2019 AIA LA Board of Directors Election Platforms and Bios

Architect, Associate, Fellows & Emeritus Members-in-good-standing of AIA|LA are eligible to vote for one (1) Vice President/President-Elect, one (1) Treasurer, three (3) Directors, and one (1) AIACC Representative.

Only Associate Members in-good-standing of AIA|LA are eligible to vote for Ex Officio Associate Director.

Voting will be open from Tuesday, October 2, 2018 until Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM Pacific time, at which time the votes will be tabulated. Results will be made public at the Board Meeting on November 13, 2018. Voting results will be broadcast via email to the AIA|LA membership on Thursday, November 15, 2018 and also posted on

To access your ballot for the 2019 AIA|LA Board of Directors election, click here. Ballot link will also appear at the end of this page, after all candidate platforms.

To conform with the EDI Guidelines adopted by the AIA|LA earlier this year that support Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness in the chapter, 2019 Candidate Bios and Platforms will not include candidate headshots. This step also helps focus attention on candidate platforms. Thank you for taking this step with us.


Vice President/President Elect (one position available in 2019; 3-year term)

Greg Verabian, AIA

Greg has more than 28 years of experience as a design leader. He is a principal and practice leader at HKS Architects in Los Angeles. His knowledge of building types ranges from commercial office and multi-family/mixed-use towers to corporate headquarters, laboratory and academic projects. Greg served as Chair of the Design Awards Committee for the AIA California Council and has sat on the boards of AIA/LA, USC Architectural Guild and Southern California Development Forum. He currently serves as the Treasurer of the board for AIA Los Angeles.

If given the honor to serve as Vice President/President-elect, I will be serving as President in 2020 when the AIA National Convention takes place in Los Angeles. I will have the opportunity to help guide our Chapter and ensure we showcase the best LA has to offer. I can bring firsthand experience of the event, from my involvement in the 2006 AIA Conference in Los Angeles and can apply key lessons learned.

It’s no secret, both locally and nationwide, that our city is facing tough issues including a lack of affordable or attainable housing, a growing homeless population, and a pressing need to maximize transit-oriented development (TOD) opportunities. As Architects and Angelenos, we must seize the opportunity to be at the forefront of imagining a city more focused on resilient, sustainable development strategies. By the time our city hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics, and with the support of our City leaders and organizers, we need to have our platform and approach to these issues well-crafted, formulated and implemented.

Let’s not forget that we do have a lot to be proud of. In 2020, our city will have so much more to share with the thousands of visitors since we last hosted the AIA in 2006. A downtown which has exploded with mixed-use developments, new cultural destinations, expanded public transit, new world-class sports facilities and many significant public open-space projects.

Having served as AIA LA Treasurer the past two years, I have learned a tremendous amount about how our Chapter operates and how we can be financially resilient and, more importantly, a diverse organization. I look forward to continued collaboration with the AIA LA team!

Treasurer (one position available; 2-year term)
Mitra Memari, AIA, LEED AP® BD +C
ZGF Architects LLP

As a Principal at ZGF Architects LLP, Mitra Memari leads projects with a collaborative approach, guiding multidisciplinary teams and diverse client / user groups from programming through construction while paying attention to the nuances of each design challenge to successfully deliver impactful projects. With over 25 years of professional experience in architecture, her work represents a mix of large-scale and technically complex projects, ranging from research laboratories, academic facilities, and healthcare buildings to high-performance commercial and mixed-use developments. Her portfolio includes projects for The University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Arlington, City of Hope, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the University of Southern California, where she was responsible for the successful management of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research—a recipient of the American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum & The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Laboratory of the Year High Honors from R&D Magazine.


Born in Iran, Mitra emigrated to the United States when she was a teenager. Her experiences adapting and learning in a new country fostered a strong passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Internally at ZGF, she is one of the founding members of the Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Group, which focuses on improving the employee experience by promoting a culture of respect and support, and implementing firmwide changes to encourage all employees to reach their full potential. Mitra is also involved in the Southern California Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCal NOMA) as a volunteer and mentor in the Project Pipeline Architecture Summer Camp, which introduces architecture and the design profession to minority youth. Mitra’s contributions to the community started early in her career. Her first volunteer effort was for Habitat for Humanity, where she designed a home for an elderly individual who was being displaced due to neighborhood development. This made an impact on her as she became aware of the challenges with housing and gentrification, and has resulted in her continued support for mentorship and playing an active role in the community.

I have been fortunate to work on many innovative projects throughout my career. The challenges faced on these large, technically complex projects have required skills in consensus building and intense collaboration. I feel that creating an interactive working environment among all project stakeholders and establishing clear goals and objectives early in the process enable greater buy-in from all parties. By promoting rigorous dialog throughout the project and motivating teams toward the set goals, I have been able to achieve impactful projects and to build / maintain lasting relationships during the process. I believe this experience would be beneficial to the AIA LA’s Board of Directors.


As an immigrant, I am passionate about creating a diverse profession that will look different than it does today and will also be more inclusive and welcoming of differing viewpoints. The current state of the architectural profession continues to lack gender and race representation that reflects the communities we live in. As designers of the built environment, I feel it is imperative for us to have the demographics of our surrounding society that we serve in order to achieve better solutions as we move toward the future.


Having served as Chair of the AIA LA Practice Committee, I appreciate the community connection and outreach to which the AIA LA is committed. As a member of the Board, I would continue my collaborative spirit to bring together people and develop actionable tasks to get us to our common goals. My hope is to have measurable goals that move the needle forward on the challenges that the City of Los Angeles and the architectural community face.

AIACC Representative (one position available; 2-year term)
Carissa Oyedele, AIA, LEED BD+C
Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners

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 the AIA, serves as Director of the AIA/LA Board from 2016-2018, is an IDP Coordinator, and an NCARB Licensing Advisor.

AIA California’s purpose is “to give unified representation in all statewide matters affecting the architectural profession within the State of California”. Us members of the AIA Los Angeles Chapter need leadership at the state level to carry and project our voice. As AIA California Representative, I willLISTEN to our members and bring our needs to the parent chapter. I will CONNECT Los Angeles to the broader design community. I will ADVOCATE for you.


Director (three positions available; 3-year term)
Pooja Bhagat, AIA
poojabhagat architects+planners

Pooja is principal at pooja bhagat architects+ planners, founding co-chair of the WiA Committee and lead organizer for 2106 &17 Powerful Conference.

Born in Delhi, Pooja was inspired by Mughal & Colonial Architecture and Le Corbusier’s modernism, creating a design philosophy rooted in context, craft and environmental planning strategies. Pooja came to SCI-Arc for graduate studies in 2000 which nurtured fresh ideas and gave her a new perspective on tradition and globalization.

Pooja’s focus in shaping communities finds its voice in projects that provide both affordable and market rate housing. She has designed, detailed and managed multiple building types and coordinated master plans with complex client & consultant teams.

It has been a privilege to have co-founded and co-lead the Women in Architecture Committee in an effort to bring people together to discuss and raise awareness of issues faced by women in our profession. We have created a community that comes together at the annual Powerful conference which attracts over 300 people. It has empowered women to be assertive, lead, and to further the mission of Gender Equity in architecture.

As a board director, I will continue to collaborate with staff & AIA community to bring more conversations into actionable initiatives and further the chapters goal of equity &diversity and create links with other organizations that support similar and complementary initiatives.

Director (three positions available; 3-year term)
Fabian Kremkus, AIA
CO Architects

Fabian Kremkus is a Design Principal with CO Architects in Los Angeles. Past Chair of the COTE AIA |LA. During his 23-year architectural career – 18 with CO Architects – he has worked nationally and internationally on academic facilities, secondary schools, and corporate headquarters, sports, and entertainment facilities. With CO Architects, he has designed major research, higher education, healthcare, museum, performing arts and justice facilities. Fabian holds both a Master of Architecture and Pre-diploma of Architecture from the University of Braunschweig, Germany, and is a California licensed architect. He is also one of Los Angeles’ most avid bicyclists.

I will leverage my position as past chair of the COTE AIA|LA to reach out to the architectural and design community through engaging programming that engenders commitment, provides education, and builds consciousness in order to positively impact the physical world. I am looking to inspire architects and designers to join the AIA through outreach including tours, lectures, and committee dialogue. Programming will include another COTE|AIALA symposium in 2019. I am equally interested in improving the way we design, using a people-centric methodology that engages stakeholders in the process as active contributors. I am an advocate for designing with empathy.

Director (three positions available; 3-year term)
Tom Marble, AIA
Marble Architecture

After earning degrees from UC Berkeley and Yale, Tom has worked for firms as diverse as SOM, Morphosis, and The Irvine Company.

Tom uses various media to explore the relationship of the individual to the city, starting with a short presented at the 1989 Monterey Design Conference, then with “After the city this (is how we live)” published by the LA Forum in 2008. He is also committed to practice, launching Tom Marble Architecture in 2001.

Tom has taught at USC, Cal Poly Pomona, Woodbury, and SCI-Arc, and led community-based urban studios at Colorado College in 2012 and in 2018.

I feel architecture mediates between the individual and the city. My recent writing has revolved around the role of human interaction in the creation of the built environment, observing that a city changes not in a series of large movements but in small, incremental ones, building by building, the product of a specific interaction between particular individuals.

My interest in becoming an AIA/LA Director is to discover ways to facilitate effective interaction among city stakeholders in order to expand AIA/LA’s leadership role in solving some of the more intractable urban issues facing Los Angeles: transportation, affordable housing, homelessness, etc.


Director (three positions available; 3-year term)
Anish Reddy, AIA, LEED Green Associate

Born and raised in rural Alabama, I moved to Los Angeles to seek a rich intellectual and cultural environment. I am now a licensed California architect with eight years of experience in a wide array of international and domestic project types. I specialize in large-scale projects, on which I leverage technology and data to add value for my clients. In all my work, I seek out connections across a broad range of ideas to produce innovative outcomes.

As the primary organization representing architects in the public realm, the AIA must take responsibility for advancing the profession into the 21st century. Technology is generating seismic change in our society, and the profession must evolve to adapt to that new reality, or risk falling into irrelevance. The AIA should operate as an incubator of innovation, in which new ideas and business models are studied and discussed as part of an open dialogue among members. To accomplish this, I will focus my efforts on developing more panel-type events with a broader cross section of the profession, and including exemplary models of business and technology from other industries.

Director (three positions available; 3-year term)
Leslie Sydnor, AIA

I am a Director at Cumming Corporation, working as a Planning Project Manager at LBUSD. Born and raised in New York City I have lived and worked in LA for 28 years. In 2013, after 20 years in architecture firms, having risen to the level of Associate Principal, I left to work on the Owner’s side. I have worked for small firms and large firms, in both the public and private sectors. I have a B.A. in architecture from Yale and M.Arch from UCLA. I believe mentorship and visibility are the keys to the diversification and future strength of the profession.

AIA|LA has undertaken advocacy of those usually not thought of within the mainstream (architecture or otherwise). The regional housing crisis and the push for inclusion, diversity and equity in the profession are currently at the fore of the chapter’s concerns. With the national convention coming to Los Angeles in 2020 I am interested in making sure that our chapter leads the way in defining the direction of the profession and shining a light on how we can advocate for most, not just the select few.

Associate Director Ex Officio (one position available; 2-year term)
Hector Puga, Assoc. AIA
Marmol Radziner and Associates

Hector graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelor of Architecture and is currently working at Marmol Radziner as a Construction Project Manager. His professional background is in construction and facilities services, and an active leader with the AIA and AIA California Council. In 2015 he was involved in relaunching Architecture for Humanity as a new organization called Open Architecture Collaborative on the steering community for the international organization representing the Los Angeles chapter.  Hector is in the process of obtaining his MBA from Mount Saint Mary’s University, as well as working towards completing the architectural licensing process. He is also the present Associate Director, South for the AIA California Council Academy of Emerging Professionals.

Hector Puga is an active leader and member of the architecture and construction profession. With a background in design and construction project management, he has been able to expand his knowledge and experience of the built environment. He continues to grow his career within the profession as a leader within the AIA to represent the Latino and emerging professional communities, along with being an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Hector’s mission is to empower underrepresented communities through the power of design and creativity.

Associate Director Ex Officio (one position available; 2-year term)
Daphany Shen, Assoc. AIA
Gruen Associates

Daphany Shen is a recent graduate of Cornell University with a B.Arch and business minor. Her experience includes large scale mixed use developments, master planning, residential developments, and high-end retail. She is currently working at Gruen Associates specializing in luxury retail. Previously, she interned in New York at LTL organizing presentations for Manual of Section. While interning at Archimorphic, Shen worked on large scale mixed use developments in China. She enjoys volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, building homes and a safer community. Her volunteer work provides the hands- on experience to supplement her design and technical skills from the workplace.

I believe there is a disconnect between current students and young graduates aspiring to become licensed architects. Whether it is acquiring helpful ARE preparation materials, understanding company culture, or beginning the process of licensure, recent graduates are often eager to become licensed but may be unaware of available resources. Moreover, it is important for young designers to develop the soft skills necessary of an efficient team member and successful architect. I aspire to be a resource for other emerging architect during this transition from student to architect and provide the answers they seek to proactively approach their path to licensure.

To access your ballot for the 2019 AIA|LA Board of Directors election, click here.

The following are the current Board Members that will remain on the board in 2019:

• President: Barbara Bouza, FAIA
• Past President: Tania Van Herle, AIA
• Secretary: Wade Killefer, FAIA
• Director: Alex Anamos, AIA
• Director: Clay Holden, AIA
• Director: Sarah Lorenzen, AIA
• Director: Jason Morris, AIA
• AIACC Representative: Rocky Rockefeller, AIA
• Public Director: Dafna Zilafro, Affiliate AIA|LA
• Associate Director: Rachel Martinelli, Assoc. AIA