Celebrating Women In Architecture

To kick off Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the work and impact that women have made (and continue to make) in the world of architecture. From training the next generation as mentors to volunteering for state boards and committees to leading their own firms and national organizations, their contributions have shaped and advanced the profession we know and love today. We're highlighting advice from 10 women in architecture who are making strides to impact the profession now and into the future.

Sara Yehia, AIA, LEED GA, NCARB 
Architect and founding principal at Kenzy Architects

“I advise other parents to be persistent and consistent in their efforts to pursue their dreams, and never give up or let the guilt of spending less time with family get in the way, because at the end of the day, you are being a role model and teaching your kids how to reach for their own dreams and achieve any goals. Your kids will see it and they will understand ...”

Gloria Kloter, AIA, NCARB, CODIA 
Project architect at Studio+

“I believe coming from a background with so many limitations, where I’ve had to work hard for every little thing that I’ve accomplished, has helped me become more compassionate and understanding with those going through similar experiences … I’ve always enjoyed teaching others and serving those around me to help them succeed.”

Devanne Pena, RA, NCARB, NOMA 
Founder & Design Architect at Archidev LLC

“I am one of less than 400 black woman architects in the entire country. It is something to be celebrated and scrutinized in the same breath. The progress we’ve made in the past 150 years is jaw-dropping, but we still have so much more work to do. This means that I have to be a mentor, I have to self-promote representation, and I have to remain encouraged.”

Kristine Annexstad Harding, FAIA, NCARB 
NCARB President 2016-2017

“Do not let yourself believe that you can’t do something. Look past the differences in those who work around you and be the best that you can be. Lead by example and don’t make excuses for your gender. Celebrate it and if you truly believe that you are equal, then you will be. When I was young and I told my father that I wanted to go play football with the boys down the street, he never told me that I couldn’t because I was a girl. Throughout my life, I never thought about what girls could or couldn’t do. Maybe that is what helped me succeed in my career as a person and not as a woman.”

Pascale Sablan, AIA, NOMA, LEED 
Founder & Executive Director of Beyond the Built Environment, LLC

“When studying architecture, one of my professors said I was incapable of becoming an architect because of my gender and race. I resent those words for having such prominence in my purpose, but those words have helped define a call to action. I aspire to inspire marginalized groups to understand the important role they can have in deciding and designing their environments.”

Shannon Christensen, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C 
Associate Principal at Cushing Terrell

“By mentoring, I am able to give back to the profession and ensure that the next generation of architects have the skill set to practice successfully … As I mentor and coach future architects, I am able to empower them with more responsibilities and therefore take on new challenges myself. Mentoring and watching this next generation grow is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I get to do.”

Mary Melissa Taddeo, AIA, NCARB 
Associate at Gresham Smith

“Don’t be afraid to play ball with the boys. You are a valuable and necessary voice in this field, and you’re a force to be reckoned with! Ask a million questions. Trust yourself. Being a woman in architecture is empowering—don’t underestimate your strengths, and strive to learn every day.”

Cristianne Peschard, AIA, NCARB 
Associate Vice President at HGA Architects & Engineers

“Increasing the visibility of women and minorities who are leaders in the profession allows young people to see role models who look like them. The more diverse generations of architects need to continue to grow in the profession and become leaders. In order to retain these new generations, the profession will need to continue to integrate technology to allow for different methods of collaboration and work—helping architects achieve a better work-life balance and motivation to continue working in architecture.”

Farah Ahmad, RA, LEED AP BD+C 
Architect, Sustainable Design at NYC School Construction Authority

“I want to encourage underrepresented demographics to pursue STEM opportunities and take the additional steps to become licensed. We also need to increase the number of students pursuing architecture in college. By mentoring high school students and demystifying the profession, we can allow students to increase their skill set earlier and set them on the direct path for licensure.”

Leah Alissa Bayer, AIA, NCARB 
Founder & Managing Director at EVIA Studio

“Trust yourself. There’s a lot of great advice out there and plenty of detailed success stories, but only you know what works best for you … My methods were successful for me because I know myself. You’ve got to pick a strategy that works best for you.”