What it Takes to be a Successful Woman in the Field of Architecture

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Gretchen Callejas poses for headshot in an outdoor setting

By Gretchen Callejas

Frank Lloyd Wright. I.M. Pei. Those are the familiar names of two of America’s best-known architects.

Wright’s distinct prairie-style homes dot the American landscape while Pei’s large but elegantly designed urban buildings and complexes are among the world’s most famous architectural works. Pei’s projects, among others, include the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the controversial glass pyramid in Paris’ Louvre Museum courtyard.

But have you heard of Julia Morgan, who designed California’s famous Hearst Castle?

Or trailblazers such as Marion Mahony Griffin, the first woman to be officially licensed as an architect, and Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize?

It isn’t surprising if you haven’t. According to a January 2019 article in ThoughtCo., which listed 20 famous female architects, the role that women have played in architecture and design often go under the radar.

While architecture has been a male-dominated field, that is not the case at Felder & Associates, where I have worked since its inception in 2012. We have four women and three men on staff. The forward-thinking leadership of the firm’s managing principal, Brian Felder, has played an extraordinary part in making our workplace a gender free oasis in an otherwise industry-wide testosterone-filled desert.

Why is architecture, like so many other professions, such a tough profession for women to crack?

According to a 2016 article in the Los Angeles Times, only 18 percent of licensed practitioners are women although they make up nearly half of U.S. architecture school graduates. This disparity sometimes is referred to as “the missing 32 percent.” Unfortunately, females leave the field in disturbingly high numbers after they’re confronted with lower salaries, given fewer career-building opportunities or find a lack of mentors, who champion for them.

Full-time female architects earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Plus, architecture’s history as a male-dominated profession has contributed to an all-consuming workplace culture that leaves little flexibility for women expected to balance work and family. According to the Times article, 75 percent of female survey respondents had experienced sexual discrimination on the job, and 83 percent believed having a child would hurt their careers.

My personal observations and experiences have confirmed some of these disparities, but I consider myself lucky.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain a successful professional career while balancing family because I have a husband who shares responsibilities and encouragement. Without his support, it would be more challenging to continue with a professional career.

And while I have quite a few female friends who are architects, I have never worked for a woman nor had a strong female mentor. Contractors and clients often assume I need to ask my male boss for help in understanding construction, codes or a design issue. When I approach a problem with the same assertiveness as a male architect, I’m sometimes labeled with the “B”-word.

Since I was a kid, I dreamed of designing buildings before I knew what that encompassed. And now as an adult would I encourage young girls to enter architecture? Absolutely. I would tell young women (and men) entering the field that determination and passion go a long way. You will be successful if you work hard, tune out the negativity and chase your goals with perseverance. If you want to be an Architect, then go be one.

I finally believe that I am in a position to give them a hand. I’ve been around enough to help guide them and try to be the mentor I never had. I’m pleased we have two young women working with us at Felder & Associates. Alma Johnson and Cathryn Sinclair graduated with architectural degrees from the Savannah College of Art and Design last year and are interning with us as project associates.

Sinclair says she believes the playing field is more level than ever before but there is always room for improvement.

“I hope to continue to see the gap close,” she says.

For Johnson, success is based on how hard you work.

“Now, the gender gap does exist, but I think that the world is evolving on a more modern idea of a woman in the workplace. I don’t see gender. I see what skill sets I need to acquire to be as successful as the candidate next to me,” Johnson says.

I hope their perspectives will remain true and their positivity high after spending 15 years or so in the industry. I suspect they will reflect on their early days as a time when they had to deal with an old and outdated set of standards.

One thing I know for certain. They are in a wonderful setting to avoid bias and discrimination working at Felder & Associates. We are, thankfully, treated equally regardless of our gender, and we treat one another with mutual respect and understanding.

My hope for young women in architecture is that they will continue to mentor the next generations of women architects, have equal opportunities and respect. One day we will be as well-known as Frank Lloyd Wright and I.M. Pei.

Gretchen Callejas is a project architect at Felder & Associates, where she specializes in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, small scale commercial architecture and high-end residential design. She is also LEED-accredited from the U.S. Green Building Council. Callejas earned Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from Ball State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Citations:

  1. Craven, Jackie (2019, January). 20 Famous Women Architects. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from: https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-female-architects-177890
  2. Stratigakos, Despina (2016, April). Why is the world of architecture so male-dominated? LA Times. Retrieved from: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-stratigakos-missing-women-architects-20160421-story.html
  3. Newman, Caroline (2019, January). Three Generations Of Female Architects Seek To Bring More Women Into The Profession. UVA Today. Retrieved from: https://news.virginia.edu/content/3-generations-female-architects-seek-bring-more-women-profession

 

 

Two female astronauts are making history. How to watch NASA’s first all-female spacewalk

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two female astronauts pictured in a spacewalk outside the ISS spaceship

Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century. That changed Friday with spacewalk No. 421.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the International Space Station before 8 a.m. ET Friday and will spend over five hours replacing a broken battery charger, or BCDU. NASA’s livestream of the historic spacewalk features astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson as one of the female narrators.

The units have previously been replaced using a robotic arm, but the newly failed unit is too far away for it to reach.

The units regulate how much energy flows from the station’s massive solar panels to battery units, which are used to provide power during nighttime passes around Earth. Three previous spacewalks had been planned to replace lithium-ion batteries, but those will be rescheduled until the latest BCDU issue is resolved.

The hardware failure does present some concern, especially since another BCDU was replaced in April and there are only four more backups on the station. In total, there are 24 operational BCDUs.

The battery charger failed after Koch and a male crewmate installed new batteries outside the space station last week. NASA put the remaining battery replacements on hold to fix the problem and moved up the women’s planned spacewalk by three days.

All four men aboard the ISS remained inside during Friday’s spacewalk.

The spacewalk is Koch’s fourth and Meir’s first.

Continue on to USA Today to read the complete article.

For women in the workplace, the thickest glass ceiling is not where you think it is

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Although we have a long way to go to achieve gender equity in the workforce, a study done jointly by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company shows that we have made progress over the last five years.

Women, especially women of color, are still underrepresented at every level in corporate America, but the representation of women in the C-suite increased. Forty-four percent of companies have three or more women in their C-suite, up from 29% five years ago.

The glass ceiling is still the biggest barrier to advancement, but in a surprisingly low-level area: the first rung of management. The report revealed that only 72 women were promoted or hired to manager for every 100 men. This means that only 38% of women have made it to management versus 62% of men. The stats for Latinx and black women are significantly lower.

Overall, black women and women with disabilities reported that they don’t have equal opportunities to grow and advance their careers. Only 1 in 25 black women are C-suite executives. And for every 100 men promoted to manager from entry-level, only 68 Latinx and 58 black women are promoted.

The Women in the Workplace report reveals findings from surveying 329 participating organizations that employ 13 million people and more than 68,500 employees.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Women In Technology International (WITI’s) Women in Business & Tech Career Fair

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WITI's flyer announcement for the conferences in Anaheim and Dallas

Build. Empower. Inspire. The WITI Career Fair isn’t just about finding your next job. It’s about growing your career and professional network. Whether you’re looking now or just want to expand your network you should attend this event.

WITI’s Women in Business & Tech Career Fair is coming to Dallas, TX, October 22.

Women in Business & Technology Career Fairs are open to WITI members, professionals registered at Professional Diversity Network, and business and technical professionals from the local community.

Events are free to attendees and will feature sessions and content related to women and their business and technology careers.

Carolyn Leighton founded WITI to help women advance by providing access to – and support from – other professional women working in all sectors of technology. With a global network of smart, talented women and a market reach exceeding 2 million, WITI has powerful programs and partnerships that provide connections, resources, opportunities and a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other. WITI products and services include: Networking, WITI Marketplace, Career Services/Search, National Conferences and Regional Events, Publications and Resources, Small Business Programs, Research, Bulletin Boards and more.

About WITI
With a global network of smart, talented women and a market reach exceeding 2 million, WITI (Women in Technology International) has established powerful strategic alliances and programs to provide connections, resources and opportunities. Register today to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity.

Register for the Anaheim, CA, October 14 event.

Register for the Dallas, TX, October 22 event.

Former Corporate Fundraiser Brings The Top Mobile Flooring Franchise To Virginia

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Having worked alongside entrepreneurs and small-business owners for the last decade, Resa Kierstein, a former corporate fundraiser and mover and shaker in her world, finally decided it was time to join the ranks of those she’s been raising funds for– and she did it in style. The 45-year-old Kierstein recently launched her Floor Coverings International franchise, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International of Great Falls marks the franchisor’s first location in Virginia, not unnoticed is the fact that a talented female breaks the state open for future franchisees who are looking for one of the top franchise opportunities in North America.

Kierstein was formerly vice president of fundraising and development for a national non-profit whose focus was assisting small-business owners in starting, running and growing their businesses.

“I’m thrilled to be utilizing my past business skills and offering this great mobile service to homeowners here,” Kierstein said. “I’ve completely divested myself from my comfort zone of a corporate career and am beyond excited to bring Floor Coverings International’s passion for a ‘customer first’ experience to our area.” Floor Coverings International, Great Falls serves customers in Sterling, Reston, Herndon, Great Falls, McLean, Ashburn, Fairfax and Prince William in the state of Virginia.

Kierstein’s mother also owns and operates a small business. “My mom instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me at a young age,” Kierstein said. “I watched her and thousands of business owners in my previous job become highly successful contributors to their communities, while employing others and supporting their families. Their enthusiasm and passion finally rubbed off and I made the decision to join them and live the American dream.”

In Floor Coverings International, Kierstein found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. Kierstein added that Floor Coverings International, Great Falls holds a Class A Virginia contractor’s license. “It is the highest standard in the state and will set Floor Coverings International apart, potentially, from others in the home services industry,” she said. Lastly, Floor Coverings International also has a very strong commitment to community involvement, led by CEO Tom Wood. That struck a chord with Kierstein. “A key component of our business is our support for charitable organizations in our community and fulfilling a personal passion for giving back,” Kierstein said.

For information on a franchise visit flooring-franchise.com

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Melinda Gates commits $1B to ‘expanding women’s power and influence in the United States’

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Melinda Gates in professional photo wearing a navy blue dress

Melinda Gates, whose book this year documented the systemic and societal challenges that continue to face women around the world, recently pledged $1 billion over the next 10 years to initiatives designed to accelerate gender equity in the United States.

By Todd Bishop

In a commentary announcing the plan on Time.com, Gates said the money will support “new and established partners taking innovative and diverse approaches to expanding women’s power and influence.”

It’s the biggest initiative yet from Gates through her standalone Pivotal Ventures firm, separate from her role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Melinda Gates established Pivotal Ventures four years ago to focus on issues including gender equality and empowering women. Her book, “The Moment of Lift,” documented the need to remove barriers for women, with the goal of helping not just women but society as a whole.

In the announcement this morning, Gates cited three priorities for the funds: 1) “dismantling the barriers to women’s professional advancement;” 2) “fast-tracking women in sectors with outsized impact on our society—like technology, media, and public office; and 3) “mobilizing shareholders, consumers, and employees to amplify external pressure on companies and organizations in need of reform.”

She wrote, “I want to see more women in the position to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives. I believe that women’s potential is worth investing in—and the people and organizations working to improve women’s lives are, too.”

Gates gave more insights into her approach in a Harvard Business Review piece last month, “Gender Equality Is Within Our Reach.

“I believe our goal should be to expand women’s power and influence in society. I think of power and influence as the ability to make decisions, control resources, and shape perspectives. It is something women exercise in their homes, in their workplaces, and in their communities. I recognize that “power and influence” are not words we have historically associated with women — nor are they words that all women associate with themselves. I also acknowledge that because of my family’s wealth, I have access to certain kinds of power and influence that very few people do. Still, I use these words, imperfect and imprecise though they are, because they are the best way I know to describe what men in this country — in particular, white men — have long had that women have not.”

Continue on to Geekwire to read the complete article.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is No Longer a Secret in the Secret City

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two diverse women looking at computer screen together

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is no longer a secret in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Nestled near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Oak Ridge is nicknamed the Secret City after its role in the top-secret Manhattan Project that helped create the first atomic bomb.

Established in 1946, ORAU’s purpose was to advance science and technology education and research by providing member universities access to atomic energy research facilities. Holding true to the original purpose today, ORAU provides exceptional talent in innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest.

ORAU also manages the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) for the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE), which is a DOE asset dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world-class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environment contamination.

While ORAU itself has been one of the best-kept secrets in East Tennessee, its reputation regarding the company’s culture and diversity practices is quickly spreading as seen in a recent employee survey. Completed earlier this year, the survey showed that 94 percent of the employees know what is expected of them in the workplace, 87 percent reported that they are proud to work at the company and 87 percent of all employees believe they are treated with dignity and respect.

According to Culture Amp, a worldwide employee feedback and analytics platform, companies with 500 employees but fewer than 1,000 employees can anticipate about a 70 percent employee participation rate in general surveys. ORAU greatly exceeded that standard with an overall participation rate of 85 percent. To ensure a culture that maintains these incredible ratings, ORAU welcomes feedback from employees through surveys and information-sharing teams, such as its Diversity Council and Employee Relations Team, comprised of employees from across the organization.

With an overall corporate favorability score of 77 percent and with 73 percent of ORAU employees believing the corporate culture is favorable, it is no longer a secret that ORAU is a great place to work.

For nine consecutive years ORAU has been recognized as a Best Diversity Company and is in competition for the current year. ORAU defines diversity as all of the ways in which we differ and all of those differences are welcomed and respected in the workplace and the community.

ORAU is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and aggressively seeks veterans, individuals with disabilities, females, minorities and all other diverse differences that support an all-inclusive work environment. For more information on ORAU and its employment opportunities, visit orau.org.

Over 6,000 Minority Business Enterprises and Corporate Partners Attend National Conference on Supplier Diversity in Atlanta

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supplier diversity executive accepting business card from an attendee at the matchmaker session

On Sunday, October 13, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) kicked off its annual conference and business opportunity exchange in Atlanta.

With over 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses representing millions of consumers, NMSDC is the largest and most successful non-profit advocating for minority entrepreneurs in the country.

The conference draws over 6,000 minority-business owners and corporate partners from around the nation.

“Economic inclusion is one of the most urgent issues we face to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all Americans,” said Adrienne Trimble, President of NMSDC. “Our numbers prove our success in this area.

In 2018, we executed $400 billion in revenue for minority-owned businesses. Some 1.6 million U.S. jobs were created, resulting in $96 billion in wages earned.

Who: National Minority Supplier Development Council

NMSDC President: Adrienne C. Trimble

What: 2019 Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange

Where: Atlanta, GA Georgia World Congress Center

When: October 13 – 16, 2019

Click here for the full conference schedule

Why: Economic inclusion for all Americans is one of the most critical issues of our time.

About NMSDCNMSDC advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members. To meet the growing need for supplier diversity, NMSDC matches its more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to our network of more than 1,450 corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services and solutions. NMSDC, a unique and specialized player in the field of minority business enterprise, is proud of its unwavering commitment to advance Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American suppliers in a globalized corporate supply chain.

Teacher and astronaut Christa McAuliffe to be honored by the United States Mint with silver dollar coin

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Christa McAuliffe pictured in her NASA Uniform with coin

The United States Mint is to memorialize Christa McAuliffe, the teacher and astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster in 1986, with a commemorative silver dollar coin.

The 37-year-old social studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, was chosen for NASA’s “Teacher in Space” program, and was one of the seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger when it exploded.

A faulty rocket booster caused the shuttle to break apart soon after it lifted off.

The Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 was passed by Congress, and the bill will go to the President to be signed into law.

The act calls for the Department of Treasury to “issue not more than 350,000 $1 silver coins in commemoration of Christa McAuliffe.”

If the President signs the act, the coins will be minted in 2021 to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the tragedy.

The coins will be sold to the public at a price that includes the face value of the coins, the cost of their design and issue, and a $10 surcharge per coin to benefit the an organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST).

FIRST uses robotic competitions to encourage children to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Two Tech CEOs Team Up to Take the Guesswork Out of CBD

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two women CEOs seated for picture

With dozens of new brands entering the market each month and its own National holiday on August 8, CBD is quickly penetrating the daily lives of consumers. Between the proliferating field of options and the wide array of formula choices and strengths, how do consumers know where to start? How much should they take? In what form, and how often?

Having built dozens of consumer products and brands between them, co-founders Coco Meers (L’Oréal Alumna and Founder of PrettyQuick, acquired by Groupon in 2015) and Marcy Capron-Vermillion (Founder of Polymathic, acquired by DevMynd 2017) created Equilibria to restore balance to modern women by demystifying the CBD journey, from starting dose to personalized routine development and ongoing Dosage Specialist support.

“The CBD market is expanding at a rapid rate, with little regard to quality, service and education,” Meers said. “We saw an opportunity to deliver not only the highest quality CBD on the market, purpose-built to deliver maximum therapeutic benefits, but white glove, clinical luxury service that caters to each woman individually.”

In a sea of CBD brands, Equilibria— launched this year—offers personalized dosage support led by veteran cannabis educators and unparalleled quality from their exclusive bioscience partner—all to advance the mission of balance for women. CBD as a service – personalized dosage support for all members.

A 37-year-old working mother with insomnia and exacerbated stress during her period. A 73-year-old plagued with chronic pain whose arthritis prevents her from playing with her grandkids. These women are part of Equilibria’s community, and Equilibria gets to know them and their health goals from the start of their journey.

CBD is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Female body chemistry, age, metabolism, health goals, and current medications influence the amount of CBD they need and how often they should take it. With daily and consistent use, CBD can change lives. Products and services focus on restoring balance to the lives of women. CBD works with the body to promote balance, and women’s bodies need balance. Equilibria’s female-led team delivers on this vision by focusing their service and R&D efforts on CBD science and female biochemistry. From hormonal regulation and anxiety to auto-immune and inflammation, women’s physiological and mental health systems can easily swing out of balance. CBD helps achieve homeostasis throughout the body’s systems. Equilibria’s Dosage Support team is trained in female biochemistry and applications of CBD for female health. To offer clinical support and maximum therapeutic benefits requires that Equilibria have complete confidence and transparency into the consistency and mquality of their supply chain.

For Marcy and Coco, white-labeling wasn’t good enough. Equilibria is proud to join forces in an exclusive partnership with CFH, LTD—a leading bioscience firm and industrial hemp producer in Longmont, Colorado. Coco and Marcy surveyed the landscape of CBD white-label manufacturers, but it didn’t feel right to purchase product and re-label. These science- oriented and data-driven leaders needed to know that every step of the process was optimized for consumer safety and medical-grade results. They chose to partner with CFH and work together as partner companies with shared ownership—because they recognized the CFH team was as passionate about traceability, consistency,and results as they were.

Source: Equilibria

Tommyxzendaya Fall ’19: New Collection: Be Strong Be Powerful Be Yourself

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Tommy Hilfiger poses with Zendaya

Zendaya has collaborated with the American designer to create a TommyXZendaya capsule collection that will bring her unique and confident sense of style to fans around the world.

The partnership celebrates Tommy Hilfiger’s continued vision to collaborate with icons who share the brand’s spirit and values of breaking conventions and celebrating diversity.

“I love to collaborate with people who are passionate about making their dreams a reality and who inspire the next generation to do the same,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “Zendaya has become a global icon, using fashion to make bold statements while always staying true to herself. Our capsule collection will fuse her eclectic style with the Americana spirit of our brand.”

“Fashion is more than just wearing cool clothes,” said Zendaya. “It’s a way to celebrate self-expression and individuality, which is extremely empowering. This is why I am proud to partner with Tommy Hilfiger.”

Continue on to USA Tommy to read the complete article and view collection.