PHOTO: Edges Residence. Belzberg Architects. Detail from photo by Benny Chan

Mitra Memari, AIA – ZGF Architects LLP

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.

Leslie Sydnor, AIA – Cumming

Leslie is a director at Cumming; currently working as a planning and development project manager for LAUSD. She has over 25 years of experience in the design of education, aviation, industrial, and low-income housing projects. Leslie is Vice President/President-elect of the AIALA Board of directors and 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.

Annette Wu, AIANAC Architecture

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 – DSH // architecture

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.

Wade Killefer, FAIA – KFA, LLP

Wade started KFA in 1975 and it has been his only job since he quit framing houses to attend architecture school. Wade was born in San Francisco and grew up in Washington, D.C., before receiving his B.A. in English from Stanford. He attended UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he met Barbara Flammang, his partner for 40 years; they were married in 1977 and have two adult children. Barbara and Wade received a special City Re-Builder of the year from the AIA/LA in 2004 for their work igniting adaptive reuse in DTLA: Wade was elected to the College of Fellows in 2006.

Michael H Anderson, AIA, NOMA – Anderson Barker Architects

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 – KoningEizenberg

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.

James E. Donaldson (JED), AIA – Johnson Fain

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 Enriquez, AIA, LFA, LEED AP – Steinberg Hart

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.

Ziba Ghassemi, AIA – Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Ziba is Vice President of Airport Design at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, a global developer focused on making positive social, cultural, environmental and economic contributions to users and communities. She has led the experiential design of airport terminals across the country, including LAX Bradley International, Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 6, Chicago O’Hare, and Boston Logan. Her approach to design brings local architects and experts from the private and public sector together with an internal team of multi-disciplinary experts, to foster an investigative and explorative process where smart products, technology, sustainable features and strategies for resiliency all contribute to creating a more connected transportation facility and traveler experience.

Dan Herman, AIA – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Dan Herman is an Associate Director and Project Manager in the Los Angeles office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Dan’s primary area of focus is the commercial sector, including large-scale mixed-use projects such as Sunset La Cienega, 100 West Walnut and 1111 Sunset and adaptive reuse creative office projects such as the Desmond Building and Pen Factory. He was on the Board of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design from 2003-2007 and on the City of Glendale’s Design Review Board from 2011-2013. Dan is co-author, along with Rem Koolhaas, of The Harvard Guide to Shopping and has written articles on architecture for Artforum, Interiors and Metropolis.

A graduate of the Harvard GSD, Dan has taught undergraduate studio at USC and has been a guest critic at UCLA, USC, SCI-Arc, and Woodbury. He is a member of NCARB and a LEED Green Associate.

Christiana Kyrillou, AIA – Woods Bagot

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.

George Proctor, AIA – Cal Poly Pomona Department of Architecture


Carlo Caccavale, Hon. AIA|LA – Executive Director, AIA Los Angeles

Coupled with his knowledge of architecture and passion for policies that support excellence in the built environment, Carlo Caccavale brings 15 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.

Alise Robles, Assoc. AIA – NBBJ

Alise Robles is a Healthcare Designer at NBBJ. Since graduating from USC’s School of Architecture, she has been involved in a variety of projects, from schematic design to construction documentation to construction administration. She has served as a key team member on multiple projects for top tier healthcare providers in the Los Angeles area. She contributed to the 2017 Patient Centered Design Conference and Innovation Summit where her presentation placed first in the Experiential Design Competition. Alise is dedicated to redefining welcoming and inclusive environments for patients and staff.

Miranda Gardiner, Assoc. AIA, LEED Fellow, Fitwel Ambassador, EcoDistricts AP – Meta

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.

Amy Anderson – Wells Fargo Bank Foundation, Housing Affordability Philanthropy Group

Amy Anderson is a Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo’s foundation, providing strategic leadership for national philanthropic investments that expand the supply of affordable housing. Wells Fargo’s Housing Affordability Philanthropy catalyzes pathways to affordable and quality homes, especially for underserved communities, by investing in change makers, fostering collaboration, and supporting systemic change in the housing sector. Amy Anderson most recently served as the Chief Housing Officer for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role, Amy advanced the Mayor’s goals of increased housing production and a stronger safety net for vulnerable and economically disadvantaged Angelenos, using innovation, streamlining, inclusive planning policies, and expanded financial resources to make them possible. During her tenure she helped to realize key COVID emergency programs that lower health risks for impacted populations by improving access to housing, including Project RoomKey, Homekey and emergency rental assistance.

Frances Anderton, Hon. AIALA

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.

Gio Aliano, AIA Abode Communities/Architecture

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].

Michael W. Folonis, FAIA – Michael Folonis Architects

Michael W. Folonis, FAIA, approaches his work with a generous spirit of inquiry, infusing each project with an awareness of environmental responsibility, context, theory, function and materiality.

His broad base of experience ranges from healthcare, mixed-use, multi-family, affordable housing and commercial projects.  The work has received more that 50 design awards from National, State and Los Angeles Chapters of the AIA, and has been published nationally and internationally. Michael holds a Master’s degree from UCLA and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc. In 2008, the National Chapter of the AIA elected him to the College of Fellows.