Leslie is a director at Cumming; currently working as a design manager for Los Angeles City College. She has over 25 years of experience in the design of education, aviation, industrial, and low-income housing projects. Leslie is past co-chair of the Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) committee. She teaches Architectural Project Management at Cal Poly Pomona, is on the Woodbury University Construction Management Program Advisory Board and mentors emerging professionals. Leslie has a B.A. in Architecture from Yale and an M.Arch from UCLA.
With over 26 years of experience as a designer, project manager, and architect, Annette has worked in Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. Gaining strong experience in conceptual design and execution, today she brings both these emphases together in project types which transform and engage the lives of the greater community. Her passion finds its voice in K-12, Community College and Higher Education projects. As a Principal at NAC, Annette’s focus is on best practices and the processes which ensure a holistic approach to design and execution.
She received her BARCH from the University of Southern California and MARCH from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
Chava Danielson, AIA is a Principal of DSH // architecture with specialties in design, project advocacy, and serving non-profit organizations. She focuses on imparting beauty and sensitive programming to recharge underserved neighborhoods through educational, therapeutic and residential projects for non-profits committed to the community.
Danielson has taught at both Otis College of Art + Design and the Executive Master of Urban Planning program at USC’s Price School. She has served as chair of the Political Outreach Committee, currently works with the Government Outreach Committee; served as a Director for the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design and as a founding Director of Larchmont Charter School. She holds an M.Arch. from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
A third generation Los Angeles native, Toni is founding principal of Lewis|Schoeplein architects (est. 1998), a multi-disciplinary practice focused on sustainable community-based projects for institutions, government, non-profits, and developers, including the City of Los Angeles, UCLA, LACCD and The Broad. She served on the Mulholland Scenic Corridor Design Review Board from 2012-2014, and as CFO of the Association for Women in Architecture + Design from 2019-2021. Her previous gigs included stints at Frank Gehry’s office and as a project architect at Gensler. Toni has a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley and an M.Arch from UCLA.
Born in Iran, Mitra emigrated to the U.S. as a teenager. With the last name Memari, which means architect in Farsi, one thing is clear: Mitra was born to be an architect. Through adapting to a new culture and language at a young age, she developed a passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. In her practice and in her role as a partner, Mitra has made it her mission to create a more equitable profession that represents the communities where we live and work. Mitra’s ethics-driven approach also leverages a passion for sustainable design to create seamless, collaborative, lasting relationships across client and project teams.
Michael H Anderson, AIA, NOMA is the Principal and founder of Anderson-Barker Architects. As a California registered architect, he has been practicing for 42 years and currently is a member of AIA, NOMA, and ULI. Michael is a specialist in transit and aviation architecture, and urban economic development.
He is the proud author of URBAN MAGIC: Vibrant Black and Brown Communities are Possible
This book describes a pragmatic, practical recipe to trigger urban regeneration along with land uses and building types needed to kick-start revitalization for the wider community, with multiple concrete examples of what did and didn’t work from decades of his own work in low-income–impacted communities of color in and around Los Angeles. Check it out!
Nathan Bishop AIA, LEED AP, has been Design Principal at Koning Eizenberg since 2011. Nathan brings an empathetic approach to the creation of sustainable community places which amplify social impact through inclusive design. After practicing in Boston at such firms as Office dA and Machado & Silvetti, and teaching at RISD, Harvard, and Northeastern University, he moved to LA to continue his professional and academic career and has taught at SCI_Arc and USC while leading design efforts for Pico Branch Library, 500 Broadway, and the Arroyo affordable housing projects. Nathan is currently design lead for the new Malibu High School.
JED is a Principal at Johnson Fain with more than 20 years of professional experience in designing large scale projects including Creative Office, Residential, and Mixed-Use Developments. JED earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a Master of Architecture Degree from Virginia Tech. JED’s knowledge of the building industry is complemented with his interest in green building technologies and advanced computer modeling. JED has taught architectural courses and/or been a guest studio critic at UC Berkeley, USC, and UCLA Extension as well as a speaker at USC’s BIM symposium.
Ismar has been practicing for 15 years and he is currently a Senior Associate and Senior Project Architect, focusing on ending the housing crisis by creating places that foster social, equitable, and sustainable communities.
As the Chair for the 2×8 Student Scholarship and Exhibition committee in 2017, Ismar helped bring back this event that has awarded over $100,000 in scholarships. 2×8 is now the flagship event for Architecture for Communities Los Angeles, an AIA LA non-profit that was formed to communicate the value of design to all people. Ismar has led discussions in past AIA conferences and other non-profit organizations addressing the housing crisis, climate change, and equity and inclusion. He has volunteered as a mentor and participates in critiques in local schools. He has also supported the LA Mayor’s Office to fund MBE in underserved areas during the pandemic through pro-bono services. As the 2021 COTE Chair, Ismar also led issues of carbon neutrality, resiliency, climate justice, and equity. In addition to the sustainability initiatives, and is involved in government policy change and advocacy efforts across the State.
David J. Frey, FAIA, is the Senior Technical Principal for HOK in Los Angeles. Prior to HOK, David was the North American Technical Director for Woods Bagot and a Senior Associate at SOM. David is registered in California, Arizona, and Tennessee, and is a member of DBIA. He has presented at the University of Illinois, Academy of Art University, Facades + Conferences, and the Advanced Building Skins Conference in Switzerland, where he is on the Scientific and Conference Committees. His global project experience includes Aviation, Science and Technology, Healthcare, and Mixed-use projects, focusing on sustainability and high-performance exterior enclosure design.
Christiana is the Principal in Charge and Studio Executive Chair of Woods Bagot’s newly opened Los Angeles Studio. A graduate of SCAD, she is a LEED AP and California Licensed Architect. Over her 21-year career, she has developed a diverse and extensive experience in both international and local projects with deep understanding of the complexity of large mixed-use projects and multi-disciplinary collaborations. In addition, while at Woods Bagot, she has developed the Internship and Graduate Recruitment Program and is leading the EDI task force. Recently relocated from San Francisco, she was previously on the Governance Committee and Programs Committee of CREWSF.
Jennifer Noel Wong, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an Architect with Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects. She possesses a unique skillset and a strong emotional intelligence, which has earned her the complete trust of her clients, team and consultants.
She has experience working on both renovations and new construction for a wide range of project types, including K-12 and higher education, civic and retail projects. In her free time, she teaches after-school design workshops in her community.
Coupled with his knowledge of architecture and passion for policies that support excellence in the built environment, Carlo Caccavale brings 17 years of experience at the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter to his position as its Executive Director.
Carlo has initiated a number of AIA|LA conferences that contribution to the profession and surrounding region. They include Encompass, the AIA|LA Conference to Actualize Diversity and Inclusion; Design for Dignity, the AIA|LA conference focused on homelessness and housing affordability; and Powerful, Women Leading Design. To facilitate greater recognition for design excellence and widen the spectrum of offices participating in design awards programs, Carlo launched the Restaurant Design Awards in 2005 and the Residential Architecture Awards in 2016. In 2017, he started the chapter’s Architectural Photography Awards to celebrate those who translate three dimensional design to the single plane while capturing its intent.
Heather Renée Barker, Associate Professor of Design at California State University Long Beach is a human urbanist. She works with interdisciplinary teams to facilitate human-centered approaches to improving the human/data hybrid experience. By leveraging a range of analog and digital tools, gamification, and data-visualization, Heather brings value to business and civic organizations as they develop novel solutions to personal interface, animated space, community engagement, and sustainable urban challenges. As an educator and practitioner, she is able to combine theory, rigorous research, and practice to develop advanced innovation methodologies. This work makes its way into the world through consulting, holding workshops, publishing, teaching, and advising internationally. Heather Barker is founding coordinator of the graduate Human Experience Design Interactions (MA_HXDI) program and the Immersive Design Research Lab (IDRL), author of the book, “Designing Post-Virtual Architectures: Wicked Tactics and World-Building”, and has served the city of Long Beach, California as Design Lead for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ funded Innovation Team (i-team) and as Design Strategy Lead for the Office of Civic Innovation.
Miranda Gardiner is the Global Manager of Data Center Sustainability for Meta, focused on scalability of international sustainable strategies and opportunities. Prior to this role, she delivered green building certifications and climate action plans for projects ranging from campus to commercial mixed-use work in Greece, a research fellowship in Germany, and a secondment with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. She previously managed LEED technical development at USGBC, including LEED for Healthcare, LEED for Retail, and LEED Pilot Credit Library. She serves on the SDGBC Board of Directors, USGBC’s LEED Advisory Committee, and as the Vice Chair for AIA-LA COTE. Miranda holds a M. Arch from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Georgetown University.
Morgan Sumner is a young, emerging professional actively on her journey to take up space in the professional space of architecture. She is a graduate of Arizona State University (BSD, 2016) and The University of Southern California (M.Arch, 2018). Her passions are at the intersection of culture and creativity and has kept this focus throughout her journey. She is currently [excitedly] working at Bestor Architecture and is actively taking steps towards licensure. She also uses architectural training in her graphic design company, Poche Design Studio, which aims to occupy + amplify the Black space in design.
Frances Anderton covers Los Angeles design and architecture in print, podcasts and public events. She is currently writing a book, “Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles.” Anderton also programs talks, exhibitions and events at Helms Bakery District. For many years Anderton hosted KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture radio show, having got her start at KCRW producing Warren Olney’s current affairs shows Which Way, LA? And To The Point. She produced and co-hosted the radio series Wasted: Neat Solutions to the Dirty Problem of Waste, aired in early 2021 on KCRW’s Greater LA. In 2015 she curated Sink Or Swim: Designing For a Sea Change, about resilient architecture, shown at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Honors include the 2020 ICON Award from the Los Angeles Design Festival and the 2010 Esther McCoy Award for her work in educating the public about architecture and urbanism, bestowed by the Architectural Guild of USC School of Architecture.
Tara Barauskas is the Executive Director of Community Corporation of Santa Monica, a nonprofit affordable housing organization based in Santa Monica, California. Joining in 2016, she oversees the functional areas of the organization, including management of over 1,900 units of affordable housing, housing development, resident services, maintenance and administration of 100 staff. Ms. Barauskas has over 20 years of experience in affordable housing development, having worked at both for-profit and non-profit affordable housing development organizations prior to joining Community Corporation. Her past experience includes overseeing and managing the development process of numerous projects throughout California.
Ms. Barauskas holds a Bachelors’ Degree in English from California State University, Long Beach, and a LEED AP Accreditation from the US Green Building Council. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Association of Non-profit Housing (SCANPH), a nonprofit membership organization that advocates for affordable housing policy throughout Southern California. In addition, she serves on the Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council and the advisory council of Students4Students, a nonprofit that houses homeless students. Her volunteer work centers around Climate Reality, where she serves as LA Chapter co-chair. She is passionate about her children, her Lithuanian heritage, the environment and affordable housing. She lives in Playa del Rey with her two children, Julius and Linas.
Gio Aliano offers more than 30 years of design expertise and passion to bring equity through architecture to mission-based and community-serving organizations. He is particularly immersed in the intricacies of design for affordable/supportive housing and mixed-use community-benefit developments.
Most recently, his work in the City of Los Angeles HHH Innovation Challenge has propelled the use of modular, prefabricated design to drive cost and schedule savings to address the City’s homelessness crisis. Aliano is a board member of Los Angeles Education Partnership; and a member of Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing [SCANPH].
John Arnold, AIA, is a Partner at KFA Architecture in Culver City. He has been with the firm since 1999, with a focus on multi-family housing, including mixed-use, affordable, and adaptive reuse projects. Much of John’s recent work has been in affordable housing assisting developers with the complex challenges of funding, cost, and public oversight while providing design that stays true to KFA’s mission to provide “great places where people flourish.” Since becoming a Partner at KFA in 2016, John and his two partners have worked to expand the firm’s robust culture and dedication to staff professional growth and diversity.