidou exhibition, Continuities of the Incomplete, with Morphosis, and as project architect for the Corning Museum of Glass with Smith-Miller + Hawkinson.


Table 26

“Lean-In” Initiative: Women, Work, Well-Being and the Will to Lead: Inspired by the book Lean-In by Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook, Michelle will talk about how female architects should be more assertive at work and not let biases keep them from pushing forward.  They should seek challenges, take risks and pursue their goals with gust and avoid (unintentionally) holding themselves back in their career. She will also talk about challenges to create a well-balanced work and family life and still have a will to lead.

Leader: Michelle Ferial Asadies, AIA, ARB, LEED AP – Senior Associate, Puchlik Design

With over 18 years of experience in the architecture and construction industry in the US, UK and Asia, Michelle Ferial Asadies brings her expertise in programming, medical planning, design and management to a range of healthcare, educational and institutional projects at Puchlik Design Associates (PDA).

Since joining PDA, a medium size architectural practice specialized in healthcare, Michelle has spent the last 7 years developing successful client relationships and establishing new partnerships, while focusing on the growth and development of the firm and advancing PDA’s vision of “transforming design and shifting the paradigm.”

As a Design and Programming Leader in the office, she seeks opportunities to innovate through design to improve the evolving healthcare environments and mentor a new breed of healthcare architects through monthly workshop sessions at PDA’s Design Lab360.

She is the co-founder of AIA Pasadena and Foothill Architecture in Healthcare Committee and serves as a member of the AIA|LA Architecture in Healthcare steering committee.


Table 27

Redefine Your Tribe: The session will focus on the benefits of a career transition and how it positively impact your work, firm, clients and “new (architectural) community”.

Leader: Simone Barth-Auster, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP – Senior Associate, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners

Born in Ueberlingen, Germany, following a family tradition, Simone completed a carpenter apprenticeship before she studied and gained her master of architecture and diploma of engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart. Simone joined Moore Ruble Yudell in 2003, where she gained valuable experience with diverse project types. As project manager and integral member of the design team Simone contributed to the planning and execution of a wide range of award-winning civic, academic and educational buildings. Simone has been leading Moore Ruble Yudell’s sustainability and research portfolio group for over ten years and is responsible for education, implementation and administration of the firm’s sustainable principles and values. With over thirteen years of professional experience and a strong interest in craft, stewardship and innovation Simone’s talent lies in the synthesis of management, uncompromising attention to detail, and strong design sensibility. A dedicated collaborator, she has the enthusiasm and energy to develop and execute contemporary planning and design solutions appropriate to culture, site and climate.

During the recent completed UMKC Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Kansas City and the Brown School of Social Work Hillman Hall at Washington University in St. Louis, Simone effectively coordinated large client and consultant teams, fast – track schedules and complex programs with attention to design, constructability and budget. Simone pairs her architectural expertise with in-depth knowledge of large – scale urban and campus planning projects. Her sensitivity to place, culture and client needs combined with the ability to coordinate and facilitate multi-faceted client, consultant team and user groups was applied on a variety of institutional, residential, and mixed use urban projects.

Nurturing a strong commitment to outreach, mentorship, and teaching Simone taught a design studio at UNITEC in Auckland, New Zealand and Jinan University, China in 2013 and participated as assistant at the 2010 Glenn Murcutt Master Class in Sydney. Since 2004, Simone has taught with James Mary O’Connor in the Architecture & Interior Design Program at University of California, Los Angeles Extension. Simone lectured at UNITEC in Auckland, New Zealand, UTS in Sydney, Australia and the University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart, Germany and has been invited as a guest critic at Woodbury University, the University of Southern California and the 2013 Glenn Murcutt Master Class. As current Vice-Chair of the AIA COTE (Committee of the Environment) and WIA committee member Simone maintains strong connections with the design community at large. She is an active member of the AIA Los Angeles Chapter as well as the USGBC – LA Chapter.


Table 28

Advocacy- Finding Your Voice and Taking Action: Would you like to take action but don’t know where to start? What actions are effective?  Here’s a chance to discuss how to begin to think strategically about advocacy.

Leader: Andy Lantz – Creative Director, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Since Andy joined Rios Clementi Hale Studios in 2011, his design perspective, style, and aesthetic have played important roles on numerous projects.  Andy’s depth of experience in sensory deprivation and replacement informs his ability to design places and spaces that engage the complete sensory experience — sound, smell, and touch, in addition to their sight. As a result, his projects possess a textural component, from the grain of the custom sculptural wood reception desk at 600 Congress in Austin to the ephemeral softness of the felt that arrays the ceiling at the Hollywood Bowl Artist Lounge.


Tables 29 & 30

Starting Your Own Practice- You know more than you think!

Leader: Taryn Bone, Assoc. AIA – Principal, Bone Collective Studio

Taryn Bone, Assoc. AIA is Principal and Owner of Bone Collective Studio, a design studio where she creates boutique spaces for people to live, work, and play. She is also an educator, teaching undergraduate studios in Cal-Poly Pomona’s architecture department. Taryn served in the Army Reserves from 2003-2011 with two twelve month long deployments to the Middle East. She holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Interior Design from the University of Missouri.

Leader: Jennifer Luce, FAIA – Principal & Founder, LUCE et Studio

Jennifer Luce, FAIA designs spaces where creative work is made, performed, preserved, or shown in its best light. Her firm, LUCE et studio, is known for research and applications of new technological materials and innovative fabrications, and its core expertise is in architecture, urban design, interior architecture, and graphic design. The firm maintains a strong identity in the international architectural community. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Jennifer Luce received her Bachelor of Architecture (with distinction) from Carleton University, Ottawa, in 1984. Luce began her career winning an international competition to design the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), located near Washington D.C.—the first “smart” building in the United States. Luce completed the CIT project in 1988 in association with Arquitectonica International of Miami, Florida and Martha Schwartz Landscape Architects.

In 1990, she established LUCE et studio, a multidisciplinary architectural practice in southern California. In 1994, she completed a Master of Design Studies degree from Harvard University. Luce has refined a highly unique and successful art-based process for civic, community, corporate, and private projects. The studio has built award-winning buildings and collaborative spaces for creative design companies—Nissan Design America, Disney, and Steelcase, for example.

Currently, LUCE et studio is redesigning the Mingei International Museum in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park. The studio balances large-scale work with residential commissions, interior architecture, and furniture design. Luce’s projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla and the Pasadena Museum of Art. The studio was named Design Vanguard by Architectural Record in 2005, received a 2006 Business Week Award for Design Innovation, and has received twenty-one honors and awards from the American Institute of Architects. In 2016, Luce was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. She is currently the Shimizu Visiting Professor at Stanford University and holds an appointed Graduate Director position at the Harvard Alumni Association.


Table 31

The Value of a Strategic Plan- Get a better understanding of how you/your firm got to where you are now. Where you want to go and a vision for success. What might get in your way of realizing that success and areas that require your attention. What do you need to get there, and how do you build in the agility you need in a very active and disruptive world.

Leader: Phyllis Dubinsky, Affiliate AIA|LA – Consulting Principal, Vantage Technology Consulting Group

During her 25+-year career, Phyllis has been in leadership/principal roles for smaller regional practices and multi-national architecture and architecture/engineering firms. Known for her laser sharp ability to clearly define future oriented approaches and solutions, her greatest successes have been in discovering solutions and jump-starting and positioning firms in markets either previously untapped or dormant, positioning firms ahead of the next wave in these markets. She also has gained a national reputation as an innovator and educator, which is often fueled by her insatiable curiosity. Specialty areas are: Strategic planning, new market entry, branding and identity, market research and application of that research, client development, business development, often successfully matching disparate components. Urban Design and Health Impact issues are strong drivers for her. Education and community involvement are very much at her core, and she has served on several boards during her career.  Over the years, Phyllis has taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) where she was part of the Applied Studies Faculty for five years and has also held adjunct faculty roles at UCLA, Woodbury University and School of Visual Arts. She lectures frequently about all things related to business and market strategies. Phyllis is an avid swimmer and tennis player and loves to play jazz piano.


Table 32

Resilience Thinking– How do you manage for the ‘unknown unknown’? Strategies for project managers and senior members in the 21st century.

Leader: Kishani De Silva – Principal, 2A+D

Kishani is a FUSE Corps Fellow (2018/19), and has completed reading for a MSc in Major Program Management at the University of Oxford, England.

She has been working in the architecture and design industries for over twenty years and started her own management consultancy, 2A+D, following her time at Foster + Partners in London, as a project manager. Her current interest lies in building resilience to absorb, adapt and transform from the unexpected, and helping Los Angeles with the housing and homelessness crisis, considered a defining issue of our time. She also leads the “50:50 x 2020” gender equity  initiative for the AWA+D and sits on two Boards for social and economic justice.


Table 33

Morning Session Recap– For those who would like to share thoughts on the morning sessions

Leader: Claudia Walker, SE, LEED AP – Associate & Project Manager, KPFF Consulting Engineers

Claudia is a practicing licensed structural engineer and Associate with KPFF. With over 18 years of experience, she has managed a wide variety of projects ranging from Entertainment, Retail, Healthcare, Hospitality, Residential, Commercial and Education. Her work with various entertainment clients is unique and creates a great learning environment for those she mentors. Claudia has practiced with KPFF because of her passion for engineering, working with clients, and providing the owner with the best solutions. With a diversity of experience ranging from complicated intricate stair designs to residential housing to multistory steel and wood buildings, no project is too complicated, too small, or too big. Claudia is driven by providing engineering expertise to the collaboration process of design.

PHOTO: AIA Powerful Conference by Tibby Rothman, Honorary AIA|LA