PHOTO: Banner: Powerful 2017. Detail of image by Nico Marques

(in order of appearance in the program)

Morning Keynote

Laura Friedman – Assistant Speaker pro Tempore, California State Assembly & Assemblymember, District 43/Glendale

After serving seven years on the Glendale City Council, including a term as the Mayor of Glendale, Laura Friedman was elected to the California State Assembly in 2016. During her first term in office, Laura secured $20 million in funding for the completion of the Glendale Riverwalk Project, and authored a package of bills to establish landmark water efficiency standards, strengthen environmental sustainability, improve access to higher education, healthcare, and transportation alternatives, and create new avenues for communities to tackle the affordable housing crisis.

She has been tapped for several leadership roles in the legislature and currently serves as the Assistant Speaker pro Tempore for the Assembly, the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Chair of the Joint Rules Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response where she’s led a historic bicameral and bipartisan reform of the legislature’s response to sexual harassment that’s become a model for other states and local governments to follow.

Laura has long been recognized as a steadfast advocate for the environment, equality, and the arts. Laura was honored in 2014 with the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters’ Smith-Weiss Environmental Champion Award. In 2018, she was named the Stonewall Democratic Club of LA Elected Official of the Year, and honored with the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats RFK Trailblazer Award. Her passion for the arts and historic preservation are reflected in her work with both the Society of Architectural Historians and the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee.

Laura lives in Glendale with her husband Guillaume Lemoine, a landscape designer, and their daughter Rachel.



Affordable Housing in LA – Challenges & Opportunities

63% of affordable housing organizations are led by executive directors who are women. What challenges do these leaders have in providing much needed permanent supportive housing for those in need and low income families? This panel discussion will focus on the opportunities that architects have to provide solutions and discuss the future of affordable housing.

Elizabeth Timme – Co-Founder, LA-Más

Elizabeth Timme is a third generation architect born in Houston and raised in Los Angeles. Watching her parents build in remote locations and start a design school meant that Elizabeth grew to see the practice of architecture as a community-based profession. Growing up in Texas where land use planning and zoning is limited and California where exclusionary zoning practices are historic, Elizabeth is excited by the challenge of Los Angeles where rules are plentiful but often contradictory

Elizabeth co-founded LA-Más because she saw a need for a design approach to be integrated early on in public projects and civic planning. She believes designers can help create a unified vision, identify creative alternatives, and work in partnership with communities. Elizabeth provides leadership at LA-Más by ensuring all projects are thoughtfully designed and critically engage systemic problems.

Elizabeth has extensive experience in architecture and construction administration having worked at MASS Design Group, Ball-Nogues Studio, and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca. Elizabeth has taught design-build studios at Woodbury University’s Agency for Civic Engagement (ACE) Center and serves on the Zoning Advisory Committee of Re: Code LA, a city-led effort to transform the city’s outdated zoning code. She holds a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Southern California.

Sarah Letts – Executive Director, Hollywood Community Housing Corporation

Sarah Letts is the Executive Director of Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC), a non-profit whose mission is to transform communities and transform lives through the development of affordable housing and the provision of supportive services.  She works closely with HCHC’s board and staff to provide strategic leadership in the areas of housing development, resident services, fundraising and asset management.  Prior to joining HCHC in 2016, Ms. Letts spent five years as the Executive Director of Community Corporation of Santa Monica, a non-profit that is also dedicated to providing housing and services to low-income and formerly homeless households.

Ms. Letts has a broad understanding of the affordable housing industry combined with detailed knowledge rooted in community-based development experience.  During the 1990’s she held positions of increasing responsibility from project manager to director of housing development for non-profit organizations in Los Angeles and Chicago.  Upon returning to Los Angeles in 1998, she was a consultant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and worked on housing policy and legislation.  In 1999, she began her career at Fannie Mae and was initially focused on debt financing for affordable rental housing but moved into the rapidly growing low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) business and was responsible for investing over $2 billion in 300+ properties financed with LIHTCs.  She concluded her career at Fannie Mae leading a new initiative to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis by selling real estate owned (REO) to cities, counties, land banks and non-profits.

Ms. Letts is currently a member of the UCLA Ziman Center’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council and the Enterprise Community Leadership Council.   She is the former president of the board for the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing and a former board member for Downtown Santa Monica Inc., the business improvement district that oversees the renowned Third Street Promenade.  She received B.A. degrees in Economics and Political Science from Stanford University and an M.A. degree in Urban Planning from UCLA.

Dr. Jacqueline Vara – Vice President of Women & Family Programs, Los Angeles Mission

Dr. Jacqueline Vara has been appointed as the new Vice-President of Woman’s and Family Programs for the Los Angeles Missions’ Anne Douglas Center in the heart of Los Angeles Skid Row. The Los Angeles Missions’ Anne Douglas Center exists to provide help, hope, and opportunity to women and families in an effort to rebuild women’s lives. The Los Angeles Mission’s women outreach was named the Anne Douglas Center for Women in recognition of Mrs. Kirk Douglas’ long-standing compassionate generosity to homeless women.

Dr. Vara has worked for more than 20-years with special needs populations such as: homeless, survivors of domestic-violence, child-abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, substance abuse, addictions, mental illness, and chronic health issues. She has served in leadership as an executive director of a non-profit urban community counseling center, provided administration of community programs with 7-levels of care program services from prevention, intervention, residential treatment services, and mental-health counseling services. She has also spearheaded and coordinated community educational programs in low-income neighborhoods and area schools for at-risk children and youths, which were based on 3.7 million in grant-funding. Dr. Vara has also taught bi-lingual English-Spanish community education classes such as: Domestic Violence, Anger Management, and Parent Education. She has also served for 10-years in municipal government public-service in human resources administration, recruitment, benefits, labor relations, and training.

Dr. Jacqueline Vara serves as a lecturer-adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and has served as an adjunct professor at other private universities as well. She holds a Ph.D. from Biola University and graduated with highest honors Summa Cum Laude. She also holds a Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling (M.F.C.C.) and an undergraduate Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology, plus she holds a Certificate in Human Resources Management & Training Development. She has completed the State Certification in 40-Hour Domestic Violence Advocacy Training and completing the Certificate in Anti-Human Trafficking with a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) approach training from the Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University. She holds the 45-hour State Certification in Sexual-Assault Crisis Intervention Training. Currently, she is working in post-doctoral studies in social work from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Vara began her career as a community advocate and M.F.C.C. Counselor in community services with a seed grant-funding from the Honorable Harriet Weider, County of Orange Supervisor for a special-funded community service program: Community United For Safety. She continues to serve as an educator, leader, and community advocate for the marginalized community, the homeless, women, children, and families, for both Los Angeles County and Orange County, California.

Denice Wint, LEED AP – Director of Projects & Services, Innovative Housing Opportunities

As Director of Projects & Services, Denice Wint, LEED AP oversees real estate and community development projects as well as enhanced services programs. She brings extensive experience in community and economic development, complex financial modeling, transit-oriented development (TOD), infill, historic, and mixed-use development including commercial components. Ms. Wint is an elected member of the Harbor City Neighborhood Council, serves on the Long Beach Affordable Housing Developers Roundtable Planning Committee, and often is an invited panelist or speaker to many local industry groups. She is an economic empowerment advocate and lends her expertise in teaching long-term financial management and financial resource development skills to low-income communities. Ms. Wint holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Southern California.

Moderator: Pooja Bhagat, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Principal, poojabhagat architects+planners and Past-Chair, Women in Architecture Committee

Pooja is an architect with over 17 years of experience in large scale projects of civic importance. Her focus on multi-family and affordable housing development projects include the Ocean Avenue South mixed use housing in Santa Monica for which she managed the design of multiple buildings including the Waverly and Seychelles housing on Ocean Avenue. In addition, she coordinated the overall master plan process involving a complex client team and multiple consultant groups. She strives towards creating innovative design which contributes positively to the urban fabric, engages the community and promotes pride in those who occupy it.

Environmentally sustainable design is at the core of Pooja’s design sense. She believes in humanistic design principals and brings strong management and organizational skills to her practice. Prior to starting her own practice Pooja Bhagat Architects & Planners, Pooja served as the City Architect for the City of Santa Monica and as Senior Associate at Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners for 14 years where she successfully led large complex projects such as the health care campus master plan for Providence Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica.

Pooja is a Past-Chair of the Women in Architecture Committee of the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter and was responsible for co-organizing the Powerful conference held in Los Angeles in October 2016 and 2017. She is an annual guest critic at the University of California, Luskin School of Public Affairs. Pooja received her Bachelor in Architecture degree from Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurgaon, India and her Master of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc. She is a registered architect in the State of California and a L.E.E.D. accredited professional in building design and construction. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.


Retweet, Repost, Reimagine

Rachel Jordan, AIA, LEED BD+C – Architect, CO Architects

Rachel Jordan, AIA is a licensed Architect, LEED BD+C certified, and an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). She has worked in all phases of design and construction for both new construction and renovation projects. Her diverse set of skills, diligent work ethic, and adaptability makes her a sought-after collaborator at CO Architects. Her keen attention to detail allows her to digest information and deliver work that is a true reflection of the client. Rachel currently serves as the project coordinator for the multi-phased Psychology Tower Renovation for UCLA, which renovates a historic Paul Williams building while maintaining ongoing operations. When she is not working on projects for healthcare, higher education and government clients, she can be found participating in panel discussions or mentoring at a local architecture summer camp. Recognizing how significantly architecture can impact the community it serves, Rachel has developed a passion for sustainability and public interest design.


Quiet Activism

Anne Schopf, FAIA – Design Partner, Mahlum Architects

Recognized locally, regionally and nationally for excellence in design within the public realm, Anne Schopf FAIA, Design Partner with Mahlum Architects, strives to create healthy and sustainable communities that support equity and inclusion for all. Under her leadership, Mahlum received the 2014 Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects Northwest and Pacific Region (AIA NWPR). She currently serves as an Advisory Group Member of the National AIA Committee on the Environment.


Tech. Talk.

A discursive dive into the technologies driving today’s most radical architecture.

Noni Pittenger – Design Engineer, CW Keller

As a CW Keller Design Engineer Noni participates in pre-construction design and planning activities: Noni works closely with project stakeholders to assure aesthetic requirements are aligned with complex fabrication practices specific to a project. Her research leverages laser projection technology to decrease build times and increase design accuracy for complex architectural fabrication. This methodology integrates robotic positioning of existing manufacturing tools in pursuit of automated AEC-specific innovations, and is currently in use at the CW Keller fabrication facility.

Kerenza Harris – Director of Design Technology, Morphosis Architects

Kerenza Harris oversees advanced computational design and simulation for all projects at Morphosis. Her team focuses on the research, development and integration of advanced technologies into the design and construction process, using diverse software including CATIA 3d Experience to model and rationalize forms, skins, and structures. She also guides the firm’s use of AR and VR to create immersive environments that aid in testing and communicating concepts through all phases.

Joining the firm in 2008, she has played a central role in major projects including the AIA National Honor Award-winning Perot Museum of Nature and Science, where she led the creation and coordination of the facade’s innovative pre-cast concrete paneling system.

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 design computation and the intersection of architecture and VR.

Moderator: Lisa Pauli, AIA – Design Director, R&A Architecture + Design

Lisa Pauli is a licensed Architect with over 10 years of professional experience in a wide breadth of architectural typologies ranging from finely detailed interiors to large scale mixed use developments.  She is currently a Design Director at R&A Architecture & Design, Inc, a progressive, design-oriented architecture & design firm in Culver City.  She attributes the success of her award winning projects to strong client relationships, collaborative approach to design teams and cross disciplinary investigations.

Lisa joined R & A after nearly six years with Gensler, Los Angeles, where she was a Senior Associate and Regional Practice Area Leader of Mixed Use Developments.  Her professional approach has brought repeat clients, including world renowned developers; her ability to organize strong, synergistic design teams promoted her to a Senior Designer.

In 2010 Lisa attained a Master’s of Architecture from MIT where her academic work focused on parametric modeling, digital fabrication, and infrastructure-driven development. Prior to MIT, the foundation of her architectural career was established in New York City at Maya Lin Studio, where she first learned the importance of strong client relationships, clear design ideas, and cross disciplinary collaboration. Her undergraduate studies in Interior Design heightened the importance of materials, details, and human interaction in design. Her professional dexterity lies within her ability to constantly shift in scale, working between meticulous details and large, complex organizations of structures.


Narrative-Based Urban Interfaces

Biayna Bogosian – Principal, Somewhere Something

Biayna Bogosian is a designer and interactive media creator researching perceptual and cognitive interaction design that highlight the relationship between environmental data and the built environment. Biayna teaches at Columbia University GSAPP and USC School of Architecture. She is also the principal of Los Angeles-based studio Somewhere Something, which works at the intersection of architecture, urban design, interaction design, and digital fabrication.


Progress + Process + Practice

Practice occurs in many scales and contexts, encompassing personal progress, professional activity, alongside the support we broadly give to and take from the profession. These women have forged paths across sectors and scales, independently and in consortium. Together we will discuss practice through the lenses of personal and collective progress and processes.

Raven Hardison, AIA – Lead Designer, Parsons

Raven Hardison, AIA, is an architect and designer with a breadth of experience spanning residential, commercial and institutional typologies. Through her interest in technology’s impact on architectural form and practice she became a founding member of Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s LA Digital Design Group and of the non-profit food-justice urban mapping resource FoodOasis.LA. In her work, Hardison interprets architecture through an experiential lens, exploring the interplay between cultural and visual experiences. She received her undergraduate degree at Barnard College of Columbia University and received a MARCH at Yale University. She is currently a Lead Designer at Parsons.

Jennifer Luce, FAIA – Principal in Charge, LUCE et Studio Architects

Jennifer Luce was born in Montreal and spent 15 years living in Ottawa before winning an international competition to build the CIT in Washington DC. She received her Bachelor of Architecture with distinction from Carleton University, Ottawa in 1984 and is a member of the Alumni Council for the Carleton Design School. She is also recipient of the A. Dunton Alumni Award of Distinction from Carleton University in 2007. In 1994, Jennifer received her Master of Design Studies from Harvard University and is a 9 year member of the Alumni Council there. Jennifer presently holds an Appointed Director position at the Harvard Alumni Association. She presently sits on the Advisory Council for LAND; a public art iniciative in Los Angeles. In 2016 Jennifer was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.

Jennifer began her career winning an international competition to design the Center for Innovative Technology, Washington DC, 2 months after graduating from Carleton. This project became the first smart building in the US, executed as a partnership between Virginia Academic Institutions and the Virginia State Government.

Jennifer has since established a multi-disciplinary architectural practice in California that focuses on public art projects, urban design interventions, creative workspace, and a variety of collaborations with artists and landscape architects. Most recently, the studio won a commission to design a public artwork in Calgary, Alberta. The Studio is passionate about research, new technologies and materials, and maintains a strong identity in the international architectural community. Luce et Studio offers expertise in Architecture, Site Specific Art and Landscape Installations, Furniture Design and Graphics.

Jennifer taught a full semester graduate design studio at her Alma mater, Carleton University, Ottawa. The studio addressed scale; asking students to design a museum at the urban level and then delving into issues of craft and the making at the scale of building and interiors. She also taught a seminar studio at UCLA with architects Mark Mack and Thorne Mayne. She has regularly participated in design juries at USC, RISD,GSD and Carleton. Her commitment to the academic life of students at the GSD has forged new ground in the interaction between the student body and the profession

Jennifer’s projects have been featured in exhibitions internationally, including a retrospective at the Museum of Contempo- rary Art, La Jolla in 2009 and the California Biennial at the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art in 2010. The Studio was named Design Vanguard by Architectural Record in 2005, received a 2006 Business Week Award for Design Innovation and has received a total of 21 awards from the American Institute of Architects.


Siobhán Burke, AIA, LEED AP – Principal, Lyric Design & Planning

Siobhán Burke is a California licensed architect and the principal of Lyric Design & Planning, a multi-disciplinary architecture practice with expertise in public spaces, active transportation design, resilient design, guidelines, grants, retail design, and environmental design. The keystones of Lyric’s process include consciousness of sustainability, social equity, and accessibility, infused with experiences that are functional, engaging, and delightful.

Siobhán’s practice focuses on projects with an impact on the vitality of our urban environment by connecting Los Angeles communities through walkable and bikeable streets in the name of resilience, safety, health and beauty of environment.

Siobhán’s work in the Los Angeles area ranges from El Sereno to Santa Monica, and includes LA Metro’s 6.5-mile Rail to River Project in South Los Angeles. This greenway is the first reclaimed railroad right-of-way of its kind in Los Angeles and will forge connections from the future Crenshaw LAX Light Rail to the Los Angeles River.  Other transformative projects include public plazas, paseos, linear parks, parklets and design visions for Boyle Heights, DTLA, Culver City, Eagle Rock, Hollywood, South Los Angeles, Watts, and West Hollywood.

Siobhán works with a diverse group of public agencies, community groups, landscape architects, engineers and non-profit organizations.  She has taught studios and seminars on the subject of sustainability at the Art Center College of Design and small lot development planning seminar at Woodbury University. She is a current member and Past Vice President of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.  Siobhán actively volunteers as a member of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council, and for the Augustus Hawkins Critical Design and Gaming School in South Los Angeles.


Moderator: 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.


Lunch Discussion Circles – Topics, Leaders, and Bios online here.


Free Space

Elaine Molinar, AIA – Managing Director, Snøhetta New York

Elaine Molinar is the Managing Director of Snøhetta’s New York office, a 50-person interdisciplinary design studio which takes an integrative approach to architecture, landscape, and interior architecture.  Elaine began her career as a designer of the Alexandria Library in Egypt after participating in the initial conception for Snøhetta’s winning competition entry.

Since then Elaine has held key leadership positions in major cultural projects, including the Norwegian National Opera, the National September 11th Memorial Museum Pavilion, the Wolfe Center for the Arts, the Dallas Park Pavilion, and the recently completed James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In 2005, she helped found Snøhetta’s New York office after the firm was awarded the National September 11th Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in 2004, the office’s first commission in the Americas.

In addition to practice Elaine has served as guest studio critic at Syracuse University, Parsons School of Design, FIT and has been a presenter at World Architecture Day 2013, and was a recipient of the AIA Presidential Citation: Architects of Healing for the Memorial Museum Pavilion.

Elaine received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and  is a member of the Norwegian and American Institutes of Architects and is a LEED accredited professional.

Snøhetta’s collaborative and multi-national character of the office has allowed it to work in a wide range of cultural contexts from Asia to Africa, Europe and the Americas.  Snøhetta is a recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Architecture, the World Architecture Award, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, as well as the European Prize for Urban Public Space.


Beyond Bias: Mindset, Tools, and Approaches To Mitigate Unconscious Bias.

This training session clarifies the presence of biases in all of us and develops awareness, provides tools and strategies for recognizing and effectively managing our biases in the workplace.  Along with emotional intelligence this toolkit enables a greater breadth of versatility in each of our behavior at work.

Belinda Morris – Founder & President, Peoplescape Consulting Group

Belinda Morris is the Founder and President of Peoplescape Consulting Group.  She has worked globally as a creative problem solver to small and medium sized business and is a passionate expert in talent strategies and experiences.  Belinda brings her human resources consulting and recruiting leadership to simplify people challenges for business owners in creative industries, technology, entertainment and startups through HR Outsourcing and Recruiting HR talent.

Her thought leadership in workplace cultures and gender bias and its pivotal role in Sexual Harassment, informs her cutting-edge, experiential program Respecting Lines which is a workshop equipping participants with understanding, tips and tools to handle the overt as well as the more subtle undertones of sexual harassment more effortlessly. The program nurtures healthy cultures, successful teams and drives the growth and prosperity of inclusive, innovative, and human-centered workplaces.

After living and working across 4 continents, she has chosen Los Angeles as home.

Candice Gottlieb-Clark – Founder, Dynamic Team Solutions

Candice Gottlieb-Clark has built two decades of expertise in helping executives, teams and organizations raise the level of their business functionality, teamwork, and productivity. Recognizing that businesses need external support to gain insight, find objectivity, maintain trust, and provide guidance to their teams and leaders, Candice founded Dynamic Team Solutions.

Along with her team of expert coaches, trainers, and facilitators, Candice has successfully worked hand-in-hand with public and private companies, not-for-profit and governmental agencies in industries including entertainment, education, medical, legal, real estate, construction, financial, manufacturing, and professional services; At Dynamic Team Solutions, our true expertise is in handling the one thing that all industries share – people.

Candice is a sought-after speaker and trainer on topics of communication, leadership, organizational culture, and conflict management. Candice holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Candice is also a Board Certified Executive Coach (#1510).


Emerging Voice

Elizabeth Mahlow, PE – Founding Partner, Nous Engineering

Liz Mahlow is a founding partner of Nous Engineering based in Los Angeles. She is a licensed engineer with over 12 years of professional experience in the construction industry, focusing on high-rise concrete construction, seismic design and special structures.  She has managed large-scale, fast-track projects within the US and internationally. As adjunct faculty at Woodbury University, she taught multiple lecture and studio courses as with an emphasis on collaboration between architectural intent and structural performance. She currently is Vice President of Development of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.


Interdisciplinary Insights:  A Conversation with Creative Industry Executives

Female leaders from fashion, advertising and entertainment share in conversation about a range of topics including  the status of equity in their respective fields, creating their own opportunities, advocating for others, and what they’ve learned in their path to leadership.

Sharon Tal Yguado – Head of Genre Original Series, Amazon Studios

Sharon Tal Yguado is the Head of Genre Original Series at Amazon Studios. She joined Amazon in February 2017. In this role, Sharon oversees the development and production of big scope, hour-long science fiction, action, fantasy and horror series. She’s brought in and is spearheading high profile projects including The Lord of the Rings, The Peripheral (Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy), Wheel of Time (Rafe Judkins) and The Culture (Dennis Kelly).

Sharon role has shifted at Amazon. She most recently served as the Head of Scripted TV. Previously, Sharon served as the Head of Fox International Studios and EVP of Global Programming at Fox Networks Group (FNG), where she oversaw FNG’s original global scripted strategy. Sharon lead the development and production on a number of global scripted TV franchises including THE WALKING DEAD (AMC), WAYWARD PINES (FBC), OUTCAST (Cinemax) and LEGION (FX).

Sharon has a Master’s Degree in Media from New York University and a Bachelor degree in Psychology from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Maria Smith – Executive Creative Director, M&C Saatchi

Over the course of an advertising career that has spanned more than a decade, Maria Smith has created award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands, including Nissan, Sony, VIZIO, BMW Motorrad and UGG Australia. Maria began her career as a copywriter at TBWA\Tequila and TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles where she brought integrated creative solutions to clients that included Method, Energizer and Hoover. In 2008, Smith joined M&C Saatchi LA, first as a Copywriter, then Creative Director, and currently as the agency’s Executive Creative Director. Maria’s work has appeared in a variety of industry publications, including Communication Arts, Archive and Adweek, and she was recently featured for her ad industry insights on the podcast This American Life. In 2018, Maria helped found and launch MAJORITY, a commercial production company with an all women roster of directors, created to address gender disparity within the ad industry and create new opportunities for women filmmakers.

Moderator: Jenna Knudsen, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Principal, CO Architects

As a principal and senior project manager, Jenna has dedicated her career in pursuit of new and better ways for architects, engineers, owners and contractors to work together to achieve continual process improvement and innovative design solutions. Her experience and leadership on award winning projects has placed her at the leading edge of digital technologies and integrated project delivery, for which she has spoken extensively and received national recognition. Within CO Architects, Jenna leads the Women of CO (WoCO) initiative that champions the professional development of, and leadership opportunities for, the firm’s female employees. In addition, Jenna leads firm wide hiring and staffing initiatives. She has practiced architecture for 18 years, 16 with CO Architects.

PHOTO: Banner: Powerful 2017. Detail of image by Nico Marques Architectural Photography