AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Committee Enjoying an Energized Reboot

November 26, 2018

 AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Committee Enjoying an Energized Reboot

Troylene, Suzanne and Luly discussing their experiences in practice.

On the heels of this year’s sold out WIA event, the AIA New Jersey Women In Architecture Committee has just installed a brand new board and is filling their 2019 calendar with inspiring, supportive events.

Carla and AIA NJ President Elect Judy checking out the Pella Showroom during the brunch.

The brunch, chaired by AIA NJ Equity In Architecture founder, Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA and hosted by Donna Mikitan at the Pella Windows and Doors Springield, NJ Showroom on October 14th welcomed 50 AIA NJ members to enjoy brunch and discussion of 8 timely topics in a speed dating type format. The program, put together by Lauren Harris, Associate AIA, included topics such as the #MeToo Movement, Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Effective Management, Juggling Work-Life Balance, Mentoring Women Entering the Profession, Emerging Professionals asking for what they need, Where are the 51% and Are Women achieving Equality in Industry, was a refreshing and dynamic change from the usual passive CEU lecture. In addition to Stacey, Lauren and Donna, the event committee was rounded out by Ruth Bussacco, AIA, Anna Chang, Associate AIA and Martha Brazoban, AIA.

Simone and Jessica share their views on the table topic

Cheryl, Martha and Brian debating.


The event was attended by both fresh and seasoned members, resulting in a very well represented conversation. Many newer members noted feeling energized by the remarks of AIA Fellow Suzanne DiGeronimo, speaking of her efforts to champion all boards to have a minimum of 20% women.

Lauren and Donna address the group.

Xiomara, Anna and Elizabeth listening to the closing remarks.


AIA NJ President, Verity Frizzell, FAIA and President Elect, Judy Donnelly, AIA, both participated and spoke, as well, encouraging many of the attendees to realize that it is possible to find a work-life balance, run your own practice and be a leader in the industry at the same time. Very inspiring!

Susana and AIA NJ President Verity present another perspective.


The new  2019 AIA NJ Women In Architecture Committee includes

AIA NJ WIA Chair and West Jersey Representative Lauren Harris

Architects League of Northern New Jersey Representatives Anna Chang and Cheryl Fothergil

Newark and Suburban Representatives Martha Brazoban and Susana Taverna

Central Representative Erica Godun

Jersey Shore Representative Brian Penschow

South Representative OPEN

AIA NJ Equity in Architecture Chair and Advocacy Consultant Stacey Kliesch

Platform Lead – Getting Women on Boards – Suzanne DiGeronimo, FAIA

Newly appointed AIA NJ WIA Chair, Lauren Harris, Associate AIA, had the following to say, “I would like to extend my gratitude to each of you for agreeing to join the AIA NJ Women In Architecture Committee for 2019.  The enthusiasm has been contagious, and in the few weeks since our brunch so many people have joined with us to make WIA-NJ a force for Women Empowerment.”

The 2018 AIA NJ WIA Brunch Attendees


Proposed Platforms for the WIA Committee

Getting Women on Boards – To support the 20% in 2020 initiative to get Board of Directors to have at least a 20% representation of women

Women In Architecture Support Network – Having a network for specific women’s issues where questions are answered and connections are made

Connecting – Scheduling varied meet-ups as a way to get face-to face connections to support women as the begin their careers, seek licensure, or start their own firms.

To keep the conversation going, Harris has set up a Slack workspace for the AIA NJ WIA. All interested parties, men and women, are invited to join!

Stay tuned for more from this dynamic new committee. Have an idea or request for future activities?  Share it on the Slack workspace.

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