POWERFUL
POWERFUL 2019 SPEAKER BIOS
PHOTO: Photo: Nico Marques

Alda Ly – Founder, Principle, Alda Ly Architecture & Design (ALA)

Alda Ly is founder and principal of ALA. Born in New Zealand and raised in a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, she would watch her cabinetmaker father draw kitchen elevations and accompany him to open houses to see how other people shaped their spaces. From the moment she studied freehand drawing as a UC Berkeley undergrad, Ly knew she wanted to become an architect, and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. While still a student at Harvard, in 2008 she helped launch MASS Design Group, the award-winning nonprofit design practice dedicated to humanitarian and socially sustainable work. Since 2002, Ly has lived in New York City and has worked at Rafael Viñoly Architects, 212box, HWKN, and Leong Leong. In these tenures, she nurtured a curiosity in evolving work and cultural spaces, and discovered a talent for leading project teams with empathy. She also co-founded Designers Assembly, which supports young architects who aspire to ethical, creatively fulfilling entrepreneurship. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Rob, a tech product manager, and their son Simon.

Rosa Sheng – FAIA, Principal, Higher Education Studio Leader & Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, SmithGroup

Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA is Principal, Higher Education Studio Leader and Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at SmithGroup. An accomplished architect, Rosa has led internationally acclaimed projects from the aesthetically minimal iconic Apple flagship stores, Pixar Animation Studios – Steve Jobs Building and several innovative projects at institutions of higher learning. Her most notable work champions design for just, equitable, and inclusive environments across disciplines. In 2019, Rosa was celebrated as a Metropolis Game Changer for her leadership as founder of Equity by Design (EQxD). The group’s advocacy is dedicated to minimizing barriers and providing just access to the resources that design professionals need to thrive – regardless of gender, socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic identity. Rosa and the advocacy work of EQxD has received critical acclaim in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, ARCHITECT Magazine. She has presented at TEDxPhiladelphia, SxSW and the Cannes Lions Festival on Creativity.

Virginia San Fratello – Founding Partner, Emerging Objects; Partner, RAEL SAN FRATELLO

Virginia San Fratello draws, builds, 3D prints, teaches, and writes about architecture as a cultural endeavor deeply influenced by craft traditions and contemporary technologies. She is a founding partner in the Oakland based Make-Tank, Emerging Objects and she speculates about the social agency of architecture, particularly along the borderlands between the USA and Mexico, in her studio RAEL SAN FRATELLO. You can see her drawings, models, and objects in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Kristin Akin-Zimmerman – AIA, LEED GA, Designer, SOM Los Angeles

Kristin Akin-Zimmerman is a licensed architect and designer in SOM’s Los Angeles studio with design and technical experience in all project phases from zoning exercises through construction administration. Her project experience includes large-scale mixed-use projects, renovations and landmarked buildings. Kristin’s focus has been the design of urban conditions, streetscapes, playful environments and how people use the “ground” level—public spaces, landscape, programming and exterior details. With her interests in fabrication, Kristin has lead courses on subtractive fabrication processes and digital fabrication techniques at New York City College of Technology and acted as a studio instructor and mentor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Yunnan Allen – RA, LEEDAP, Senior Project Architect, HDR Architecture

Yunnan is a project architect with over 10 years of experience delivering diverse projects ranging from healthcare, science and technology, institutional, corporate, sports, and educational. Yunnan is relied upon by her clients and colleagues for her technical expertise, ability to leverage digital technology, and her experience with alternative delivery methods. Yunnan has been technical architecture lead on several complex design-built and IPD projects. She has lectured at USC on BIM technology, and has been an panel speaker at DBIA events.

Simone Barth-Auster – Dipl.Ing.Arch., Assoc. AIA LEED AP BD+C OMGIVNING

Simone was born near the shores of Germany’s Lake Constance and grew up in Billafingen, a 600-person village with no traffic lights, two fountains and one curve. As family tradition mandates, she apprenticed to a carpenter before graduating high school. Simone is thus bound by fate to an extraordinary focus on craft that affects her sense of detailing, project management and muesli. She obtained her degrees in architecture from the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart. Highly regarded for her work in carbon-neutral and climate- sensitive design, Simone has lectured at architecture schools all over the world, most fulfillingly at her alma mater. A resident of LA since 2003, she’s highly engaged in our design scene and is a past chair of the AIA Los Angeles’ Committee on the Environment. Ask her about vintage Porsches or Aston Martins and hang on tight.

Laura Bachelder – Architect(EU)Gehry Partners, LLP

1997 MA graduate from the University of Florence. Worked one year as an intern in a small architectural office of which she became partner in 1998 after obtaining her European architectural license. From 2000 to 2002 attended the Building Technology SMarchS program at MIT from which she graduated in summer 2002. From September 2002 until today, she has been working mainly at Gehry Partners, Gehry Technology as DP/Catia/ Parametric design expert as well as Façade coordinator. Her main projects at Gehry Partners include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Foundation Louis Vuitton, Facebook MPK21, and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Emmanuelle Bourlier – Founding partner, CEO, Panelite

Emmanuelle Bourlier co-founded Panelite in 1998 and is the company’s CEO. Emmanuelle is a creative, driven and collaborative leader who seeks opportunities for growth and positive impact. She has worked in Europe and the United States, demonstrating a forthright approach to leadership and an ability to balance visionary thinking with business fundamentals. Emmanuelle’s focus at Panelite is on material innovation, specifically on the energy saving, net-zero potential of honeycomb technology through daylighting, solar shading and greenhouse gas reduction. Having pioneered the first translucent composite in 1998, Panelite is a leader in the architectural application of honeycomb technology. The company’s ClearShade glazing is recognized by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs as an energy-saving glazing solution and is integrated into LBNL’s building performance software. Panelite works with leading firms including OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Gensler, HOK, and Diller Scofidio Renfro, for clients such as JetBlue, Google, Garmin, and Audi. Applications include corporate offices, hospitals, schools, transit hubs and universities. Prior to founding Panelite, Emmanuelle was a designer at Groves & Co 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).

Claudia Carol – AIA, LEED® AP ND, Cities & Communities Leader, Senior Associate

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.

Heidi Creighton – AIA, LEED Fellow, WELL Faculty, Fitwel Ambassador, Associate Principal, BuroHappold Engineering | Sustainability

Heidi Creighton is an associate principal at BuroHappold Engineering and is a registered architect, a LEED Fellow, a WELL Faculty, and a Fitwel Ambassador. Her work focuses on sustainability and wellness strategies and certifications for academic, healthcare, commercial, and residential projects. She provides sustainability consulting services at the building and masterplan scales, as well as 3rd party certification management (LEED, Living Building Challenge, and WELL), post occupancy evaluation, and health and wellbeing-focused design. Heidi is a passionate advocate for a restorative built environment, delivering socially, economically and environmentally sustainable developments.

Kishani De Silva – FUSE Executive Fellow, Los Angeles County Development Authority.

Kishani De Silva is a FUSE Executive Fellow working with the executive office in the Los Angeles County Development Authority. Kishani has worked in the architecture and design industries for over twenty years in the project management arena, both in the U.S. and the U.K. Prior to her appointment with the LACDA she worked as a management consultant, which followed her time at Foster + Partners in London. Her Fellowship work for the LACDA focuses on finding solutions to both the challenges of homelessness and the shortfall in affordable housing; a defining issue of our time. A former president and Board member, she leads a “50:50 x 2020” gender equity initiative for the Association for Women in Architecture + Design and also sits on a Board related to social and economic justice. She has a MSc in Major Program Management from the University of Oxford, England, and a BArch from Woodbury University.

Kate Diamond – FAIA, LEED AP, Design Director, HDR

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 U.S. General Services Administration 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 University of Southern California School of Architecture and was the first woman president of the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter.

Jeannette Diaz – Architect, Ed.D Creativity, Certified Integral Master Coach, Author

As a Certified Integral Master Coach, I am passionate about using my decades-long experience to support architects, designers, women entrepreneurs and creative professionals close the gap between their talents and achievement. The coaching work I do is backed by a professional degree in Architecture, a Doctorate in Creativity from the University of Massachusetts and twenty-eight years as faculty in the School of Architecture UCV (Caracas). The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning Editions of the UCV and the Polar Foundation published a book (2009) of my award-winning research on the life and work of contemporary Venezuelan architect Hélène de Garay.

Phyllis Dubinsky – Principal Regional Development Director, TEECOM | the tech in architecture, Affiliate AIA|LA

Phyllis Dubinsky is Principal, Regional Development Director for TEECOM, a technology firm that engineers the User Experience for buildings. During her 25-year career, she has served as Principal for smaller regional architectural practices, as well as for multi-national architectural firms and has led practices in both Institutional Planning and Higher Education. Phyllis owes her success with service firms and end-users to her strengths in market research, strategic thinking and personal integrity. Her greatest successes have been in strategic market entry, often matching seemingly disparate components that create positive results. She is the recipient of the Leonardo Award, from SMPS, recognizing her as a Renaissance marketer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theoretical Linguistics from SUNY Buffalo (UB) with additional graduate studies in Linguistics. Over the years, Phyllis has taught SCI-Arc where she was part of the Applied Studies Faculty 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 has served on the Boards of Directors of the Architectural Guild of USC, the Southern Ca. Bio Medical Council, and the Board of the Westside Urban Forum in Los Angeles and on the Lean Community of Practice, while in NYC. A proponent of lifelong learning, Phyllis continues to expand her education. In 2010 she became a full time student for a semester while competing on the Santa Monica College Tennis team which won its division title for the first time in 30 years. She is an avid swimmer and sometime musician.

Michelle “Ferial” Asadies – AIA, ARB (UK), LEED AP Senior Project Manager HDR

With 18 years of experience in design, programming and project management for healthcare facilities from the U.S. to the U.K., Ferial has focused her design philosophy on creating healing spaces that engage and inspire patients, their loved ones and caregivers alike. Both her work and reputation illustrate passion, motivation and a commitment to the clients with whom she partners, rooted in deep project involvement from inception to completion. As an integral team member of HDR’s Los Angeles healthcare practice leadership, Ferial nurtures new client relationships and spearheads project delivery efforts. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the AIA Pasadena and Foothill Healthcare Group.

Anne Fletcher – AIA, LEED AP, Managing Principal, HOK

Anne Fletcher leads HOK Los Angeles as Managing Principal, where she is responsible for the strategic direction and overall performance of the multidisciplinary practice. As an architect with over two decades of experience, she has led teams through significant projects including dozens of mixed-use, hospitality, residential and transportation projects. Anne is active in AIA Los Angeles, the Urban Land Institute, and serves on the Executive Board of the LAEDC and the LABC. She is also a member of HOK’s Global Board of Directors and Management Board. Before relocating to Los Angeles in 2017, she ran the HOK New York mixed-use practice and led The New LaGuardia Airport Masterplan, guiding the complex design and implementation of over $9.5 billion of simultaneous redevelopment, while directly reporting to the Governor.

Melanie Freeland – Architect | AIA | LEED AP, Studio Director, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Melanie’s commitment to delivering innovative design in demanding settings is evident throughout her portfolio. As a Studio Director at Rios Clementi Hale Studios, she is a valuable asset to a diverse set of projects from large scale workplace projects like Sunset Las Palmas to wellness-driven oncology experiences like the University of Southern California Ellison Institute. Her background includes work on residential projects and work with prominent artists on site-specific installations including the late Sol LeWitt, James Turrell, Jeff Koons, Robert Irwin, and Charles Ray. Melanie volunteers her time to numerous organizations including United Way and the Downtown Women’s Center. She is Director-at-Large for the Highland Park Neighborhood Council and is Past-Chair of the AIA/LA Women in Architecture Committee.

Kerenza Harris – Director of Design Technology, Morphosis Architects, Faculty at Sci-Arc, RA

Kerenza Harris oversees advanced computational design and simulation for all projects at Morphosis. Her team focuses on research, development and integration of advanced technologies into the design and construction process, using software like 3DEXPERIENCE to model and rationalize forms, skins, and structures. She also guides the firm’s use of XR technology to create immersive environments for testing and communicating concepts through all phases. Kerenza is also faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), where her teaching focuses on digital design tools and construction. She is a frequent lecturer on computational design and the intersection of architecture and XR.

Ashley Morgan Hastings – Assoc. AIA, BIM Manager | Arup

Ashley Hastings is a BIM Manager in the Los Angeles office of Arup. With degrees in both International Business and Architecture, Ashley now combines her previous experience in project management with building design to coordinate multi-disciplinary projects across various markets. Ashley maintains a firm belief in transparency on projects and fosters open communication among all team members. She builds relationships that nurture collaboration and communication in order to achieve successful project outcomes. A recent graduate of SCI-Arc (2018), Ashley seeks to blend creative design with thoughtful planning and organization through BIM collaboration (with occasional project virtualization and digital fabrication).

Pearl Ho – Designer, OfficeUntitled

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Pearl Ting Ting Ho studied architecture at the University of Virginia and received her Masters from Yale University as a James Gamble Rogers Scholar and Tang Fellow. Her portfolio ranges from designing children's toys for the Imagination Tree, to working on the new Google headquarters in Los Angeles. She is currently a designer at Office Untitled where she works with an incredible team that pushes boundaries of what an architecture office could offer. Beyond that, she is the founder of Colossal Futures, a project that seeks to redefine the focus of books aimed at young girls, whilst being a platform for women in architecture to draw new worlds to believe in.

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. She is Dean of the School of Architecture at Woodbury University and has taught at Yale, Cornell, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, and SCI-Arc. Ingalill also serves as Director of WUHO, the Woodbury University Hollywood gallery, a venue for exhibitions, installations, and public dialogue, and serves on the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design Advisory Board. In partnership with Roland Wahlroos-Ritter, her architectural practice 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 Architects. Elevated to AIA Fellow in 2018, she is recipient of the 2016 AIA California Council Educator Award, was honored in 2018 with the AIA|LA Presidential Educator of the Year Award, and recognized by DesignIntelligence as one of the nation’s Most Admired Educators in architecture and design in 2018.

Helena Jubany – FAIA, LEED AP, CASp, FAIA, Principal, NAC

Helena Jubany is the Managing Principal of the Los Angeles office of NAC|Architecture. Throughout her career she 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 the Immediate Past President for Southern California Chapter of the international Association for Learning Environments, 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. In the past, she served as President of the Commission for the Los Angeles Building & Safety Department, Chair of the Design Control Board for Marina Del Rey, 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 5 th year architectural students.

Marisa Kurtzman – Architect, LEEP AP, Partner, Frederick Fisher and Partners

Marisa brings energy and focus to spearheading Frederick Fisher and Partners’ visioning, programming, planning, and concept design work. Recent projects include the Natural History Museum of LA County’s West-South Expansion, USC’s Iovine and Young Hall, and Crossroads School’s Science Education Building. 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 strategies that are expressive of their distinct identities. As one of FF&P’s next generation of partners, Marisa firmly believes in equity in the design workplace. She actively participates in shaping her firm’s 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.

Carol Lanham – AIA, Assoc DBIA, Program Manager, Kitchell CEM

Carol Lanham, AIA, Assoc DBIA is Justice Market Sector Lead and Program Manager at Kitchell CEM with a specialization in the design and construction of justice projects including courthouses, law enforcement buildings and correctional facilities. She is an active member of AIA, serving as AIA Pasadena & Foothills Chapter President in 2018, current member of the AIA|LA Practice Committee and Co-Chair of the national 2019 AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) Conference scheduled for October 22-26 in San Diego, as well as, AWA+D, where she is organizing and co-chairing a new mid-career mentoring group which will kick off in January.

Andy Lantz – Creative Director, Partner, CLEMENTI HALE STUDIOS, Assoc. AIA

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. While in graduate school, he helped design the Beverly School for the Deaf in Massachusetts, which required him to rethink learning environments that were visually and tactilely optimal for deaf learners. Upon graduation, Andy spent eight months working for a military contractor, analyzing and creating sensory-deprived environments for Black Hawk helicopter pilots. From 2011-14, Andy was an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Architecture, where he ran the Teen Architecture Studio program. Prior to that, he was an adjunct professor at Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture (2010-11). From 2008-10, he established and administered the Project Link program, an intensive immersion for high school students, at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Judith Mussell – RA, Associate, Gehry Partners, LLP

A licensed Architect with experience at prestigious firms including Gehry Partners and Coop Himmelblau, with published articles and award recipient designs. Capable in all phases of project delivery: strong presentation and design skills, experienced in design development & construction documentation as well as construction administration. Highly motivational leader and enthusiastic attitude towards the work with strong decision making skills. Experience with interior and small scale projects as well as cultural and commercial large scale projects. Collaboratively managing teams, staff and stakeholders through the scope of the project from inception to completion. Architectural strengths include advanced facade and curtain wall design, construction technology, excellent computer design skills, deep knowledge of green building technologies, design innovation, modern architecture and project/client management.

Carissa Oyedele – AIA, LEED™ AP BD+C, Associate Principal, Moore Ruble Yudell

Carissa Oyedele, AIA is committed to creating the highest level of design to better the built environment and provide spaces that improve the quality of life for others. Her expertise ranges from masterplans to competitions, mixed-use, campus, and civic work, and extends into local, national, and international communities. In addition, Carissa is an extraordinary leader and mentor in the community. With involvement ranging from AIA Board membership to active licensure development, motivating emerging professionals to obtain licensure and mentoring young students to pursue careers in architecture, Carissa’s commitment to giving back to the community is evident through her action.

Stephanie Reich – AIA, LEED AP, Planning and Community Development, Design and Historic Preservation Planner, City of Santa Monica

Stephanie Reich re-joined Planning and Community Development in the City of Santa Monica as the Design and Historic Preservation Planner, leading the team that serves the Architectural Review Board and Landmarks Commission. Stephanie most recently served as Urban Designer for the City of West Hollywood, and has also served the cities of Glendale and Long Beach in a similar role. From 2003 to 2006 Stephanie held the position of Urban Designer for the City, and is happy to be returning to Santa Monica. Stephanie is continually excited by the enormous possibilities for excellence in architecture and urban design in Santa Monica and the Greater Los Angeles area. Stephanie is a licensed architect and prior to joining the City of Santa Monica in 2003 practiced architecture and urban design for almost 20 years with a variety of notable firms in Los Angeles and New York including Morphosis, and Daniel Libeskind, and larger firms of AECOM and NBBJ. Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University, and her Master of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Stephanie chose Los Angeles to be a part of building a great city. As part of her commitment to the broader design community Stephanie is active in the local AIA chapter (AIA/LA), and has served on the Board of Directors, and has been on the Urban Design Committee for AIACC since 2006. From 2001 and 2010 she served as Chair of the AIA/LA Urban Design Committee, providing a forum for multi-disciplinary dialogue on key urban design issues. Stephanie is also an active member and past president of Association for Women in Architecture + Design (AWA+D) for which she leads a monthly Salon discussion group, and serves as a mentor for young professionals.

Patricia Rhee – FAIA, DBIA, Partner, EHRLICH YANAI RHEE CHANEY Architects

Patricia Rhee, FAIA, is a Partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, and has been practicing architecture for 20 years. Patricia was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2019, one of 21 women of nationally. She is the recipient of the 2017 Culver City Women in Business Council Visionary Award. Patricia was also a Founding Co-Chair of the AIA Los Angeles Women in Architecture committee. In 2015, her firm received the 2015 National AIA Firm Award, one of the industry’s highest honors. Her project experience ranges from civic to institutional and commercial developments of all scales. Patricia believes that architecture should facilitate community gathering, bringing people together, encouraging dialog and exchange.

Monica Rodriguez – AIA, Senior Associate, KFA, LLP

Monica, a Senior Associate at KFA, celebrated 13 years with the firm in August 2019. 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. The Ivy Station project in Culver City, her current labor of love, is set to be completed in January 2020. Monica enjoys exploring other forms of creative expression outside of work including jewelry design, improv, and her current favorite, stand-up comedy. You can catch her act in the Original Room at The Comedy Store this September.

Audrey Sato – RA, LEED-AP, Principal Architect, SATO Architects, Inc.

Audrey Sato is the principal at Sato Architects, Inc., host of the XX|LA Architects Podcast, and Vice-President of the Association for Women in Architecture and Design (AWA+D). Her architectural work largely focuses on building strong relationships in order to create meaningful places. Audrey founded Sato Architects, Inc. in 2010, shortly after graduating with her MArch I from Cal Poly Pomona. She has specialized in residential design for over 10 years, with additional expertise in historic preservation. Audrey has a commitment to education and the advancement of the architectural profession. She previously served as a lecturer in the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona for five years, and finds fulfillment in being able to support others in the industry through the XX|LA Architects Podcast and AWA+D.

Elissa Scrafano – AIA, Principal, 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.

Doug Teiger – AIA, Founder, Teiger Consulting

With over 38 years in practice, Douglas has a wide range of experience. He started working for other firms after graduating in 1982 which led him to open his own firm in 1989. In 1999, Douglas formed a partnership, Abramson Teiger Architects (ATA), lasting 20 years and grew a 6 person firm into a 32 person firm. As managing partner, Douglas’ ability to effectively streamline the operations allowed for more time to be spent on design and project research – a major factor in the consistent high level of design associated with ATA. Douglas’s mission is to mentor young firms in order to accelerate their growth. Using his expertise, he acts as a sounding board for young principals as well as a guide through all aspects of a practice including Strategic Planning, Operations, Human Resources, Marketing and Business Development. His life coaching skills facilitate a work/life balance as an important part of a successful practice.

Kala Wahl – B.A. Interior Design, IIDA, Senior Design Consultant, Bespoke Careers

Kala joined Bespoke Los Angeles in 2017 having previously worked as an interior designer in San Francisco and LA. Kala’s corporate savvy transitioned into independent and contract design work with top architects and designers in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. In the interim, she directed the design development and branding for a start-up restaurant in LA and led collaborations with notable developers in the city. Through it all, Kala has built a vast network and genuine relationships within the industry; her resourcefulness and ability to listen, relate and connect helps her recruit the best talent in California.

Jennifer Noel Wong – LEED AP BD+C Designer, CO Architects

Jennifer joined CO Architects in 2018 as a designer with the firm’s education group. A native Angeleno, Jen has experience working on both renovations and new construction for a wide range of project types, including K-12 and higher education, civic, healthcare and retail projects. In her free time, Jen teaches after-school design workshops in and around LA through a non-profit organization, Oasis Center International, and also through a local creative space, Makers Mess. She has coordinated Speedtalks, a jointly hosted event amongst AIALA WiA, AWAD, SoCal NOMA and AAa/e since its inception.

Petrina Gooch – Assoc. AIA, SPHR, SHRM SCP – Principal & Corporate Human Resources Leader, HED

Petrina Gooch has more than 20 years experience in the areas of strategic talent acquisition, competitive benefit analysis and implementation, regulatory compliance, HRIS, performance review, compensation, immigration, safety, employee/labor relations, rewards and recognition, as well as payroll processing compliance oversight in both union and non-represented environments. Since 2008, Ms. Gooch has held the Corporate HR Leader role at Harley Ellis Devereaux. She previously held HR Director roles with One Source Building Management and Nature’s Best. She’s earned a reputation as a positive difference maker that raises the bar for people and leadership processes and practices that impact internal and external interaction amongst colleagues and clients.