The Start of Something Wonderful

As the incoming President of AWA+D I couldn’t be more thrilled at the momentum spurred by my predecessors and the excitement that increasingly builds for our organization. Current, past and future members gathered last night at the Blox Creative Campus in Frogtown (thanks to FSY Architects, our host) for our Annual Meeting, an informal gathering to toast the achievements of the past fiscal year and to introduce incoming Board members. I wanted to take a moment to recap some of the thank-you’ s from our gathering, and also more publicly share what’s in store for our 2016-2017 fiscal year.We Couldn’t Have Done It Without YouAWA+D is a volunteer-based professional organization so the time and energy of our Board members is key to our success. Many Board members will be continuing on into the new year, but a few are riding off into the sunset. A special thanks to those women, including Linda Daley (CFO) and Nicole Davis Tinkham (AWAF Liaison). To the following who will continue, I’m looking forward to working with you!

  • Kishani De Silva – will move from President to Parliamentarian, AWAF Liaison and Chair of our 50:50 x 2020 Initiative

  • Anna Harris - will move from Parliamentarian to the CFO role

  • Terri Moore – will move from Secretary into the VP Role

  • Sigita Moran – will transition from Communications Director to our Social Media Chair

  • Jill Hensiek – will transition from Programs Director to Programs Chair

  • Bahar Afshar – will remain in her role as Director of Development

  • Sara Guerena – will remain in her role as Membership Director

  • Allyne Winderman – will transition from Mentorship Director to Mentorship Chair

We have a host of new faces joining us as of October 1st, so stay tuned for future blog posts showing our makeup, and a special Instagram series throughout October introducing the entire Board.We’ve Got A Lot In Store For The FutureAWA+D continues to be in growth mode for 2016-2017, not only in terms of membership diversity and numbers, but also in ever-increasing levels of educational and mentorship programming, and special initiatives. The following are some of the highlights of what we have in store for the year:

  • Programs – This year we have the honor of having TWO Programs Directors to ensure our programming not only hits it big with highlight events such as our annual symposium, but also delivers diverse educational, mentoring, and social events to our comprehensive “+D” (all design disciplines) membership. We will likely see a wider geographic spread of events across the LA basin (even possibly Santa Barbara and Long Beach!), and our programming will undoubtedly see the benefits of strengthening alliances with partner organizations, institutions and vendors such as AIA’s WiA (Women in Architecture), NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), Woodbury University, and even the A+D Museum. Our WikiD initiative will continue its progress this year, helping to write women into history starting with our first event on Saturday, October 22nd. If you haven’t yet experienced the power and rewards of participating in a WikiD event, please join us!

  • Mentorship – this central component of the AWA+D mission will be well-served by a larger committee in the coming year. New leaders will allow our organization reach more deeply into educational institutions, and initiatives to address mentorship for mid- and even later-career will continue. Along those lines, two upcoming events of note include a Writing Workshop on Sunday, September 25th, and Mid-Career Conversations Mentoring event on Sunday, October 9th. Both are members-only and have limited capacity, so if you haven’t RSVP’d yet, you may want to hurry!

  • Special Projects and Initiatives – never ones to shy away from tackling problems or helping others, AWA+D will also continue two exceptional efforts this year: the 50:50x2020 initiative and Path to Licensure program. The 50:50 x 2020 initiative engages firms who strive to achieve a 50 male:50 female ratio by 2020. Only in its second year, this effort has 9 local firms involved in understanding best practices, sharing information and data, and offering support to those diversifying their staff. Learn more about 50:50 on our website. Our Path to Licensure program was also initiated last year, establishing study groups for those working through their Architectural ARE exams. This program has already seen the power of group support in passing exams, and we hope to expand not only geographically (Downtown in addition to West LA), but also to other discipline’s licensing exams.

2017 will mark the 95th year for AWA+D, and we hope you will join us as we continue to advance and support women in the allied fields of architecture and design. Become a member or renew, or consider sponsorship or supporting our Foundation’s scholarship efforts. However you choose to get involved, we hope to see you at events, engage with you as a volunteer, and support you in your own path into the future.Best,Christina MontiPresident, AWA+D 2016-2017